Brooklyn, Mich. He already had horsepower, handling and the points lead. Now Kevin Harvick has a victory this season at a track other than Talladega or Daytona.
Harvick passed Denny Hamlin with 11 laps to go Sunday, then held on to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup series race at Michigan International Speedway.
It’s yet another sign that Richard Childress Racing is back after a disappointing 2009, and Harvick is the championship favorite with only three more races left before the Chase.
“Everybody was embarrassed last year, and we’ve really been running pretty well since probably the last six or eight weeks of last year,” said Harvick, who formally clinched a spot in the Chase. “It didn’t just happen today.”
Harvick’s No. 29 team gambled by staying on the track instead of making a pit stop during a late caution. It paid off with Harvick’s third win of the season and his first this year on a non-restrictor-plate track.
The victory was another significant step in the resurgence of Richard Childress Racing — and it came at a track where RCR typically hasn’t been very strong.
“Somebody’s got to beat Jimmie (Johnson) this year, and it might as well be RCR,” Childress said.
Hamlin finished second, followed by Roush Fenway Racing drivers Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth.
Team owner Jack Roush was back at the track this weekend, days after his release from a hospital following serious injuries in a plane crash.
“It’s great,” Edwards said. “We really wanted to get a win for him today, but that’s a strong performance for us.”
Edwards has finished seventh or better in six straight races.