Ford Finishing Order:
1st – Kevin Harvick
4th – Joey Logano
5th – Ryan Blaney
15th – Brad Keselowski
16th – Chris Buescher
20th – Chase Briscoe
22nd – Cody Ware
23rd – BJ McLeod
27th – Todd Gilliland
28th – Michael McDowell
31st – Cole Custer
32nd – Harrison Burton
34th – Aric Almirola
35th – JJ Yeley
37th – Austin Cindric
HARVICK GIVES FORD EIGHTH STRAIGHT MIS CUP WIN
Kevin Harvick won his first race of the season with today’s victory.
Harvick has now won four of the last five Cup races at MIS.
The win is Ford’s eighth straight Cup win at MIS.
Ford is the all-time leader in Cup wins at MIS with 43.
It’s also Harvick’s 59th win of his Cup career
Harvick now has 24 Ford Cup wins, which puts him 10th on the all-time Ford list.
This marks the 32nd win for Stewart-Haas Racing since joining Ford (Harvick has won 24).
Today’s win is Ford’s 716th all-time in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Light Apple #BuschelOfBusch Ford Mustang – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW
IS THIS THE MOST CLUTCH WIN FOR YOU? “Just good timing for sure. We’ve had several good runs the last few weeks – Loudon and Pocono where the car ran good and just didn’t have everything work out. I’m just really proud of everybody on our Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang. They’ve been digging all year long trying to make these Mustangs run faster. They haven’t been great this year, but our guys have done a good job in trying to take what we have, maximize it and do the things that we need to do. I’m just really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing.”
DID YOU EVER DOUBT YOURSELVES WITH FOUR RACES TO GO? “Everybody who doubted us doesn’t know us. They obviously know we thrive in these types of situations and a lot of things went our way today, which we haven’t had all year long things go our way and have things fall our way. There at the end we pitted and didn’t go a lap down and then the caution came out and got control of the race. That’s the thing I struggled with most today was traffic and restarts and just having to make up ground, but once I got clear track that baby was hunting.”
DID YOU THINK THE WIN HAD TO COME TODAY AT ONE OF YOUR BEST TRACKS? “I get that question every week, but we don’t do anything different. You go out and try to put yourself in position to win the race and try to capitalize on a day and put a whole day together and today we put a whole day together.”
YOU SEEM TO ENJOY THIS WIN A BIT MORE. WHY? “It’s been awhile and coming to Michigan, this has been a great place for us. I’ve just got to thank all the fans. They’ve stuck with us through this little dry spell, so hopefully we can get back to victory lane again soon.”
YOU HAVE THIS MOMENT WITH PIPER. THAT MUST BE FUN. “She’s definitely trying to get used to it. Are you gonna go for a ride with me?”
MARK RUSHBROOK PRESS CONFERENCE
MARK RUSHBROOK, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports – TALK ABOUT THE DAY YOU GUYS HAD TODAY? “It was a great day, a great race, a lot of changes for the lead and strength across all the different manufacturers, but especially when it counted at the end to have Kevin and Stewart-Haas get such a strong restart and get clear of everybody and we had Logano and Blaney up there as well. It was good to see all those Fords up there and when it counted Kevin drove away and had a really convincing win and really important to get him locked into the playoffs, but also here in our backyard for the Heritage Trophy to take that trophy back to Dearborn.”
DOES IT MEAN MORE TO YOU TO HAVE KEVIN WIN TODAY WITH THE KIND OF SEASON HE AND FORD HAVE BEEN HAVING THIS YEAR? “We’ve got great teams and great drivers across every race that we go to and to have some of our drivers locked in and some fighting to get in, whether it be Blaney or Harvick, there was a lot of pressure on this weekend to come here, to have a strong performance, to get a win, but especially for Kevin Harvick as a champion driver from the great team at Stewart-Haas and great Roush Yates power in there, it definitely means a lot to get it done today and to have him locked into the playoffs.”
IS THIS THE RACE THAT GETS FORD GOING AGAIN? “This is NASCAR racing. It’s top-level racing and everybody brings their best to every race. It’s been a lot of great racing throughout the entire season so far and we go to a lot of different tracks for the next three weekends from here to Richmond to Watkins Glen to Daytona to end the regular season. Those are three very different tracks from today. We learned a lot today and we’re gonna keep learning this new car and keep putting our best foot forward every weekend.”
FORD KEEPS WINNING HERE DESPITE ALL THE DIFFERENT DRIVERS THROUGH THE YEARS. WHY? “For sure there is a lot of extra attention when we come here from the executives in our company, having all the employees here so we’ve spent a lot of time with the teams this week leading up to this weekend to let them know how important it is and to ask our Ford teams to work together, whether it’s the drivers or the crew chiefs, but Doug Yates has also been working really hard in the engine shop. This is definitely a horsepower track and he brought a little extra this weekend and it definitely paid off.”
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang – YOU PASSED TRUEX AT THE END, WHICH COULD BE A VALUABLE POINT. “I just passed him back. I don’t know. I was just racing another guy. That’s all I care about. It was nice to get him back, so that was good to get it back and get a top five.”
DID YOU HAVE A FIFTH-PLACE CAR? “We were terrible all day. We ran 20th all day long and just struggled a lot and worked on it a ton and got a little bit better and better there and ended up with a decent finish out of it. It was big gains from where we started.”
NOW WITH JUST ONE SPOT ON POINTS AVAILABLE. WILL YOU POINTS RACE OR JUST WIN TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS? “I have no idea. We’ll see. We’ll race the 19, obviously, for points and try to win the race. We’ll try to do both.”
“It’s a shame that another car won. I’m happy for Ford for winning, but we didn’t need the 4 car to win. We’ll just try to win the next few weeks and battle the 19 in points. It’ll be exciting, that’s for sure, so hopefully we can do it.”
WHAT WAS TODAY LIKE? “We were bad, pretty bad and just couldn’t really go anywhere and was stuck in 20th. Jonathan worked on it a lot all day and props to him for getting it better and better throughout the day and having a car that could run fourth or fifth at the end of the day. That’s something to be proud of. We made some good out of it and proud of the progress we made.”
RICHMOND NEXT WEEK. WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGE IS IT FOR YOU? “It’s always a challenge every single week you go. We sat on the pole and won the first stage at Richmond in the spring, so that was nice. We just tried to build off of that and what did we need later in the race to try to stay up there, so hopefully those things apply and we can turn around and make it even better and contend. That’s all you can do.”
COULD YOU EVER IMAGINE 15 DIFFERENT WINNERS AT THIS POINT OF THE SEASON? “I can now.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – “That was a hard-fought one, that’s for sure. The boys did a good job executing today, keeping us towards the front. Paul had some good strategy. I had a car that was about where it finished. If you put us further back, that’s probably where we would finish, but we had some good track position and good restarts – some good choosing – so Coleman did a good job upstairs helping me out with the right lanes. It was an execution day, which is playoff type racing. I feel good about what we did today as the playoffs come around the corner.”
WERE YOU JUST HOLDING ON AT THE END? “Yeah, I was just holding on. It was an execution day, so I’m proud of the team. That’s playoff type racing, where we were able to make some out of maybe an eighth-place car and finished fourth with it by execution. We had decent pit stops and good strategy, good restarts and good choosing. Those type of things is what put us in position to run in the top five and get to second, which is further than I thought I would get. I couldn’t hold off the Toyotas. They were fast there at the end. I’m glad a Ford won at Michigan again. That’s pretty cool, but, overall, just didn’t have enough for them today.”
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – “I don’t know what started all of it. I saw the 15 car sideways and everything stacked up. I got tagged in the left-rear and shoved me up the racetrack and then got turned head-on into the fence. It looked like the 15 just got loose and backed everybody up and then got ran into the back. It’s not Ty’s fault, just everybody stacking up. Obviously, it was a complete mess. I hit the outside wall head-on. I’m glad to be OK. It’s such a waste to do all of this and finish last. It’s pretty unfortunate. I hate it for the guys on the team and for Discount Tire.”
WHAT DID YOU SEE FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT? “That was not fun at all and inside the driver’s head is certainly a lot less fun, too. It feels like an absolute waste to come out here and just get completely wrecked. Just irresponsible, I guess, running in the middle of the pack and just really frustrating to be out of this race this early. Finish dead last and get no points. It’s not exactly what we needed from today. I just wish we would have been able to get some more laps today.”
WHAT HAPPENED? “I’m obviously OK and obviously got wrecked. It’s just a byproduct of a crazy restart with 300 miles left in the race. Not great. I saw the replay. The 15 car obviously lost it all by himself and washed up in to half the field and stacked everybody up and I got hit from behind, shoved me up the racetrack and then I got hooked head-on into the wall.”
NOT MUCH YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, ESPECIALLY THIS EARLY IN THE RACE. “It is incredibly frustrating because you can think of 100 things you can do to prevent that, but it’s not in your DNA to just back off and just not run close to the pack on the restart, but I think if you remove a few cars from that equation, that doesn’t happen.”
WAS IT TOO EARLY TO DO THAT KIND OF THING? “I don’t think anybody did anything wrong there. They were trying to race, it’s just the cars in the middle of the pack that are trying to race that really, quite frankly, aren’t at the same level.”
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang – “I have no idea. I didn’t see the replay. I got hit in the left-rear and spun out and then we all crashed. We just can’t seem to catch a break. I think some of the guys that were slower cars stayed out and that kind of jumbled up the field and then everybody swarms them and they can’t get out of the way.”
HARRISON BURTON, No. 21 DEX Imaging Ford Mustang – “I couldn’t really see much of what happened, honestly. I really didn’t hit anything hard. I guess we just broke a part in the steering rack or something, but I couldn’t steer the car. That’s obviously not gonna be able to make minimum speed and felt it was probalby too dangerous to try, so just a bummer. I felt like we weren’t really that good to start, but I knew we had some good changes coming I was excited for. We fired up on that last restart and through one and two I thought I was gonna gain a lot of spots and then, all of a sudden, the world came crashing in. It’s just a bummer, but we’ll keep pushing on.”
COLE CUSTER, No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang – “We don’t really know what started all of that. I mean, we blew three left-front tires in probably a matter of 20 laps, so I don’t know what happened and why they kept blowing. It just seems like that’s the way our year has gone. We can’t seem to catch a break in most of these races. I don’t know. It just sucks to have another day end short, but we’ll move on to the next one.”
Ford Performance PR