NASCAR 2019: Kevin Harvick Wins at the Brickyard


Kevin Harvick held off Joey Logano to win the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Harvick notched his third victory of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the final race before the playoffs get underway. He led 119 of the race's 160 laps.

Following the final caution, Harvick and Logano were running neck-and-neck after the restart. Harvick opened up a healthy lead by the end, finishing 6.118 seconds ahead of Logano.

Bubba Wallace, William Byron and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five.

With the race officially in the books, the 16-driver playoff field is now set.

Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman entered Indy deadlocked at 617 points, but the former occupied the final playoff place on a tiebreaker. Newman finished in eighth place, three spots ahead of Suarez, and thus moved into 16th in the overall standings.

Jimmie Johnson entered Sunday trailing Suarez by 18 points for the last playoff spot. While that left him with a lot of work to do, you expected him to somehow close the gap because of his track record. Johnson is a seven-time Cup champion and never missed the playoffs.

That streak ended at the Brickyard.

The No. 48 car got squeezed on the inside while making the second turn and spun out into the wall. When all was said and done, Johnson's rear spoiler was dragging on the track and his day was over.

Although Johnson's odds of adding an eighth series title were slim, his absence in the playoff chase will be notable

Johnson wasn't the only prominent driver who headed back to the garage earlier than expected.

Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones wrecked on the 48th lap, which left Keselowski's No. 2 car tipped sideways on the inside wall.

Standings leader Kyle Busch experienced engine trouble on the 87th lap, rendering his car immobile

Those three drivers were all comfortably in the playoff field, however, after having notched victories earlier in the season. Failing to finish at the Brickyard will be an underwhelming finish to this portion of the year, but Keselowski, Jones and Busch all have bigger fish to fry.

All total, nine cautions were called, leading to what was a stop-and-start affair for long stretches.

The round of 16 will get underway next Sunday in the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Logano edged out Keselowski at the Pennzoil 400 at Vegas in March. A similar outcome would seal Logano passage to the round of eight.