Nothing slows Kevin Harvick down; wins 7th points race of year


Kevin Harvick swept both stages and won his series-high seventh points race of the season Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

Harvick’s 44th career Cup win tied him with Bill Elliott for 17th the all-time win list.

“The most important thing is winning races and getting all the points you can to position yourself well for Homestead,” Harvick told NBCSN. “That’s what we’ve been doing all year.”

Harvick has a series-high 40 playoff points.

MORE: Race results 

MORE: Points report

This is the third time this season that Harvick has swept both stages and won the race. He also did it at Las Vegas and Dover.

Harvick has finished runner-up seven times at Michigan, including June’s rain-shortened race. HIs victory Sunday is his second at the 2-mile track. He won there in August 2010.

Brad Keselowski finished second. Kyle Busch was third. Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon was fourth after having a tire issue coming to the last lap and losing a shot at a runner-up finish.

Stage 1 winner: Kevin Harvick (11th stage win of the year)

Stage 2 winner: Kevin Harvick (12th stage win of the year)

How Kevin Harvick won: He had the dominant car, leading 108 of the 200 laps. He had the strongest car in the June race but finished second in the rain-shortened race. Nothing got in his way this time.

Who had a good race: Although a tire issue caused him to fall from second to fourth on the last lap, Austin Dillon still scored his first top-five finish since his Daytona 500 win. … Brad Keselowski tied his best finish of the season with his runner-up result. … Ryan Blaney‘s fifth-place finish was his second top-five in the last 16 races. … Chase Elliott placed ninth and has placed in the top 10 in all six starts at Michigan.

Who had a bad race: Ty Dillon’s race ended early when he struck a battery or tungsten on track that sent him into the wall. He finished 38th. … Erik Jones spun twice before finishing 13th. … Martin Truex Jr. ran out of fuel before the end of Stage 2 in a gamble that kept him from having a chance to win. He also spun early in the race after contact from William Byron. Truex placed 14th. … Jimmie Johnson finished 28th, the second consecutive race he’s placed outside the top 25.

Notable: This is only the second time in the last 20 seasons that a driver had seven wins through 23 races (Kyle Busch had eight through 23 in 2008).

Quote of the day: “This is my 18th year and I can promise you this is a career year,” Kevin Harvick told NBCSN. “Never have I experienced anything like this and so we’re going to enjoy it, we’re going to bask in it and we’re going to do everything that comes with it and however it shakes out, it’s going to be a great year.”

Next: The series goes to Bristol for the night race at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 18 on NBCSN

Sam Bass, famed paint scheme and race program designer, dies

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sam Bass, the artist known for designing many iconic NASCAR paint schemes and race programs, died Saturday.

His wife Denise confirmed Bass’ passing on Twitter. He was 57.

Bass, who designed Jeff Gordon’s striking “Rainbow Warriors” paint scheme, had spent the last few years looking for a new kidney. That was a result of a sepsis infection that originated in a blister on his left foot in 2005 and led to a below-the-knee amputation in 2008. Bass also had Type 1 diabetes, which he was diagnosed with at the age of 29.

Bass was inspired to become a NASCAR artist when he was 7 after attending his first race at Southside Speedway in suburban Richmond, Virginia.

“I was so amazed that night not only by the excitement and watching those cars run around and beat and bang on each other, but also the color – how all the cars were painted so many different colors,” Bass told NBC Sports in 2017. “I was like, ‘How cool is this?’ I couldn’t wait to get home to pull out my markers.”

The first car Bass designed was Bobby Allison’s Miller High Life car in 1988. That car went on to win the Daytona 500.

He went on to design the first Cup schemes for Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Bass first designed a race program for the 1985 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He designed programs for it and other Speedway Motorsports, Inc. tracks through 2018.

Marcus Smith, the CEO and President of SMI, issued the following statement.

“Our deepest sympathies are with Denise and her family today. Sam Bass has been a significant part of NASCAR’s history. He poured his heart, soul and talent into producing souvenir program covers at many speedways including Charlotte for more than 30 years. His work provided our fans a keepsake to treasure, and that was so appropriate, because Sam was always such a fan of our sport and he was such a treasure to the entire NASCAR family. His body of work will be a legacy that lives forever. We will miss Sam’s smile and positivity.”

NASCAR issued the following statement.

“Though he may have never turned a lap or a wrench, few captured the essence of our sport through his work more than Sam Bass. He was a consistent presence in the NASCAR garage, and his ever-present smile and endearing personality welcomed all. Though we have lost a member of the NASCAR family, his legend will continue in his art – all of which illustrated the greatness of our sport and the talent of a true friend.”

Michael McDowell leads final Daytona 500 practice

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell was fastest in the final practice session for Sunday’s Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox).

McDowell and his No. 34 Ford recorded nine laps and a top speed of 191.440 mph.

The top five was completed by Ty Dillon (191.432 mph), pole-sitter William Byron (191.339), Alex Bowman (191.278) and Daniel Hemric (190.921).

Only 20 cars made at least one lap in the session.

Kurt Busch recorded the most laps in the session with 16 and was 11th on the speed chart at 189.741 mph.

Of four drivers to make a 10-lap run, Bowman had the best average at 190.334 mph.

There were no incidents in the session.

Click here for the practice report.

Jeffrey Earnhardt honors grandfather Dale Earnhardt with helmet design

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Xfinity Series driver Jeffrey Earnhardt is honoring the “GOAT” in his family with a helmet he’s debuting this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

The “GOAT” – or “Greatest of All-Time” – is his grandfather, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt.

The helmet, which you can see below, bears an image of the seven-time Cup champion riding a horse while shirtless and wearing a cowboy hat.

Next to the image is the text, “Just a goat on his horse!”

Earnhardt will have the helmet today as he starts on the front row of the Xfinity Series season opener (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1).

It is the first of nine Xfinity races he’ll start for Joe Gibbs Racing this season.

MORE: Jeffrey Earnhardt ready for challenge of winning in Xfinity

Today’s Xfinity race at Daytona: Start time, lineup and more

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
1 Comment

The NASCAR Xfinity Series kicks off the 2019 season today with the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

The 38-car field will feature defending series champion Tyler Reddick, who seeks to become the first driver to defend his Xfinity championship since Ricky Stenhouse Jr., won in 2011 and repeated in 2012.

Here’s how today’s pre-race schedule looks:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Drew Patey, VIP Partner of the NASCAR Racing Experience, at 2:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 2:49 p.m.

PRERACE CEREMONIES: Driver introductions begin at 2:10 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:30 p.m. by Sonny Gallman, Pastor of Central Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida. The National Anthem will be at 2:31 p.m. and sung by Gina Marie Incandela.

DISTANCE: The race is 120 laps (300 miles) around the 2.5-mile track.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 2 p.m. and also can be heard at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: calls for cloudy skies with a high of 74 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Tyler Reddick won last year’s season-opening race. He started 11th and led 11 laps en route to the victory.

TO THE REAR: Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick will start from the rear after changing a tire with an air leak. Max Tullman also will start from the rear for a tire change. Jeremy Clements, unapproved adjustments.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.