Michigan win would make Harvick happy

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Aug. 5—With only four races remaining before the start of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, several drivers have circled the Michigan International Speedway as the race track where they can earn that much needed win.

Certainly, veteran Kevin Harvick has his eyes focused on Sunday's annual Firekeepers Casino 400 as his best opportunity to not only end his 65-race winless streak, but more importantly, punch his ticket into the 2022 NASCAR Cup Playoffs.

The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang GT has struggled this season to get the right combination of speed and handling from his new Next Generation race car. Harvick, with his recent record of success at Michigan, could put some fire into a disappointing 2022 season with a victory in Sunday's 400-miler on the challenging and fast Michigan 2.0-mile high banks.

Harvick's Michigan record is easily the best among current drivers. In his 41 MIS race starts, he has earned five wins (2010,2018, 2019, and a sweep of two wins in 2020), seven second-place finishes,15 top 5s, 21 top 10s and had led 699 laps, all series bests.

For five-time MIS winner Harvick, who currently sits 17th in the playoff standings and 96 points from the regular season cutline, Michigan is definitely a good chance for him and his Stewart-Haas Racing team to make another familiar trip to the MIS Victory Circle.

As an added incentive, the prestigious annual Michigan Heritage Trophy is awarded to the auto maker whose race car claims victory in Sunday's Firekeepers Casino 400. This coveted Manufacturer's Trophy and the "bragging rights" that go with it is much desired by the three competing major auto makers whose headquarters are located in the nearby Detroit area.

America's Ford Motor Company and their race teams have dominated the recent competition at MIS, and are looking to extend their current winning streak to eight straight, keeping the Michigan Heritage Trophy in Dearborn, Michigan another year.

So, heading into Michigan for the annual Firekeepers Casino 400, the popular Bakersfield, California, NASCAR veteran has much to gain. If Harvick can win for the sixth time Sunday on fast 2.0-mile speedway that has afforded him so much recent success, he would be in 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, win the Michigan Heritage Trophy for his Ford Motor Company manufacturer, and snap that 65-race winless streak.

Another Michigan win would certainly make "Happy Harvick" happy again. His victory quest and that of 35 other NASCAR Cup Series hopefuls begins with the drop of the green flag at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Aaron Kirchoff at aaron.kirchoff@greensburgdailynews.com