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Monday November 18th, 2019 2:46PM

The Latest: Kevin Harvick wins NASCAR Cup race at Michigan

By The Associated Press
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BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on the NASCAR Cup race at Michigan International Speedway (all times local):

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6:05 p.m.

Kevin Harvick has won a NASCAR Cup race at Michigan International Speedway for the second straight year, giving him two victories this year and 47 in his career.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver pulled away from the competition in his Ford and finished more than a second ahead of Denny Hamlin. Kyle Larson was third, more than 16 seconds behind Harvick, and was followed by Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez and Kyle Busch on Sunday in the Consumers Energy 400.

There are three races left before the playoffs, including one under the lights Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson will have to close the regular season strong to extend his streak of earning a spot in every postseason since the format was created 15 years ago. He started the race tied for the 16th and final spot in the playoffs and had an early setback, making contact with a wall on Lap 15 that damaged his right rear quarter panel and tire, and finished 34th.

Johnson was several laps back for much of the race, but got a break potentially for the final spot when Clint Bowyer was knocked out of the race after Paul Menard appeared to bump him. Bowyer began the day 15th in the playoff standings and was 37th at MIS.

Newman, who started the day tied with Johnson in the playoff standings, was 12th in the 38-car field.

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5:04 p.m.

Kyle Busch won the second stage of the NASCAR Cup race at Michigan International Speedway, just before a yellow flag came out because of a multi-car crash .

Aric Almirola and Daniel Hemric collided with each other and a wall at just about the same time Busch completed his 120th lap in the 200-lap race. Austin Dillon also got caught up in the fray, spinning him out and sending him into the grass below the track.

Busch passed Martin Truex Jr. on a restart, stemming from Brad Keselowski spinning out because of a flat tire that set off sparks behind him. The pole-sitter avoided hitting a wall, giving him a chance to continue to compete in the Consumers Energy 400.

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4:12 p.m.

Martin Truex Jr. won the first stage of the NASCAR Cup race at Michigan International Speedway, rallying from inspection failures that forced him to start 38th and last.

He earned a playoff point for leading the race after 60 laps, making the 500th start of his career.

Shortly thereafter, pole sitter Brad Keselowski took the lead in the race again.

The woes for Jimmie Johnson continued early in the race. The seven-time champion made contact with a wall, damaging his right rear quarter panel and tire. He was forced to make a pit stop, which was not completed quickly because of the extensive damage.

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3:25 p.m.

The Consumers Energy 400 has begun with a clean start.

Brad Keselowski was on the pole when the NASCAR Cup Series race began and stayed out front early in the 200-lap race.

Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is among the drivers, desperately trying to improve his position for the playoffs with just four races left in the regular season.

The race at Michigan International Speedway marked the 500th start in the career of Martin Truex Jr.

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2:23 p.m.

Brad Keselowski is hoping to make pole position an advantage, helping him win at Michigan International Speedway in front of family and friends for the first time.

Keselowski will start out front Sunday afternoon in the Consumers Energy 400, one of four NASCAR Cup Series races remaining before the playoffs begin. The former series championship has 30 Cup victories, but hasn't won any of his 20 starts at MIS about 70 miles from his hometown in suburban Detroit.

Kevin Harvick will start second and will be followed by William Byron, Alex Bowman, Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott. Points leader Kyle Busch will start 24th in the 38-car field.

Jimmie Johnson may have the most at stake on the 2-mile oval.

The seven-time champion qualified 12th and is desperately trying to earn a spot in the playoffs. He is tied with Ryan Newman for the 16th and final spot. Johnson has been in each postseason since the format was created 15 years ago.

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