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NASCAR results at Michigan: Kevin Harvick defends Consumers Energy 400 title

Sporting News — (Thomas Schlarp)

Kevin Harvick needed 20 races to record his first win of the season a few a weeks ago. The No. 4 Ford now has a pair of victories in his last four races after holding on to win the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The win was Harvick's third at Michigan and 47th of his Cup Series career. Fuel strategy was a heavy influence in Harvick's win, as runner-up Denny Hamlin had to ease off the throttle for some of the final laps in an effort to conserve fuel.

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Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top five. 

Brad Keselowski, who led a race-high 66 laps, was poised to finish in the top five, but had to pit from third with 11 laps remaining in order to have enough fuel for the finish. He wound up 19th.

Fuel mismanagement struck Joey Logano as well, as the No. 22 led 52 laps, but had to pit with four laps remaining in order to fuel up. He finished 17th but maintained his second-place status in the Cup Series standings.

Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer both entered the day on the playoff bubble and in need of a good performance, something that ultimately eluded the pair by the race's end. Johnson was forced to pit early in the race on Lap 15 and ultimately finished 34th. Bowyer hit the wall hard on Lap 139, spelling the end of the race for the No. 14 and a 37th-place finish. Bowyer now holds the final playoff position, while Johnson sits on the outside, looking in, at 18th place.

The Cup Series returns to Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday for a night race in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.

Sporting News tracked live lap-by-lap updates and highlights from the Consumers Energy 400. Follow along below.

Consumers Energy 400: 2019 winner, top 20 order of finish

NASCAR at Michigan: Live updates, highlights from Consumers Energy 400

FinishDriverTeam (Car No.)Laps led
1.Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas (4)22
2.Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs Racing (11)6
3.Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi Racing (42)
4.Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs Racing (19)43
5.Daniel SuarezStewart-Haas (41)
6.Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs Racing (18)3
7.Ryan PreeceJoe Gibbs Racing (47)
8.William ByronHendrick Motorsports (24)
9.Chase ElliottHendrick Motorsports (9)
10.Alex BowmanHendrick Motorsports (88)
11.Ty DillonGermain Racing (13)
12.Ryan NewmanRichard Childress Racing (6)
13.Austin DillonRichard Childress Racing (3)
14.Chris BuescherJTG Daugherty Racing (37)
15.Paul MenardWood Brothers Racing (21)
16.David RaganFront Row Motorsports (38)
17.Joey LoganoTeam Penske (22)52
18.Erik JonesJoe Gibbs Racing (20)
19.Brad KeselowskiTeam Penske (2)66
20.Matt DiBenedettoLeavine Family Racing (95)

(All times Eastern.)

Caution flags: 6

Lead changes: 19

Lap leaders: Kevin Harvick (22), Brad Keselowski (67), Joey Logano (52), Martin Truex Jr. (43), Kevin Harvick (22), Denny Hamlin (6), Kurt Busch (5), Ryan Blaney (2), Kyle Busch (3)

6:00 p.m.: Harvick holds off Hamlin for his second win of the season. Several drivers run out of fuel on the final lap.

5:59 p.m.: One lap left, and Harvick has a decent lead over Hamlin.

5:58 p.m.: Logano pits out of second with four laps to go. His team feared he didn't have enough fuel.

5:57 p.m.: Five to go. Hamlin and Blaney just got the okay to go full throttle. They're third and fourth respectively.

5:53 p.m.: Keselowski heads to pit road with 11 laps left.

5:50 p.m.: Harvick gets around Logano for first with 16 laps left. Keselowski is in third, but will need a caution for fuel if he plans on winning

5:46 p.m.: Keselowski's team says he's at least 10 laps short on fuel. Logano's team is unsure if the No. 22 has enough.

5:44 p.m.: Blaney has dropped to fifth as he tries to conserve fuel for the finish.

5:40 p.m.: Harvick gets around Keselowski with 29 laps left.

5:35 p.m.: Just 40 laps remain and Logano lead Blaney and Keselowski. Blaney's team is telling him to try and conserve fuel.

5:30 p.m.: Logano and Paul Menard both get around Blaney.

5:29 p.m.: Ryan Blaney wins the race off pit road and is the new leader on the restart.

5:25 p.m.: Green flag racing is tough to come by. Another caution as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spins out in Turn 4.

5:22 p.m.: Clint Bowyer's day is finished. Good news for Jimmie Johnson.

5:18 p.m.: Let's try that restart again. Logano maintains the lead.

5:10 p.m.: That didn't last long. Clint Bowyer is into the wall and has major damage to his rear. Another caution.

5:10 p.m.: And we're back under green with Logano and Kurt Busch still in the front row.

5:05 p.m.: Spencer Boyd spins out into the wall and draws a caution. Drivers can't reach the end on their current fuel levels, so most will stay off pit road.

5:04 p.m.: William Byron, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

5:01 p.m.: Green flag on the final stage with Kurt Busch and Joey Logano in the front row. Busch eventually settles behind the No. 22.

4:54 p.m.: Here's a look at the chaos that ended Stage 2:

Stage 2 winner: Kyle Busch

4:49 p.m.: Kyle Busch wins the stage, but Austin Dillon spun into the infield and Aric Almirola smacked into the wall. Almirola's day might be over.

4:48 p.m.: Green flag. It's a one lap shootout to end the stage.

4:46 p.m.: Kyle Busch's team told him to stay off pit road in order to pick up stage points.

4:42 p.m.: Caution is out as Keselowski blows a tire and spins into the infield.

4:39 p.m.: Harvick and Kyle Busch are the new leaders with eight laps left in Stage 2.

4:36 p.m.: Drivers are beginning to pit with 11 laps to go in the stage. Hamlin and Logano both took four tires. Truex takes just fuel again.

4:31 p.m.: Twenty laps remain in Stage 2, and Kurt Busch has now worked his way up to third. He's closing the gap as Truex and Hamlin battle for first.

4:25 p.m.: Truex almost drives off the track and into the infield as he successfully passes Keselowski for the lead.

4:22 p.m.: Kurt Busch passes Alex Bowman on Lap 86 for fourth.

4:18 p.m.: For the third race in a row, Truex and Hamlin are locked side by side. Truex just passed the No. 11 for second.

4:13 p.m.: Truex restarted ninth after having to take four tires, but he's already recovered to third.

4:09 p.m.: Green flag for Stage 2. Keselowski and Hamlin make up the front row.

Stage 1 winner: Martin Truex Jr.

3:59 p.m.: Truex Jr. barely holds off Hamlin for the stage victory. Truex started the race is last.

3:57 p.m.: Really aggressive driving between the three leaders and Larson and Bubba Wallace in lap traffic. Three to go.

3:55 p.m.: Truex is running into Kyle Larson and other lap traffic, causing him to lose precious fractions of a second.

3:52 p.m.: Everyone has pitted now with 12 laps to go. Martin Truex Jr. opted for fuel-only in an attempt to pick up a playoff point and now has the lead. Joey Logano has the edge over Hamlin for second.

3:47 p.m.: The green flag pit cycle has begun.

3:44 p.m.: Finally a new leader! Hamlin passes Keselowski on Lap 40.

3:40 p.m.: Harvick is forced to pit out of second with a flat tire on Lap 33.

3:37 p.m.: Halfway through Stage 1 and Keselowski has led Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin the whole way.

3:32 p.m.: Johnson if off pit road, but he's already two laps behind Brad Keselowski on Lap 20.

3:30 p.m.: Johnson makes it to pit road with a lot of damage and a flat tire, but the race stays green. Not what the No. 48 wanted as he sits 16th in the standings...

3:28 p.m.: Jimmie Johnson is real slow coming down the backstretch. Looks to be smoke on the inside.

3:23 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr. is flying. He started from the rear, and just five laps in, he's up to 16th.

3:20 p.m.: Green flag!

3:11 p.m.: Cars are rolling. A quick breakdown of today's race below: