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Michigan Rear-View Mirror

Father’s Day came a little late for Kevin Harvick this year.

Harvick celebrated his seventh win of the season with the ultimate dad gift Sunday at Michigan International Speedway with his son Keelan at his side. Once Harvick took the checkered flag after another dominating performance, his young son joined the festivities first taking the checkered flag from the starter’s stand before getting to ride with his dad around the track before finally getting to Victory Lane.

But while it was all smiles for the Harvick family the rest of the field was left once again shaking their collective heads after yet another win for “The Big Three.” In fact some of those heads shaking belonged to the two other members of the trio Kyle Busch, who finished a respectable third, and Martin Truex Jr., who had a day filled with challenges that added up to a 13th-place finish.

However the beat goes on with this impressive threesome combining to win 17 of the season’s first 23 races. Harvick could get to double digits by the time the regular season ends in three weeks from the looks of his performance on Sunday.

It’s hard to see any scenario that doesn’t have the trio battling for the title come Ford Championship weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

But before November rolls around there’s more than a good chance Sunday’s heartwarming family post-race scene will repeat itself a few more times.

  • The euphoria around Hendrick Motorsports around Chase Elliott’s Watkins Glen win last weekend faded into reality Sunday. While Elliott finished in the top 10, something he’s done in all six of his career Michigan starts, the rest of the Hendrick stable suffered more frustration. Jimmie Johnson had some time at the front of the field thanks to some pit strategy from crew chief Chad Knaus. But a loose wheel in the closing laps doomed Johnson to a 28th-place finish. Alex Bowman was 28th while William Byron finished 36th thanks in no small part to some damage picked-up after contact with Martin Truex Jr. early in the race. One step forward and two steps back sums up the last seven days for the Hendrick stable.
  • There has been much discussion in recent weeks about schedule changes and the want to bring more short tracks to the NASCAR schedule. It’s a difficult proposition given the current business environment certainly for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and even Xfinity Series. There’s hope the Camping World Truck Series could find its way back to at least a couple more short tracks in future years to help connect the division to its early roots. But if there is more racing like what the trucks put on at Michigan on Saturday, maybe that cry from fans might not be quite as loud. Brett Moffitt edged Johnny Sauter in another thrilling finish, which has become somewhat the norm for the NCWTS at MIS.
  • The Xfinity Series has competed at Mid-Ohio Sports car course for six seasons and every year the annual trek to the twisting road circuit delivers memorable racing. Once again the 2018 race didn’t disappoint except may for those hoping to see a repeat of the 2016 race run in the rain. Gorgeous sunshine and blue skies were what drivers and fans enjoyed on Saturday in a race that had a great deal of action and some drama late when Justin Allgaier got around Austin Cindric in the closing laps to take the win after the JR Motorsports driver made several off track excursions over the course of the afternoon. The good news is next year’s schedule repeats the Truck Series/Xfinity Series Saturday doubleheader at Michigan and Mid-Ohio.
  • It was refreshing to see the impressive crowds and thrilling racing on display at this year’s Knoxville Nationals with Brad Sweet winning Saturday night’s main event. However, once again the week included debate about the supposed divide between short track and NASCAR fans causing Kyle Larson to employ a self-imposed gag order to not talk about his love of sprint car racing to avoid creating any controversy within the racing world. It’s a ridiculous situation that accomplishes absolutely nothing but further push apart fan bases while reinforcing the territorialism that does nothing but harm motorsports. All of racing of every discipline should unite to ensure the sport thrives and prospers instead of participating in a Civil War that will continue to cause damage.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.