Kevin Harvick cruised away from Joey Logano in an eight-lap shootout to take the victory in the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer secured the final spots into the playoffs.

The pair of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champions dominated the 160-lap event and showed plenty of muscle early by winning the race's opening 50-lap stages.

Logano moved to the lead for the first time in the race on Lap 43 when he stayed out under a yellow flag for the crash of Landon Cassill after Harvick relinquished the lead to make his first pitstop. The final two-lap dash to the finish was cut short when Logano's Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski crashed heavily on the inside of Turn 2 on Lap 48.

The accident damaged the tyre barrier and resulted in a 12-minute red flag for repairs.

Logano pitted under the yellow which moved Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick to the front row for the second stage.

Harvick quickly dispatched Larson on the restart and pulled away. The Bakersfield, California native returned to his Stage 1 form and ran the second stage with little contest from behind. He only abandoned the point when he made his green-flag stop on Lap 84.

He emerged back onto the 2.5-mile superspeedway ahead of the queue of drivers that pitted just before Kyle Busch's engine expiration brought out the yellow flag.

The caution brought Harvick back to the lead and propelled him to the stage win when NASCAR threw the yellow flag for debris with two laps to go.

A handful of backmarkers pitted under the yellow and Harvick stayed in the lead ahead of Kyle Larson when the race restarted on Lap 105.

A multi-car melee broke out immediately after the restart when Jimmie Johnson spun on the inside of Kurt Busch in Turn 1. Johnson hit the outside wall hard before getting clobbered by the Toyota of Parker Kligerman while William Byron, Matt Tifft and Chris Buescher also suffered damage.

The next restart saw Ryan Blaney complete the only green flag pass on Harvick the entire day on Lap 112 when he restarted on Harvick's outside.

Blaney developed a sizable 1.5 second lead over Harvick throughout the stint while Logano remained in third. Harvick's Stewart Haas Racing teammates Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five.

The final round of pitstops began on Lap 127 when Suarez gave up his top five spot for four tyres and fuel. Harvick followed suit two laps later just before Kyle Larson crashed on the backstretch.

The accident brought out the yellow flag and secured Harvick a shot to retake the lead once the field stopped under the caution.

The leaders stopped under the yellow with Blaney winning the race off pit road ahead of Logano, Bubba Wallace and Alex Bowman while Harvick moved back to the front.

The restart was truncated when Bowman spun in Turn 2 and slowed the action for the ninth time. A clean restart finally came on Lap 140 as Harvick broke away as Joey Logano motored past teammate Blaney to take over the runner up spot.

Bubba Wallace rode the coattails of Logano to take over third as Blaney fell to fourth ahead of Denny Hamlin.

The pace was slowed yet again on Lap 147 when Matt Tifft crashed in Turn 1.

The incident erased Harvick's comfortable lead and set up a 10-lap trophy dash to the checkers with Logano in position to pounce.

Logano took advantage of his chance on the restart and drew even with Harvick for half of the 152nd lap before Harvick cleared him for good heading into Turn 3.

Logano could only watch as Harvick set sail while Bubba Wallace settled into third behind him.

Harvick never faltered and took the checkered flag with 6.118 seconds in the bank at the checkered flag.

Wallace took an impressive third place ahead of sophomore William Bryon while Clint Bowyer took the 15th playoff spot by finishing fifth.

Denny Hamlin ended up sixth after starting dead last following a crash in yesterday's practice session. Blaney faded to seventh in the final laps while Ryan Newman secured the final berth in the playoffs with an eighth-place finish.

Completing the top ten was the Chevrolet of Chase Elliott and the Ford of Paul Menard.

Daniel Suarez finished eleventh and came up short of Newman in the championship chase after smacking the wall early and struggling with pace on his No. 41 SHR Ford Mustang.

Seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson also saw a 15-year championship streak come to an end after he crashed on Lap 105 and dropped him to the 35th finishing position.

 

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