BROOKLYN, Mich. — Kevin Harvick is so confident in his talent and his team, he doesn't get excited when he wins a race these days.
"It's more of an expectation," he said.
Maybe adding a second NASCAR Cup Series championship to his résumé would move the needle a bit more.
Harvick earned the 47th Cup Series victory of his career and his second in less than a month when he pulled away from the pack Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, winning a race at the two-mile, D-shaped track for the second straight year.
With just three races remaining before the playoffs, the timing of his latest strong performance is telling for the 2014 season champion.
"Hopefully, we're peaking at the right time," the 47-year-old Stewart-Haas Racing driver said.
Late in the race, Harvick created a cushion between his No. 4 Ford Mustang and the competition and finished more than a second ahead of Denny Hamlin, who was in the No. 11 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
"Nothing I could really do," Hamlin said. "Didn't have enough speed."
Harvick also won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last month, finishing sixth and seventh between his most recent victories. Harvick said he has been driving with an injured shoulder, hurting it while throwing a Nerf ball. He said he couldn't lift his arm in June at Sonoma Raceway, but he estimated his shoulder is 80% healthy now.
"We still have to get a lot better," crew chief Rodney Childers said, "but we're in better shape than we were."
Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson finished third in a Chevrolet Camaro, more than 16 seconds behind Harvick. He was followed by JGR's Martin Truex Jr., SHR's Daniel Suarez and points leader Kyle Busch, another JGR driver.
Jimmie Johnson, whose seven Cup Series championships are even with Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for most of all time, 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 slipped to 18th.
The 43-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver had an early setback, making contact with a wall the 15th lap, an incident that damaged his Chevy's right rear quarter panel and tire. He finished 34th.
Johnson was several laps back for much of the race, but he got a potential break in the playoff race 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 finished 37th in the race, putting him in 16th in the battle for the final postseason spot.
Newman, who started the day tied with Johnson in the points standings, was 12th in the 38-car field, which was good enough to move him up to 15th.
Johnson finished 30th or worse for the third time in five races; in the other two, he was 15th and 19th.
"The guys around that cutoff point all seem to be having bad luck," said Johnson, whose most recent of his 83 Cup Series victories was on June 4, 2017, at Dover International Speedway.
Brad Keselowski started in pole position Sunday but finished 19th, extending his winless streak to 21 races at the track about 70 miles from his hometown in suburban Detroit. Keselowski got off to a strong start and led for a race-high 66 laps, but a flat tire during the second stage set off sparks behind him and proved to be a setback he couldn't overcome.
"Someone once told me faith isn't believing when everything is going your way, it's believing when nothing is going your way," Keselowski posted on Twitter. "Today was a test of faith. We will return and win here, just not today."
Joey Logano won at the track in June, helping Ford win four straight at MIS and bragging rights over Chevrolet and Toyota in a state where the manufactures have a big presence.
Said Mark Rushbrook, global director for Ford Performance: "We want to win every race, but definitely here."