"It was interesting listening to some of the [Joe] Gibbs [Racing] drivers and the gamesmanship they were playing of they pitted [while Harvick didn't in the final 30 laps] and came back out and then immediately started screaming debris on the race track", said Stewart, who was critical of NASCAR for throwing a late debris caution at MI last week.
The win also was his first win on the road course. By then, Harvick had a comfortable lead of more than eight seconds-and just enough fuel in the tank of the No. 4 Ford Fusion to complete a celebratory burnout on the frontstretch.
So Harvick made a decision to run the regional K&N Pro Series West race Saturday at Sonoma, winning that event.
"Once the 78 (Truex) fell out, I thought we were 100-percent in control of the race", said Harvick. "There's still a lot of things we don't know about our cars that we learn on a weekly basis, and that's the fun part is to know the upside potential to this whole deal". "That was one of the most exciting laps I've had all year".
Since Kahne was off the track, NASCAR held off the yellow flag until midway through the final lap and Harvick was able to complete the lap and race past the checkered flag.
Clint Bowyer, Harvick's Stewart-Haas teammate, was runner-up for the second time this season.
Bowyer, driving the entry Tony Stewart used for his final victory past year at the track, was second and Brad Keselowski third as Ford Fusions went 1-2-3.
For Harvick, it was the first victory since Stewart-Haas Racing switched to Ford this season.
In a stop-start race, the safety vehicle came out three times in quick succession before a red flag stopped the race near the midway point because debris littered the track.
It was Ford's seventh victory of the season.
Penske team qualifies for first two rows: Team Penske will have a stranglehold on the first two rows of the IndyCar race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. It was the first stage win for a man who has three race wins this year.
"You look at it every which way", said Rodney Childers, Harvick's crew chief.
"Getting our first win with Ford - this has been a great journey for us as an organization and team", Harvick said. "I felt like the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) was the auto we had to race, and then he had problems and from there we were in control".
Truex remained second in driver points, 13 markers behind Kyle Larson. All told, he was out front on two occasions for a total of 11 laps, fifth most among a race-record 10 leaders. Hamlin and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Kurt (Busch) winning the Daytona 500 and we have run well.
Truex started the race from the third position and was immediately strong on the 11-turn, 1.99-mile road course. Jimmie Johnson took the Stage 2 win in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.
The victory was the 36th of Harvick's career.
Ganassi had a chance for a weekend sweep.
Harvick said they chose essentially to play the long game and not chase stage points at the risk of needing fuel or new tires late in the race.
FORMULA ONE: Daniel Ricciardo profited from chaos to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.
Vettel steered his Ferrari into fourth, just ahead of Hamilton's Mercedes. "If we got that caution, staying out on the track would have been a race-winning move but it didn't work out". Vettel accused Hamilton of "check braking" him on a restart, causing Vettel to run into the back of Hamilton's then-leading vehicle. Vettel then accelerated alongside Hamilton and appeared to deliberately swerve back into him. Ultimately, Keselowski's Ford was the last auto on the track that hadn't made a stop, and his lead reached 10 seconds. This is the only race of the season here. Kalita finished at 3.736 at 331.36. Jack Beckman won in Funny Car, Bo Butner in Pro Stock and LE Tonglet in Pro Stock Motorcycle.