An almost flawless run Sunday by Kevin Harvick ruined any chance Jimmy Johnson had of executing his win-to-get-in strategy, and when he hit the wall in the second turn with 55 laps to go at Indianapolis Motor Speedway made it official: Johnson would miss the playoff for the first time.
Harvick beat Joey Logano by 6.118 seconds to claim his second Brickyard win.
With Johnson out, Clint Bowyer, Harvick’s teammate with Stewart-Haas Racing, held onto the 15th spot in the 16-car field. And Ryan Newman, of Roush Fenway Racing, broke a tie for the final spot with Daniel Suarez and put the No. 6 Ford in the playoffs.
Suarez brushed the wall on Lap 12 and then fell four points short of becoming the first Mexican-born driver to qualify for the playoffs in the No. 41 Ford with Haas Automation.
Two-time race winner and regular-season champion Kyle Busch parked his car on pit row after blowing an engine.
In all, there were six crashes and nine yellow flags for 48 laps in the 160-lap race.
Harvick heads into the playoffs in the No. 4 spot, recording three wins and seven top-10 finishes in the last seven races. He’s also won two poles during that stretch.
The playoffs begin next Sunday in Las Vegas.