Harvick Advances With New Hampshire Win
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on September 25, 2016 | 5:12 P.M. EST
It was Harvick’s 34th career Sprint Cup Series win and second at NHMS, with his last coming in 2006. (Photo: Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick won Sunday's Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to advance to the Round of 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Harvick got by Matt Kenseth on a restart with five laps to go and went on to score his third win of the season. He joins Martin Truex Jr., who won last week’s Chase opening race at Chicagoland Speedway, moving on to the next round.
“For me, it was just a smooth restart,” Harvick said. “I just didn’t want to spin the tires. I don’t know what happened to him, or if I just timed it right. It worked out good when we got to Turn 1.”
It was Harvick’s 34th career Sprint Cup Series win and second at NHMS, with his last coming in 2006.
“One of our main goals this year was to not stretch ourselves out so bad,” Harvick said of winning and moving on to the next round. “I feel like the performance of the car and the things that we’re doing are good enough to be competitive, and we just need to not make mistakes and go from there.”
Kenseth was shooting for his third straight New Hampshire win and settled for second.
Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.
Carl Edwards, Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson completed the first 10 finishers.
Other Chase contenders including Joey Logano (11th), Chase Elliott (13th), Denny Hamlin (15th), Austin Dillon (16th), Jamie McMurray (19th), Tony Stewart (23rd) and Chris Buescher (30th).
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Dover International Speedway next Sunday to close out the opening round of the Chase.
How Harvick Won: He started deep in the field after a mediocre qualifying effort but Harvick had a fast far in race trim and quickly moved up into the front of the field. Through a series of late race cautions Harvick put himself in contention to challenge for a win and it presented itself when Trevor Bayne crashed in Turn 4. It set-up a final restart that Harvick was able to get by Kenseth and once he did, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver set sail and cruised to the checkered flag.
Who Had a Good Day: Kyle Busch made a charge late to finish third and has been inside the top-10 at New Hampshire in seven of his last eight races…Kurt Busch scored his first top-five finish since Kentucky in July…Edwards was able to come back for a sixth-place finish after getting a commitment line violation late in the race coming to pit road.
Who Had a Bad Day: McMurray ran 250 of the 300 laps in the top 10 but pit strategy shuffled him back to the 19th-place finish…Ryan Newman started third but fell back and never competed for a top-10 finish eventually ending up 20th…Michael McDowell had a tire go down and crashed late for the second straight week to being out a race-deciding caution.
What Else Happened: Overall the bulk of the race was quiet with the first half dominated by Truex Jr. As is usually the case at New Hampshire, late race caution flags changed the complexion of the race and a final yellow triggered the last restart that decided the outcome.
Quotable: “It was an awesome race car my guys gave me. It just didn't like all those cautions at the end...but all in all a fun day," Martin Truex Jr., who dominated the race leading 141 laps but ended up finishing seventh on Sunday.
Notable: Toyota led 280 of the 300 laps…The first 124 laps were green, the second longest green stretch to start a race at New Hampshire
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