Kevin Harvick nudged Kyle Busch for the lead with seven laps-to-go and went on to score his series-leading sixth win of the season in Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Harvick and Busch were engaged in a nose-to-tail battle for the lead in the final laps of Sunday’s race. Harvick finally got to the rear bumper of Busch’s car and made contact and that allowed the Stewart-Haas Racing driver to grab the top spot.
"I didn’t know if I was going to get there again and felt like that was my best opportunity to do what I had to do to win," Harvick said of the move that led to winning. "I didn’t want to wreck him but I didn’t want to waste a bunch of time behind him.
"Winning is important and you need to take every opportunity you can."
As for potential retaliation, Harvick said he’ll cross the bridge when he comes to it.
"Well, you do, and you worry about that stuff later," he said. "It’s not like I wrecked him. It was the same thing in Chicago."
Busch, Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five.
Ryan Newman, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson completed the first 10 finishers.
Kurt Busch led the most laps (94) from the pole, but lost spots because of a miscue on pit road during green-flag stop on Lap 227.
"We ended up on the same lap as Blaney," Busch said about the driver that was in the pit stall behind his. "That’s just bad luck or bad communication between two crew chiefs. And then the crew chief is like, ‘he’ll be gone by the time you get there.’ And I initially thought that, and then they were still hanging left-side tires and I was like, ‘Oh no, oh no. He’s gonna be there.’ If I would have come around him, I would have blocked him huge."
Truex Jr. and Elliott won the first two stages. Stage Points
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Pocono Raceway next Sunday afternoon.
How Harvick Won: The battle between Harvick and Busch was shaping up to be memorable and it delivered when with seven laps to go there was contact. Harvick made slight contact with the rear bumper of Busch’s cart with seven laps-to-go and that opened the door for him to take the lead and drive on to Victory Lane.
Who Had a Good Day: Kyle Busch had his fourth second-place finish of the season…Almirola scored his first top-five finish of the season…Truex Jr. notched his 14th top-five finish this season, second most to Harvick…Elliott recorded his first top 10 at NHMS in fifth start there (Read More)…Newman had his best finish of the season.
Who Had a Bad Day: AJ Allmendinger had a tire go down causing him to spin and hot the wall early handing the JTG Daugherty racing driver his third finish of 30th or worse in the last five races…Almirola was in the lead until the final round of pit stops but lost spots on a bobble by his crew and his chance to win evaporated…Clint Bowyer hit the wall late and wound up finishing 35th.
What Else Happened: Wet weather as predicted engulfed the Loudon area late Sunday morning and despite NASCAR accelerating the start of the race by an hour there was still a delay before the green flag flew just around 4:15 p.m. ET. There was competition caution at lap 35 but the biggest impact was the rain washing off the VHT traction substance that was applied to the racing surface, which did make a difference in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. Without the added possibility of a new lane New Hampshire turned into a track position race with the preferred line definitely on the low side.
Quotable: "Way to go dip sh**t 41," Kyle Busch trying to get around older brother Kurt.
Notables: It was the ninth time Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have finished 1-2, fourth this season. All four Hendrick Motorsports cars finished top 15…Last driver with at least six wins through 20 races was Kyle Busch in 2008.