Kevin Harvick Wins at New Hampshire, His 6th Victory of the Year

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The Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway looked to be a washout. Rain is forecast for the next 10 days in the New England area. Then a window in the weather opened and NASCAR quickly dried the track. Racing began just before 4:30 pm, 2 hours later than the original starting time.

Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk / Getty Images

Kurt Busch(41) won the pole and last week’s winner Martin Truex Jr.(78) starts beside him on the front row. With 7 races left before the NASCAR Playoffs begin, the fight for Playoff positions is heating up.

Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images

Stages of 75 laps, 75 laps, and 151 laps make up the 301 laps around the 1.05-mile track. Rain is still a possibility, the race becomes official at the conclusion of Stage 2.

Kurt Busch drove to the lead on the start. Only 13 laps went on the board until Landon Cassill(00) hit the wall on the backstretch. Bringing out the first caution of the day. After the restart, the field put 2 more laps up and A J Allmendinger(47) did the same thing. Hitting the wall on lap 20. Both cars retired to the garage, out of the race.

Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images

Through all the on-track action Busch maintained the top spot. Until NASCAR displayed a  competition caution on lap 36 to allow teams to inspect tires after the rain washed down the track. Several cars stayed on the track having pitted during the accident cautions. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(17) held off a charge by Jimmie Johnson(48) to take the lead on the restart. Staying out is a smart move for Stenhouse Jr. A stage win and the 10 points that go with it would be huge. Stenhouse Jr. started the race 9 points out of the final Playoff spot.

Photo Credit: Robert Laberge / Getty Images

However, on Lap 52, Truex Jr. took the lead. He held the top spot to the end of Stage 1.

Stage 1 Results

Car Driver Stage Points
78 Truex Jr. 10
9 Elliott 9
48 Johnson 8
41 Kurt Busch* 7
12 Blaney* 6
18 Kyle Busch 5
4 Harvick* 4
14 Bowyer* 3
22 Logano* 2
10 Almirola* 1

* Ford Fusion Drivers

Stenhouse Jr. did not earn a point in Stage 1 and neither did Paul Menard(21). He started the day 23 points below the Playoff cut line. Alex Bowman(88) holds the final Playoff spot currently. But, he is struggling on the tough New Hampshire oval.

Stage 2

After Stage ending pit stops Chase Elliott(9) beat Truex Jr. off pit road. The Busch brothers and Johnson make up the remainder of the top 5. Elliott surrendered the lead as the race went back to green with Truex Jr. again moving to the front.

With 20 laps to go in Stage 2, Elliott drove to the front. He had to hold off the pole sitter, Kurt Busch, to earn his first Stage win of the year.

Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images

Stage 2 Results

Car Driver Stage Points
9 Elliott 10
41 Kurt Busch* 9
78 Truex Jr. 8
4 Harvick* 7
10 Almirola* 6
18 Kyle Busch 5
14 Bowyer* 4
48 Johnson 3
12 Blaney* 2
22 Logano* 1

* Ford Fusion Drivers

Six Blue Oval drivers in the Top 10 at the end of Stage 2.

The Final Stage

The race off pit road after the Stage ending caution was close. Kurt Busch just nipped Elliott at the line. The rest of the top 5 remained unchanged for the start of the Final Stage. Joey Logano(22) made the big move exiting in the 6th spot.

On Lap 212, Aric Almirola(10) drove past teammate Kurt Busch for the lead. The first time Almirola led a lap at New Hampshire. With 75 laps to go Stenhouse Jr. hit the wall. He was able to make it to pit road without the caution coming out. The damage to the car likely will cost Stenhouse Jr. in his battle with Bowman for the final playoff spot.

Trouble Late

Clint Bowyer spun out in Turn 3 bringing out the caution with 45 laps to go. The field pitted for new tires and fuel. Kyle Busch(18) exited first, jumbling the front of the field. Kevin Harvick(4) came out 2nd with Almirola 3rd. Truex Jr. 4th and Kurt Busch 5th.

When the green flag waves, the “Big Three” Kyle Busch, Harvick, and Truex Jr. run in the top 3 spots. Harvick ran down Kyle Busch and with 7 laps to go they were nose to tail. He gave Busch a bump moving him up out of the groove. Harvick drove past and took the victory to move ahead of Bush 6 victories to 5. The win also moved Harvick ahead of Kyle in Playoff Points 32-30.

Playoff Battle

Stenhouse Jr. lost 19 points in the battle for the final Playoff spot. He is now 28 points behind Bowman. Menard also lost 3 points and sits 29 points out of the final position. Ahead of Bowman, Elliott, in 15th position, is 48 points clear. Johnson sits 58 points up on Bowman’s 16th and final qualifying position.

 

 

Results of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire

Position Car Driver Behind Laps
1 4 Kevin Harvick 301
2 18 Kyle Busch 1.877 301
3 10 Aric Almirola 5.731 300
4 78 Martin Truex Jr. 7.107 300
5 9 Chase Elliott 10.148 300
6 31 Ryan Newman 13.439 300
7 12 Ryan Blaney 14.093 300
8 22 Joey Logano 14.373 300
9 41 Kurt Busch 14.535 300
10 48 Jimmie Johnson 15.459 300
11 88 Alex Bowman 15.996 300
12 42 Kyle Larson 16.442 300
13 11 Denny Hamlin 17.323 300
14 24 William Byron 18.133 300
15 6 Matt Kenseth 19.368 300
16 20 Erik Jones 25.704 300
17 21 Paul Menard 26.227 300
18 1 Jamie McMurray 29.303 300
19 95 Kasey Kahne 30.294 300
20 37 Chris Buescher -1 299
21 3 Austin Dillon -1 299
22 19 Daniel Suarez -1 299
23 13 Ty Dillon -1 299
24 43 Bubba Wallace -2 298
25 15 Ross Chastain -3 297
26 34 Michael McDowell -3 297
27 72 Corey LaJoie -3 297
28 32 Matt DiBenedetto -3 297
29 38 David Ragan -3 297
30 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -5 295
31 99 Kyle Weatherman -7 293
32 2 Brad Keselowski -8 292
33 23 Blake Jones -12 289
34 51 BJ McLeod -34 266
35 14 Clint Bowyer -46 255
36 47 AJ Allmendinger -282 19
37 0 Landon Cassill -288 13

Points/Playoff Standings

Rank Driver Points Wins
1 Kevin Harvick* 780 6
2 Kyle Busch 834 5
3 Martin Truex Jr. 722 4
4 Clint Bowyer* 631 2
5 Joey Logano* 676 1
6 Erik Jones 501 1
7 Austin Dillon 378 1
8 Brad Keselowski* 635 0
9 Kurt Busch* 630 0
10 Kyle Larson 606 0
11 Denny Hamlin 583 0
12 Ryan Blaney* 576 0
13 Aric Almirola* 568 0
14 Jimmie Johnson 511 0
15 Chase Elliott 501 0
16 Alex Bowman 453 0
Playoff Cut Line
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.* 425 0
18 Paul Menard* 424 0
19 Daniel Suarez 359 0
20 William Byron 358 0

* Ford Fusion Drivers

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Steve Sweitzer
Steve is the Sports Editor for the Lasco Press and highlights our coverage of NASCAR and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Steve is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association and a nationally published author of automotive related articles for industry trade magazines. He is also a freelance technical writer and accomplished photographer. A 25-year resident of Southeast Michigan, Steve’s passion for reporting on our community, it’s residents, and our automotive connections allow us to use his skills to cover a number of events. Steve’s ability to seek out the unique behind the scenes accounts that tell the often-overlooked aspect of a story makes for entertaining reading. Follow Steve at thelascopress.com with weekly NASCAR updates and featured articles.