Kevin Harvick Wins New Hampshire; Punches Ticket to Second Round

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 25: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 ditech Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 25, 2016 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

With the 2016 Chase For The Sprint Cup now in full swing, the Bad Boy Off Road 300 provided the intensity that was expected. The need for a win was front and centre at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Kevin Harvick wins New Hampshire after a strong late restart. He has locked himself into the second round of the Chase.

Kevin Harvick Wins New Hampshire and Punches Ticket to Second Round of the Chase

With 10 laps to go, a late race caution involving Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Reed Sorenson tightened the field for one last sprint to the finish. This provided a chance to be locked into the second round of the Chase. Martin Truex Jr., who already has a win in the Chase, dominated the majority of the race and looked to win yet again. This would have forced fellow Chase drivers to rely on solid points days in hopes of advancing. With Toyota drivers leading the way for the majority of the day, the final stretch of cautions allowed Harvick to close the gap and find himself on the outside of Matt Kenseth. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was looking to extend his “Magic Mile” winning streak to three.

On that final restart, 2014 Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick got the advantage over Kenseth heading into turn one. Harvick was then able to get out to the lead heading down the backstretch. A late charge from Kenseth fell short as Kevin Harvick wins New Hampshire and a spot in the second round of the Chase. The next round of the Chase will take place on Oct. 2 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Toyota Dominates But Falls Short

As predicted heading into the 2016 post-season, the Toyota Racing drivers of Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. showed exceptional speed throughout the entirety of the race. With Truex Jr. leading 141 of 300 laps followed by Matt Kenseth who lead for 105 laps. It was looking like another Toyota driver would add his name to the list of the second round.

As cautions began to fall late in the running, the pressure on pit-road picked up as drivers looked to gain precious track position for the remaining laps. Carl Edwards picked up a pit-road violation penalty with only a handful of laps remaining. This ultimately forced him to a 6th place finish. Martin Truex Jr. struggled on late restarts at a track where track position is a major key to success. He was never able to find his way back to the front which resulted in a 7th place finish.

With 4 drivers finishing inside the top 10, Toyota once again showed that they are a major threat for this years Sprint Cup Championship, however in order to do just that they will need to be able to close races down the stretch.

Chase Order

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Matt Kenseth
  6. Joey Logano
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Jimmie Johnson
  9. Chase Elliott
  10. Carl Edwards
  11. Kurt Busch
  12. Kyle Larson
  13. Jamie McMurray
  14. Austin Dillon
  15. Tony Stewart
  16. Chris Buescher

 

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