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Kevin Harvick Pushes His Way to Victory Lane at Loudon

Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sunday, July 22, 2018

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Kevin Harvick wins at New Hampshire
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

On two straight laps late in Sunday's Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kevin Harvick nudged the No. 18 Toyota of race leader Kyle Busch with his front bumper.

Busch retained the lead. But Harvick took more aggressive action on Lap 295 of 301, tagging Busch's car in the center of Turns 1 and 2. Busch slid up the track as Harvick powered the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford into the top spot.

Six laps later, Harvick took a checkered flag for a series-best sixth time this season. He won for the third time at the Magic Mile and the 43rd time in his career, 18th on the career list and one victory behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott.

Harvick had no regrets about seizing the opportunity to take the win.

"I didn't know if I was going to get there at the end, and I felt like that was best opportunity—do what I had to do to win," said Harvick, who pulled away to win by 1.877 seconds. "I didn't want to wreck him, but I didn't want to waste a lot of time behind him.

"I knew I was running out of laps, and I didn't know if I was going to get to him again. I felt like I needed to get him up out of the groove, so I got him up out of the groove."

Thanks to a blistering stop by his pit crew, Busch grabbed the lead for a restart on Lap 263, after Clint Bowyer pounded the outside wall to bring out the seventh and final caution of the race. Controlling the restart, Busch pulled away to a lead of more than one second before Harvick began to track him down.

Busch acknowledged that he didn't have the best car, particularly on the long runs.

"(Crew chief) Adam (Stevens) made some really good calls, some really good adjustments to keep trying to improve on it. Pit road was flawless, they gave us all those spots on pit road to get us out front and put us in that position and have a shot at the win.

"We controlled the restart, drove away by a little bit, but we weren't the best car on the long run. The SHR cars were all really good today. They were fast. It was going to be hard to hold them off."

Kevin Harvick (4) passes Kyle Busch (18) after putting the bumper to him with five laps to go
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

About the contact on Lap 295, Busch was philosophical.

"I was kind of backing up—three, four, five corners in a row—and he had the faster car," Busch said. "Harvick was using me up for about six corners in a row. I'm not sure he had to do it, but he did. It's fine. How you race is how you get raced, so it's fine."

Aric Almirola, Harvick's Stewart-Haas teammate, finished third after leading 42 laps. Almirola's undoing was a pit stop under caution on Lap 258, when trouble with the left front tire dropped the No. 10 Ford from first to third for the Lap 263 restart.

Almirola then spun his tires on the restart and dropped to sixth before fighting his way back to third.

Martin Truex Jr. ran fourth after winning Stage 1, and Chase Elliott secured the fifth position after taking the green/checkered flag at the end of Stage 2. Ryan Newman, Ryan Blaney, pole winner Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson completed the top 10.

Kyle Busch retained the series lead by 53 points over Harvick, but Harvick ran his Playoff point total to a series best 32 to Busch's 30.

RACE RESULTS

Finish Start # Driver Sponsor/Make Laps Led Points Status
1 14 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Beer Ford 301 12 51 Running
2 3 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota 301 36 45 Running
3 13 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 301 42 41 Running
4 2 78 Martin Truex Jr. 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota 301 83 51 Running
5 10 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 301 23 51 Running
6 18 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet 301 0 31 Running
7 5 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Sylvania Ford 301 0 38 Running
8 1 41 Kurt Busch Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford 301 94 45 Running
9 19 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 301 0 31 Running
10 21 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 301 0 38 Running
11 8 88 Alex Bowman Nationwide Chevrolet 301 0 26 Running
12 20 42 Kyle Larson Credit One Bank Chevrolet 301 0 25 Running
13 4 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota 301 0 24 Running
14 11 24 William Byron AXALTA Chevrolet 301 0 23 Running
15 31 6 Matt Kenseth Constantine Sealing Service Ford 301 0 22 Running
16 7 20 Erik Jones DeWalt Toyota 301 0 21 Running
17 12 21 Paul Menard Motorcraft Ford 301 0 20 Running
18 22 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's Chevrolet 301 0 19 Running
19 26 95 Kasey Kahne Thorne Wellness Chevrolet 301 0 18 Running
20 24 37 Chris Buescher Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 300 0 17 Running
21 17 3 Austin Dillon Dow Chevrolet 300 0 16 Running
22 9 19 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Toyota 300 0 15 Running
23 25 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 300 0 14 Running
24 27 43 Bubba Wallace Medallion Bank/Petty's Garage Chevrolet 299 0 13 Running
25 32 15 Ross Chastain Chevrolet 298 0 0 Running
26 29 34 Michael McDowell Starkey Hearing Foundation Ford 298 0 11 Running
27 33 72 Corey LaJoie Monarch Chevrolet 298 0 10 Running
28 28 32 Matt DiBenedetto Weirs Motor Sales Inc. Ford 298 0 9 Running
29 30 38 David Ragan Performance Plus Ford 298 0 8 Running
30 23 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 296 11 7 Running
31 35 99 Kyle Weatherman StarCom Fiber Chevrolet 294 0 6 Running
32 6 2 Brad Keselowski Autotrader Ford 293 0 5 Running
33 37 23 Blake Jones Tennessee Shine Co. Toyota 289 0 4 Running
34 36 51 BJ McLeod Jacob Companies Chevrolet 267 0 0 Running
35 15 14 Clint Bowyer Haas 30 Years of the VF1 Ford 255 0 9 Accident
36 16 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 19 0 1 Accident
37 34 0 Landon Cassill StarCom Fiber Chevrolet 13 0 1 Accident



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