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NASCAR: Kevin Harvick clinches spot in 2nd round of Chase

Kevin Harvick celebrates in Victory Lane after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Kevin Harvick celebrates in Victory Lane after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Getty Images

Kevin Harvick took the lead late in the race, then held off Matt Kenseth to win the Bad Boy Off Road 300 NASCAR Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday.

The victory means Harvick will join Martin Truex Jr. – who won the first race of the Chase last week and finished seventh Sunday – when the second round of the Chase begins in two weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Harvick took the lead after a restart on Lap 295 of 300. He started alongside Kenseth, who had led for 105 laps, on the front row and quickly pulled away.

Kyle Busch, who closed in on the leaders late in the race, finished third, with Brad Keselowski fourth. Truex led a race-high 141 laps, but dropped several spots from second during a late restart.

Four drivers in positions 13-16 in points – Jamie McMurray, Austin Dillon, Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher – will go to next week’s race at Dover facing elimination from the Chase unless one of them can win or any of them can move into the top 12.

Turning point

Harvick was lined up inside leader Kenseth on the front row of the final restart of the race. When Kenseth spun his tires on the restart, Harvick took advantage and grabbed the lead, one he wouldn’t relinquish over the final six laps.

Chase update

How the NASCAR Chase drivers fared:

1. Brad Keselowski (2,087 points): Fifth-place finish moved him to top spot in standings and a secure points spot for advancing.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (1 behind)*: Had the best car for most of the race (led 141 laps), but late restarts failed him in seventh-place finish.

3. Kyle Busch (2 behind): Had the fastest car late in the race, but didn’t have enough time.

4. Matt Kenseth (9 behind): Said he spun his tires on final restart, essentially handing the race to Kevin Harvick.

5. Joey Logano (14 behind): Eleventh-place finish pretty good considering he was a lap down at one point.

6. Kevin Harvick (16 behind)*: Race winner has already checked his bags to Charlotte and second round of the Chase.

7. Denny Hamlin (16 behind): Uncontrolled tire during late pit stop hurt, he finished 15th.

8. Jimmie Johnson (17 behind): Was strong early in the race, finished eighth.

9. Chase Elliott (19 behind): Stayed out of trouble and finished 13th, good enough to make his chances of advancing seem pretty secure.

10. Carl Edwards (19 behind): Pole winner had a commitment line violation on late pit stop, but he rallied to a sixth-place finish.

11. Kurt Busch (20 behind): Sloppy pit stop cost team five places (from 11th to 16th), ended up fifth.

12. Kyle Larson (30 behind): Finished 10th, but he’s not far from the Chase drop zone.

13. Jamie McMurray (35 behind): Ran in top 10 for much of the race before bad luck in pit stop dropped him to 19th.

14. Austin Dillon (35 behind): Had to start 29th because of backup car, worked his way to 16th-place finish.

15. Tony Stewart (41 behind): Rough day for the three-time champion, finishing 23rd.

16. Chris Buescher (60 behind): His first Chase experience has been a noncompetitive one. Finished 30th, two laps down.

*Chase race winner

Observations

▪ The race got off to a fast start with no cautions until Lap 125. At crunch time, though, the yellow flag flew four times over the last 59 laps.

▪ Danica Patrick had a few moments in the sun, leading nine laps during the late stages. She wasn’t on the same pit rotation as the leaders and ultimately finished 18th.

▪ The top non-Chase driver was Kasey Kahne, who finished ninth after starting from the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments to his No. 5 Chevy. He was seventh last week at Chicagoland and now has four consecutive top-10 finishes – too little, too late.

▪ After last week’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway and Sunday’s Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire, the name of this week’s race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway – the Citizen Soldier 400 – seems pretty tame.

They said it

“I was content with where we were. But, once you get up there in the front like that, you’ve got to take a chance to try to win.” -- Kevin Harvick.

N@SCAR

Tweet from Saturday’s race:

Next race

Citizen Soldier 400

Where: Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

When: 2 p.m., Sunday.

TV: NBC Sports Network.

Radio: Motor Racing Network.

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