Kevin Harvick, who was winless so far in 2019, held off a hard-charging Denny Hamlin to win at New Hampshire on July 21. Hamlin was able to get to Harvick’s bumper on the last lap, but Harvick stayed at the bottom of the track in Turns 3 and 4 as Hamlin tried the high-side. When Hamlin pulled alongside, Harvick got into Hamlin and slowed his momentum. Harvick crossed the finish line just .210 seconds ahead of Hamlin.
“I didn’t think we had the best chance to win today, but Rodney (Childers) made a great call,” said Harvick, referring to Childers call for him to remain on track with older tires on Lap 266. “We had a good car. We just never could get track position. We stayed out there and ran a lot of good laps.”
After the race, Hamlin second guessed his run at the end.
“I kind of shoved him up a little higher and tried to get him out of the groove,” said Hamlin, who was in a backup car after crashing in practice. “I mean, yeah, I wanted to just tap him there, but I didn’t want to completely screw him. I at least wanted to give him a fair shot. Down the backstretch, I kind of let off, and I’m like, ‘All right, well, I’ll just pass him on the outside and do this thing the right way,’ and once I had that big run, he just turned right. But I would do the same thing. It was a fun race and congratulations to him and his team. They made a great call there at the end.”
Erik Jones overcame issues on pit road and finished third, followed by Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBennedetto.
The win secured Harvick’s place in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. In addition to Harvick, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman have secured playoff spots. With just six races remaining before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begin, these drivers are currently in based on points – Aric Almirola, Blaney, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Jones, Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to action this weekend at Pocono.
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