Friday, 18 October, 2019

Sunday's NASCAR Cup race at New Hampshire moved up an hour

Kevin Harvick Sunday's NASCAR Cup race at New Hampshire moved up an hour
Shannon Reynolds | 27 July, 2018, 04:43

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have combined to win 11 of the 20 Cup Series races this season, and at New Hampshire they avoided the raindrops to finish first and second, respectively.

Following Harvick to the checkered flag were: Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Truex, Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson.

And as often happens when up against the Big 3, Almirola's team was just a tad slower, coming out third behind Kyle Busch and Harvick. They each had five wins entering Sunday's event, so it's hardly surprising they were out front at the end.

Harvick raced to his sixth victory of the season and went 1-2 in some order with Busch for the ninth time this year. But Harvick took more aggressive action on Lap 295 of 301, tagging Busch's auto in the center of Turns 1 and 2.

Pole sitter Kurt Busch was second. All of a sudden, he was outside the top five and had to rally to finish third. He remains third in both the driver and playoff points.

Here's another look at Harvick's move Sunday from his 4 car's point of view.

As close as Busch came to expressing total humility, he couldn't quite leave the Granite State without throwing a slight (verbal) jab at Harvick.

But even though the pair has won more than half of the races this season, Sunday was their most important race because it added some animosity to this championship battle.

"He did that because of Chicago". "I think that, you know, he had a fair game".

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"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 it was my best opportunity to do what I had to do to win", Harvick said.

"Your goal is to not wreck him", Harvick said after the race.

Busch said he expected for Harvick to keep trying for the decisive pass until there were about two or three laps left.

"You do (expect retaliation)", Harvick said, "And you worry about that stuff later".

That didn't faze the 2015 champ so Harvick bumped him again.

Busch also didn't get a good restart late in the race. But he led only 12 laps in his Loudon victory. And we didn't execute today again with another vehicle capable of winning, and we didn't get our Smithfield Ford Fusion in Victory Lane. I have been fighting to get back. That's one more than he won in his 2014 championship season - and we still have 16 races remaining this season.

Why does this matter?

A little harder. That worked and sent Busch out of the groove. But that's not to say that Busch will hit the track this weekend at Pocono Raceway and immediately go after Harvick.

Almirola might have had the best vehicle of the group and was in some intense one-on-one battles with reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott and Harvick while leading for 42 laps in the middle portion of the race.

Busch finished eighth in a auto that was capable of running with the best.

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