Kevin Harvick can relate to what Kyle Busch and the rest of Joe Gibbs Racing crew is going through.
Try as hard as he can, Harvick — like Busch and the rest of JGR’s Cup corps — the 2014 NASCAR Cup champ still has yet to win a race in 2017. Harvick’s last Cup win came at Kansas during last season’s playoffs, his fourth and final win of 2016. He’s gone 19 races since without a return visit to victory lane.
“I think there at the end, we just couldn’t get in the corner like we needed to all day, I couldn’t stop like I needed to,” Harvick said. “He could charge the corner, so I needed for him to make a mistake … but never made a mistake, did a great job and wound up winning the race.”
Harvick wound up earning his third career runner-up finish at Pocono — but remains in search of his first win at the Tricky Triangle.
Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Kyle Busch. He puts last week’s disappointment behind him with another fast car and (this time) a clean day in the pits.
Denny Hamlin. He sweeps New Hampshire and Toyota continues its dominance at this track.
Kyle Larson. After charging through the field from the rear in July and finishing second, the No. 42 team finishes the job today.
Kevin Harvick. He hasn’t been heard from much recently, but this is the kind of track Harvick is at his best. He wins and moves on to the Round of 12.
LOUDON, New Hampshire – The middle race of the first round of the playoffs offers teams that had a bad start a chance to recover or fall further behind.
The pressure builds with the 16-team field cut to 12 after next weekend’s race at Dover.
Here are the details for today’s race:
(All times are Eastern):
START: Marc Del Vecchio, chief technology officer, ISM Connect, will give the command to start engines at 2:07 p.m. Green flag is set for 2:15 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 300 laps (317.4 miles) around the 1.058-mile speedway.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.
PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Cup garage opens at 8:30 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at noon. Driver introductions are at 1:30 p.m.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: Marine Corps Veteran, “The Singing Trooper,” Daniel M. Clark will perform the Anthem at 2:01 p.m., followed by a flyover from two F-15C Eagles from the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base.
TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race at 2 p.m. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. on NBCSN with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 1:30 p.m. The Performance Racing Network radio broadcast begins at 1 p.m. on goprn.com and affiliates. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.
FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 81 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at race time.
LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin led 54 of 301 laps to win the July race. Kyle Larson placed second. Martin Truex Jr. was third. Kevin Harvick led the final six laps to win this race last year. Matt Kenseth was second. Kyle Busch placed third.
STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup
Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer are tied for the top spot in the Xfinity playoff standings after the playoff opener at Kentucky Speedway.
Each driver has 2,057 points.
Allgaier finished third after bouncing back from losing a tire on Lap 19 and going two laps down. He was two laps down for 27 laps and one lap down for 30 before getting back on the lead lap.
Custer, who finished fifth, won the first two stages of the race, earning two playoff points in the process.
The top five in points are Allgaier, Custer, Elliott Sadler (-2), Daniel Hemric (-5) and William Byron (-6).
Click here for the points standings.
Tyler Reddick scored his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win, leading a 1-2 finish for Chip Ganassi Racing on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.
Reddick beat teammate Brennan Poole by 14.5 seconds in the playoff opener.
Reddick is the seventh different winner in the last seven series races. He led twice for 66 laps. Reddick had not led any laps until Saturday night.
Playoff contender Justin Allgaier rallied from two laps down after a right front tire went down early in the 200-lap race to finish third. Ryan Preece placed fourth. Rookie Cole Custer, who won both stages, finished fifth.
Click here for race results