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A moment in time: How Kevin Harvick won on the final restart

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LOUDON, N.H. — In a moment, it was all gone for Matt Kenseth.

All the effort over 295 miles and more than 2 hours and 45 minutes of racing was gone — as was the victory — when Kevin Harvick passed Kenseth for the lead on a restart with six laps to go.

“They gave me a shot to win,’’ Kenseth said of his team, “and I didn’t hang on for it.’’

The final moment, though, actually began a few laps earlier.

On the restart at Lap 290, Kenseth pulled away from Martin Truex Jr., who was second at the time, and seemed headed for the win until a caution for a multi-car incident.

As the cars circled New Hampshire Motor Speedway behind the pace car, Kenseth’s team told him that there had been complaints about the last restart. He asked who complained. His team told him NASCAR, although officials ruled the restart was legal.

“They made it sound like I slowed down the last time,’’ Kenseth said after finishing second to Kevin Harvick.

“But in my opinion the leader is always supposed to have the advantage. He’s the leader; he earned that advantage. They said I slowed down a little bit last time, which I’ve got to re-watch it. I don’t really think I did, but if I did at all, it’s because the inside car was laying back a little bit, and you want to make sure he gets up to your nose so it’s a fair restart. If he’s back at your door and anticipates a little bit, it’s not a fair restart. He’s going to be equal to you or a little bit better.’’

So as Kenseth, on the outside, and Harvick, on the inside, headed toward the restart on the following restart, Kenseth made a mistake.

“I saw Kevin at my door, and I should have known better,’’ Kenseth said. “ I should have went deep in the (restart) box and waited, and the acceleration was probably better down there anyway, but I didn’t. I went right at the first line, and he anticipated a little bit of that and got rolling good through the gears and then I got through the gears bad. I spun the tires in second, I spun the tires in third, so I had a really bad restart besides all that.’’

Harvick detailed his thoughts to NBC Sports on that final restart:

“It’s definitely a challenge just to get it right. It’s so easy to mess it up. I had gone into that restart really focused on trying not to spin the tires because I felt I was in a vulnerable position on the bottom and didn’t really want to get myself three-wide or spin the tires and wind up losing two or three spots.

“I just wanted to fire off and have a chance when I got to Turn 1 and wound up getting lucky really that Matt had what he said happened with him getting through the gears. As we got into Turns 1 and 2, I was able to let off the brake and go back to the throttle and get back beside him coming off of Turn 2 and that was the key. My goal was to protect what I had because we needed a solid day, and it wound up putting us in a position by just getting off the restart well.’’

Truex, who finished seventh, said he wasn’t surprised that Harvick won because the No. 4 team is strong but felt like how he and Kenseth raced each other late helped Harvick.

“I wish Matt didn’t let him win,’’ said Truex, who led 141 of the 300 laps. “He raced me that hard and held me behind him all that time. If I just could have got by him, I don’t think anybody could have touched us. I felt like with him being able to hold us off, I thought he was going to be OK. But I think he was in the same position as me. I think he ran really hard trying to keep me behind him.

“We both burned our tires off. Man, we were going as hard as we could go every single lap, and I think Harvick was back there in clean air. He wasn’t as fast as we were, so he was just running smooth, consistent laps, and he ended up having better tires than us at the end.’’

Harvick said it wasn’t that easy.

“I would probably disagree with that a little bit because I had my own challenges,’’ Harvick said of racing Chase Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and others.

“They would race on the restarts (Kenseth and Truex) and they would slide around and definitely were using their tires up, but on the restarts I was having to do the same thing. I think it was just really about track position for us, to be able to get closer to the front and fire off with those guys and not have to battle somebody else and then be so far behind.’’

Bristol Truck race results, driver points

Bristol Truck race results
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Sam Mayer scored his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win Thursday night. The 17-year-old finished ahead of GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt.

Mayer is the youngest driver to win a Truck race at Bristol.

Tanner Gray placed third and was followed by Parker Kligerman and Chandler Smith.

Gray’s finished tied a career high. Kligerman’s finish was his best this season.

Trevor Bayne crossed the finish line fifth but his truck was disqualified for failing post-race heights in inspection.

The next race in the playoffs is Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Click here for race results

POINTS

Brett Moffitt leads the points after the opening race in the first round of the playoffs. He leads Sheldon Creed by nine points. Zane Smith trails Moffitt by 12 points.

Click here for points report

17-year-old Sam Mayer wins first NASCAR Truck race

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Sam Mayer passed GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt with 30 laps to go and went on to score his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The victory came in the seventh career Truck start for the 17-year-old Mayer. The win also came a few days after JR Motorsports announced that Mayer would drive for the team in the second half of the 2021 Xfinity Series, once he turns 18.

“I love this place,” Mayer told FS1 after the 200-lap race. “I don’t know what to say.”

Mayer was helped by having tires that were 52 laps fresher than Moffitt’s tires.

MORE: Race results 

Mayer is not competing in the playoffs and does not advance to the second round. He said he has two more Truck races left to run this season.

Mayer followed his Truck win by taking the checkered flag in the ARCA Menards Series race that followed Thursday night.

Moffitt, who is competing in the playoffs, finished second. He was followed by Tanner Gray and Parker Kligerman.

Trevor Bayne finished fifth but his Truck was disqualified after the race for failing inspection. His truck failed post-race heights. Chandler Smith finished fifth after Bayne’s disqualification.

Moffitt was one of only four playoff drivers to finish in the top 10. Grant Enfinger was sixth. Tyler Ankrum placed seventh. Matt Crafton was 10th.

Mayer is the second youngest winner in series history. Cole Custer is the youngest winner in series history. Custer was 16 years, 7 months, 28 days when he won in Sept. 2014 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Mayer becomes the youngest Truck winner at Bristol at 17 years, 2 months, 22 days. Ryan Blaney had held that record, winning a 2015 race there at age 21 years, 4 months, 19 days.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Brett Moffitt

STAGE 2 WINNER: Tyler Ankrum

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Tanner Gray’s third-place finish tied his career best. He finished third at Michigan earlier this season. … Parker Kligerman’s fourth-place finish is his best of the season while running a limited schedule.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Austin Hill finished 26th, worst among the playoff drivers. He had contact on Lap 2 with Stewart Friesen.

NOTABLE: Trevor Bayne said that four weeks ago he didn’t know if he would be racing again at Bristol. He crossed the finish line fifth but his truck failed inspection after the race and was disqualified.

NEXT: The second race of the opening round of the playoffs is at 9 p.m. ET Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Texas Motor Speedway to host polling site for election

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Residents and race fans in parts of North Texas will be able to cast their vote in the upcoming election at their local NASCAR track.

Texas Motor Speedway will be a polling site for the Nov. 3 election.

The track, owned by Speedway Motorsports, will serve as a polling site for the residents of Precinct 4048. That precinct includes a large portion of Denton County and Forth Worth, Texas.

The polling site will be in the Lone Star Tower Condominium Clubhouse just outside Turn 2. It will be open from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET on election day.

More: Upcoming Cup playoffs races can fans attend

“In anticipation of a very high voter turnout for the presidential election, we have been working for months to acquire polling sites throughout the county,” Frank Phillips, Denton County Elections Administrator, said in a press release. “We are excited that Texas Motor Speedway has offered the use of the Lone Star Tower Clubhouse as a polling site.”

Local, state and CDC guidelines will be followed to ensure a sanitized, safe and socially distanced voter experience.

TMS is the first track that hosts NASCAR Cup races to announce its plans for use as a polling site. It joins sporting venues for other major sports in doing so.

A number of NBA arenas and practice facilities will be voting locations, as well as select NFL stadiums and NHL arenas.

Travis Pastrana, Conor Daly set for Las Vegas Truck Series race

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Action sports star Travis Pastrana and IndyCar driver Conor Daly are teaming up with Niece Motorsports to compete in the upcoming Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

With the backing of iRacing, who made the announcement Thursday, the duo will drive the No. 42 and No. 45 Chevrolets in the Sept. 25 race.

Pastrana and Daly’s involvement is a continuation of their rivalry in the LCQ League, a private iRacing league featuring motorsports and action sports legends having fun in cars from all disciplines.

For Pastrana, a former Roush Fenway Racing driver, it will be his fifth career Truck start and his second of the year after he competed in the July 25 race at Kansas Speedway. He finished 22nd.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing our rivalry from the LCQ League to the real world,” Pastrana said in a press release. “We’ve been getting lots of advice and iRacing on-track coaching from fellow LCQ member Parker Kligerman. I’m looking forward to seeing how the hours in iRacing pay off on the track, especially for Conor who has never driven a NASCAR truck in real life. He might be the first person in history to jump into a professional racing series and take the green flag without so much as a single practice lap in real life! Conor is a phenomenal IndyCar driver and a quick learner so I think he will surprise a lot of people.”

It will be the first Truck Series start for Daly, who has 61 IndyCar starts since 2013. Daly made his NASCAR debut in 2018 at Road America driving for Roush in the Xfinity Series.

“I could not be more excited to jump in a Gander Outdoor Series truck for the first time ever in Las Vegas!” Daly said in a press release “This will be one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever faced in my career as it will be the first event I’ve ever done where I’ve never driven a single lap in the Chevy Silverado before taking the green flag for the race. Travis and I have been going head to head on iRacing getting as much practice as possible since that’s the best possible form of preparation we have!