Kevin Harvick uses bump-and-run on Kyle Busch to win at New Hampshire


Kevin Harvick gave a shot to Kyle Busch‘s rear bumper in Turn 1 with seven laps to go, sending him up the track and allowing Harvick to take the lead and drive off to win Sunday’s Cup race at new Hampshire Motor Speedway.

It is Harvick’s series leading sixth win of the season and his third career win at the 1.058-mile track. The six wins is also a career-best for Harvick.

A few laps before Harvick’s winning move, his crew chief Rodney Childers told him to “do what you got to do to win.”

In the laps leading up to the pass, Harvick had tapped Busch’s left rear bumper twice exiting Turn 2 and then once in Turn 3.

“I just didn’t know if I was going to get there again,” Harvick told NBCSN. “It felt like that was my best opportunity to do what I had to do to win. I didn’t want to wreck him and I didn’t want to waste a bunch of time behind him.”

Harvick was asked if he ever worried about those type of moves coming back to haunt him.

“You do and you worry about that stuff later. “It’s not like I wrecked him. It’s the same thing as Chicago,” Harvick said, referring to the dramatic last lap at between Busch and Kyle Larson that resulted in a win for Busch.

Busch had kept the lead on the previous restart after beating Harvick and Almirola off pit road during a caution that came out on Lap 45. The race restarted with 39 laps to go.

“It’s racing,” Busch told NBCSN. “It was going to be hard to hold him off and I was just kind of backing up, three, four, five corners in a row. With a faster car I’m not sure he had to do it, but he did. It’s fine. How you race is how you get raced.”

It is the fourth time Harvick and Busch have finished 1-2 this season. Harvick was the winner three times.

The top five was completed by Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr. earned his sixth stage win of the season.

STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Elliott scored his first stage win of the year

MORE: Race results

MORE: Point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Aric Almirola earned his first top five of the season and led 42 laps before losing the lead on the final pit stop … Chase Elliott earned his first top 10 at New Hampshire in five starts … Ryan Newman placed sixth for his best result of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Landon Cassill was the first driver eliminated following a one-car wreck on Lap 15 … AJ Allmendinger wrecked out on the ensuing restart … Brad Keselowski finished 32nd after losing his brakes around Lap 215 … Clint Bowyer ran in the top 10 all day until he hit the Turn 3 wall with 45 laps to go. He placed 35th.

NOTABLE: The race started 3 hours and 24 minutes late due to a rain delay … The “Big 3” of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. have won 15 of the 20 races this season (75 percent) … Last driver with at least six wins through 20 races was Busch in 2008 (seven through 20 races).

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s one of those deals and we want to win.  Points are everything and getting a W is what it’s all about.” – Kevin Harvick

WHAT’S NEXT: Gander Outdoors 400 at Pocono Raceway at 2:30 p.m. ET on July 29 on NBCSN.

Alex Bowman confident as he returns to racing from back injury


CONCORD, N.C. — Alex Bowman watched the rain-filled skies over Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday with more than a touch of disappointment.

As weather threatened to cancel Saturday night’s scheduled NASCAR Cup Series practice at the speedway, Bowman saw his chances to testing his car — and his body — dissolving in the raindrops. NASCAR ultimately cancelled practice and qualifying because of rain.

MORE: Wet weather cancels Charlotte Cup practice, qualifying

Bowman suffered a fractured vertebra in a sprint car accident last month and has missed three Cup races while he recovers. Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, the season’s longest race, is scheduled to mark his return to the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet.

“It would have been really nice to kickstart that with practice today,” Bowman said. “I haven’t raced or competitively driven a race car in a month. I’m trying to understand where my rusty areas are going to be and where I’m still good.”

Bowman ran 200 laps in a test season at North Wilkesboro Speedway this week, but, of course, that doesn’t compare with the faster speeds and tougher G-forces he’ll experience over 400 laps Sunday at CMS.

Bowman admitted that he is still experiencing pain from the back injury — his car flipped several times — and that he expects some pain during the race. But he said he is confident he’ll be OK and that the longer race distance won’t be an issue.

“I broke my back a month ago, and there’s definitely things that come along with that for a long time,” he said. “I have some discomfort here and there and there are things I do that don’t feel good. That’s just part of it. It’s stuff I’ll have to deal with. But, for the most part, I’m back to normal.

“I’m easing back into being in the gym. I’m trying to be smart with things. If I twist the wrong way, sometimes it hurts. In the race car at the end of a six-hour race, I’m probably not going to be the best.”

The sprint car crash interrupted what had been a fine seasonal start for Bowman. Although winless, he had three top fives and six top 10s in the first 10 races.

“I’m excited to be back,” Bowman said. “Hopefully, we can pick up where we left off and be strong right out of the gate.”

He said he hopes to return to short-track racing but not in the near future.

“Someday I want to get back in a sprint car or midget,” he said. “I felt like we were just getting rolling in a sprint car. That night we were pretty fast. Definitely a bummer there. That’s something I really want to conquer and be competitive at in the World of Outlaws or High Limits races. Somebody I’ll get back to that. It’s probably smart if I give my day job a little alone time for a bit.”




Charlotte NASCAR Cup Series starting lineup: Rain cancels qualifying


CONCORD, N.C. — William Byron and Kevin Harvick will start Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the front row after wet weather cancelled Saturday night qualifying.

Rain pelted the CMS area much of the day Saturday, and NASCAR announced at 3:45 p.m. that Cup practice and qualifying, scheduled for Saturday night, had been cancelled.

MORE: Alex Bowman confident as he returns to cockpit

The starting field was set by the NASCAR rulebook.

Following Byron and Harvick in the starting top 10 will be Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The elimination of the practice session was particularly problematic for Alex Bowman, scheduled to return to racing Sunday after missing three weeks with a back injury, and Jimmie Johnson, who will be starting only his third race this year. Johnson will start 37th — last in the field.

Charlotte Cup starting lineup

Wet weather cancels Charlotte Cup Series practice, qualifying


CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR Cup Series drivers will start the longest race of the season with no practice or qualifying.

Wet weather and predictions of more to come led NASCAR to cancel Saturday night’s Cup Series practice and qualifying in mid-afternoon. The field for Sunday’s 600-mile race was set by the NASCAR rulebook, placing William Byron and Kevin Harvick on the front row for the  scheduled 6 p.m. start.

MORE: Charlotte Cup starting lineup

MORE: Alex Bowman confident as he returns to cockpit

Weather also could be an issue Sunday as more rain is predicted for the speedway area.

Drivers were scheduled to practice at 7 p.m. Saturday. That session was to be followed by qualifying at 7:45 p.m. The cancellations were announced at 3:45 p.m.

The time-trial cancellation marked the first time in 64 years that qualifying has been canceled for the 600.

Charlotte Xfinity race postponed to Monday by weather


CONCORD, N.C. — Persistent rain forced the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled 300-mile NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway to Monday.

The race is scheduled to start at noon ET. It will be televised by FS1 and broadcast by the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Driver introductions and other pre-race activities were held at the track Saturday, but rain that had dampened the track in the morning hours returned. After several attempts at drying the track, the race was postponed after heavier rain returned in mid-afternoon.

Justin Allgaier will start the race from the pole position.