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
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.