Dale Jr. Download: New Hampshire was marked by good, aggressive driving

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The Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire International Speedway went to one of the Big 3 for the 15th time this season. Kevin Harvick came on strong at the end of the race, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. reminds the fans that was not clear from the beginning of the race in Thursday’s Dale Jr. Download.

“We had battles all day long,” Earnhardt said. “Didn’t have a clear, dominant car.

“Got to see some aggressive driving at the end. … Any Chance we can get some guys out there swapping a little paint, without really putting each other in the fence.”

Earnhardt showcased the battle between Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. at the end of the Stage 1 along with others who gave the Big 3 a strong challenge in the middle stages of the Foxwoods 301.

Ultimately, it was the battle at the end between Harvick and Kyle Busch and their contact that took center stage. He thinks NASCAR needs more of that.

“We got to see guys pushing a shoving a little bit,” Earnhardt continued. “That is definitely what the sport needs. It’s always been a part of the sport. It’s always been exciting to the fans when guys get in there and put a couple of donuts on the car.”

And all of that happened because NASCAR managed to get the track dry on Sunday.

“We saw a hell of a race,” Earnhardt said. “And who knows? If we’d got rain delayed – you go to a Monday – everybody’s attitudes and feeling about the race? The energy’s not there. I don’t know if we see the same kind of event. Monday races have a little bit of a dull feeling about them.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

NASCAR America Scan All: Pit road problems, bump-and-run combine for Harvick’s win

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“Just get me a good pit stop,” Aric Almirola asked his crew coming down pit road late in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire International Speedway.

“10-4. You got it,” his crew chief John Klausmeier replied in this week’s edition of NASCAR America’s Scan All.

He didn’t get the pit stop he wanted and restarting the race may have been what cost Almirola his first win of 2018 as he was beaten off pit road by two of the most powerful racers in the field: Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.

Other highlights included:

  • “All is good. Good changes. We’re back to where we started on track bar.” – Kurt Busch
  • “The water out from underneath the walls on the straightaway getting into the corners is not very nice.” – Kyle Busch
  • “That’s why I’ve been staying away from the wall.” – Kevin Harvick
  • “You’ve got to be like 100 percent every inch of the race track to not slip.” – Kyle Busch
  • “We need a better line of communication.”—Ryan Blaney
  • “I don’t know why he stopped, but if I’d of let you go, you would have hit him right in the door.” – Jeremy Bullins, Blaney’s crew chief
  • “Can we work on it, or are we done?” – Clint Bowyer
  • “Eight to go. Do what you got to do to win.” – Rodney Childers, Harvick’s crew chief
  • “Rubbin’ is racin’ bud. Go get him.” – Adam Stevens, Kyle Busch’s crew chief
  • “P8. Sorry everybody for completely pissing away a chance to win that one. Unexcusable to have something like that happen under green” – Billy Scott, Kurt Busch’s crew chief
  • “We live as a team, we die as a team.” – Kurt Busch

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

What drivers said after New Hampshire

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Kevin Harvick — Winner: “I just didn’t know if I was gonna get there at the end and I felt like that was my best opportunity to do what I had to do to win. I didn’t want to wreck him, but I didn’t want to waste a bunch of time behind him. I just got to thank everybody on this No. 4.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 2nd: “You know, it’s racing. We had a really, really poor performance today. Our Interstate Batteries Camry just wasn’t there – it wasn’t there all weekend. We kept fighting the same things all weekend long and we never make any gains on it all through practice and we kind of struggled with it through the race and Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some really, really good calls – some really good adjustments to just try to keep improving on it. My pit crew was flawless. They gained us all those spots on pit road to get us out front to get us in that position – to have a shot to go after the win – and, you know, we controlled the restart and drove away by a little bit, but we weren’t the best car on the long run. All them SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing) cars were really, really good today. They were all fast, so it was going to be hard to hold them off and I was just kind of backing up and, you know, three, four, five corners in a row and with a faster car, I’m not sure he (Kevin Harvick) had to do it, but he did. It’s fine. How you race is how you get raced, so it’s fine.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 3rd: “You’d think I’d be more excited to run top five – and I’m not. We had the best car, hands down. There’s no doubt in my mind. And we gave it away on pit road and then I gave it away again on the restart – spun the tires. Didn’t even give myself a fighting chance.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 4th: “We were fast early. Just VHT wore off and I was no good anymore. A couple guys – specifically the SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing) cars – man, they got rolling there about midway through the race and we just pretty much crapped, so couldn’t ever fix it and we had one set of tires that was funny and on that one run there it was wheel hoping real bad, I just – I couldn’t hang onto it, so we lost some spots there, but pit crew kept us in the game. We had a good stop there at the end that gave us a shot. We just didn’t have the speed there after a few laps. We tried hard, but we just can’t quite figure out the second half of this thing, but when we do we’re going to be in good shape.

Chase Elliott — Finished 5th: “I was shocked, to be honest with you, that we ran even that good. Our whole NAPA group did a great job overnight. I really have no idea where that came from. I hope it wasn’t dumb luck. Hopefully we can keep it rolling because it’s really nice to be able to go up there and lead some laps. I know it wasn’t the right part of the race, but still, leading laps for us is big compared to what we’ve been doing. I’m proud of the effort. I appreciate everybody’s effort back at Hendrick and the chassis shop and engine shop and Chevrolet and all the folks that are working hard to try to get better. We took a step in the right direction.”

Ryan Newman — Finished 6th: “Yeah, it was a good rebound from yesterday. The entire weekend they definitely stepped it up. It was a good run for our Chevy Accessories Chevy Camaro. The guys did a good job in the pits today, that was nice to see, we have been struggling a little bit there. Just proud of everybody. Not the end result that we want, but a huge improvement and that is something we want. We will keep digging.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 7th: “It was a challenging day for our Menards/Sylvania Ford Fusion team. We had good speed early, but needed to make sure adjustments to have a chance at the win. We had two things not go our way on pit road, but we fought back for a solid finish.”

Joey Logano — Finished 9th: “We struggled today. We had okay fire-off speed but overall, our Shell-Pennzoil Ford just fell off too early in the run. I fought loose most of the day with a car tucked in behind me on corner entry and at times it was too tight in the center. We got a couple of stage points and a top-10 finish, but we need to get faster now that we’re closing in on the playoffs.”

Jimmie Johnson — Finished 10th: “I think top 10 is where we need to be. Top five right now on sheer speed is something we are achieving and trying to get to. We scored some great points in the stages. … All-in-all we had a good day, always could be better, but a nice solid step forward.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 11th: “We really struggled. We were 10 out of 10 plowing tight, had the track bar maxed out all the way up, all the rear brake I could stand and doing everything I could to try to get the thing to turn, it just wasn’t going to turn. Hate it. I hate that we unloaded with so much speed and just kind of I guess didn’t go the right way or the track changed on us, but really proud of Greg (Ives, crew chief) and everybody for getting the car better there at the end. Had a good restart there and almost got a top 10. It could have been a lot worse.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 13th: “No doubt. Yeah, I mean, there’s several different approaches, several different things I tried to do inside the car to get the front to turn. Just would not turn. Does it for a couple laps in open track, but once I get in traffic it just plows through the front – touch the gas and it plows through. I can’t keep it one lane, so it’s a struggle with balance. I think our cars have speed, we just have to get our – do the best to get our setup on there that we can be aggressive with.”

William Byron — Finished 14th: “Yeah, I mean it was okay. I thought at the beginning of the race we kind of just got really loose in (to turns) which made it really hard for us to hold position. And then I felt like once we got that back out of it we just had that one weak run and once we got that back out of it we were pretty good again. Just kind of missed it that one run and hard to make up track position after that.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 21st: “The Dow Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was loose on entry to start the race, but a pit stop for four tires, fuel and adjustments definitely improved the car’s handling. We kept up with changing track conditions through adjustments in the pits throughout the race, and ended up with a pretty good handling Camaro ZL1. We were posting top-10 lap times during most of the race and running in eighth when we ended up with a loose wheel and had to make an unscheduled pit stop under green flag conditions. It cost us the lead lap. It’s a shame because we had a rocket ship but couldn’t do anything with it. I’m proud of the guys for building a really fast car. We are on the right track.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 23rd: “This GEICO Camaro ZL1 was incredibly fast today. It was one of the best pieces that we have brought to the racetrack all year. I hate that my restart violation at the start of Stage 2 put us behind. My crew chief made every strategy call that he could to keep us in the game and get laps back, but we never could get back ahead. I have no doubt that this was a top 10 car, and I’m disappointed that we couldn’t show everyone that. But, we’re still only halfway through the season with a lot of racing left. We can’t and won’t let ourselves get down. We will put one of these races together from start to finish here soon.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 32nd: “We had a disappointing day for sure. I don’t know if I used too much brake trying to keep up or what. We’ll go on to Pocono and try to get a win there next week.”

Clint Bowyer — Finished 35th: “It just sucks. First and foremost, I hate that for my teammate. It was his first win and he was dominating the race. I was trying to nurse it around. Something in the left-rear was broke and no more than Brett (Griffin, spotter) told me, ‘we’re having trouble, let’s just get off the track,’ and I was kind of thinking the same thing. Literally, as he was saying that and I’m thinking it, something broke on the right side and away it went. That sucks. I hate it for him.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 36th: “I think Ryan Newman got into the side of me pretty early at the start of the race. I was kind of nervous about it there was no smoke in the car though, so I thought we were okay. And then we went back green and, on the restart, it just felt like the car was moving around a lot and down the front straightaway I felt it go. I tried everything I could do to slow the car down to get it stopped, but there was nothing I could do. Usually when you hit here you hit big and just disappointed. We have had a rough few weeks. Obviously, Daytona was okay, but other than that is has been a rough few weeks.”

Points after Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire

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Kyle Busch entered the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a 59-point advantage over Kevin Harvick and 110 over Martin Truex Jr. Harvick managed to cut six points off Busch’s lead, but more importantly he now has 32 playoff points to Busch’s 27.

Truex remains in third and added one playoff point for winning Stage 1 of the race.

Joey Logano remains fourth in the standings.

Kurt Busch finished eighth in the race and climbed two spots in the standings. He is currently fifth.

Clint Bowyer held onto sixth despite finishing 35th.

Brad Keselowski‘s 32nd-place finish dropped him to seventh in the standings.

Chase Elliott scored his first stage win of the season by winning Stage 2. He finished second in Stage 1, which contributed to his gaining one spot over Erik Jones. He is now 13th in the standings, but remains two spots away from the cutoff line because of Jones’ Daytona win. Elliott is currently two points behind his teammate Jimmie Johnson.

Click here for the complete points report.

Results, stats for Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire

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Kevin Harvick executed the bump-and-run on Kyle Busch seven laps from the end of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to score his sixth win of the season.

Busch held on to finish second.

Aric Almirola scored his first top five of the season. He edged Martin Truex Jr. at the end of the race.

Truex finished fourth with Chase Elliott rounding out the top five.

Sixth-place Ryan Newman scored his first top 10 on an unrestricted speedway since Bristol this April.

Click here for complete results.