Monday, 21 October 2019

Harvick defeats Hamlin in late NASCAR thriller at New Hampshire –

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick survived a final lap battle at New Hampshire with Denny Hamlin to clinch his first victory of the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Hamlin was leading throughout a large portion of the final stage before Kyle Larson hit the wall at Turn 1 and triggered a caution with 37 of the 301 laps to go.

Harvick was running in the top five and opted to stay out in order to take the lead at the restart.

Hamlin restarted in fourth and swiftly cleared both team-mates Martin Truex Jr and Erik Jones – who also stayed out – to set up a showdown with Harvick.

The gap between the two had stabalised at half a second, but with Harvick compromised by traffic on the penultimate lap, Hamlin closed to within inches of the SHR Ford entering the last tour.

Hamlin tagged Harvick’s bumper entering Turn 1 but the SHR driver managed to stay ahead.

Entering the final turns, Harvick took a defensive line and despite closing to Harvick’s outside quarter-panel at the last corner, Hamlin was unable to squeeze through.

Harvick’s first win of 2019 arrives at the same venue at which he clinched his sixth victory last season. It is also the first win of the year for SHR.

Starting at the back of the field in a backup car – and the same JGR Toyota which propelled Truex Jr to victory at Richmond earlier in the season – Hamlin rose to ninth by the end of stage one.

Both Hamlin and Harvick were among a number of front runners to sacrifice stage points at the end of the second stage, pitting at a late caution in order to gain track position towards the end of the race.

Erik Jones clinched a second consecutive third place. He endured an eventful second stage, trading paint with Hamlin at the two battled early on before Jones collided with Alex Bowman’s Chevrolet in the pitlane.

Jones slipped to 28th as a result, and while recovering he tagged the Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Ricky Stenhouse Jr, causing a tyre rub which would send the #17 car into the wall.

Jones surged back through the pack in stage three and opted to run the same strategy as Harvick at the final caution, narrowly avoiding crossing the commitment line for the pitlane after a late call to stay out.

A late charge from Leavine Family Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto propelled him to his second top five finish of the year, behind the top Penske car of Ryan Blaney.

Martin Truex Jr took sixth ahead of Ryan Newman. The latter ended up seventh despite starting in a backup car at the tail of the field and losing a cylinder halfway through the final stage.

His Roush Fenway crew managed to change the faulty coil wire through three consecutive pitstops under caution to stay on the lead lap.

Kyle Busch made sure all four Joe Gibbs Racing cars reached the top eight.

He claimed victory in stage one but contact with Larson late in stage two triggered an additional pitstop compromised his strategy.

Later hitting the Turn 1 wall, Busch drove through tow misalignment to eighth.

Points’ leader Joey Logano and his Penske team-mate rounded out the top 10, while stage two winner Aric Almirola took 11th in his 300th NASCAR start.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 301 3h03m37.s
2 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 301 0.210s
3 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 301 3.987s
4 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 301 5.447s
5 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 301 5.939s
6 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 301 6.406s
7 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 301 8.504s
8 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 301 8.997s
9 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 301 10.944s
10 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 301 11.566s
11 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 301 12.898s
12 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 301 13.280s
13 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 301 14.095s
14 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 301 14.992s
15 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 301 16.475s
16 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 301 17.023s
17 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 301 19.588s
18 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 301 21.920s
19 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 300 1 Lap
20 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 300 1 Lap
21 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 300 1 Lap
22 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 300 1 Lap
23 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 299 2 Laps
24 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 299 2 Laps
25 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 299 2 Laps
26 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 298 3 Laps
27 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 294 7 Laps
28 Andy Seuss Petty Ware Racing Ford 291 10 Laps
29 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 290 11 Laps
30 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 288 13 Laps
31 Quin Houff Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 287 14 Laps
32 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 268 33 Laps
33 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 264 Accident
34 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 261 40 Laps
35 Austin Theriault Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 185 Rear Gear
36 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 135 Accident
37 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 110 Accident



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