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Post-Race Reactions: Too Tough to Tame 200
Hornaday, Bodine, Crafton and Buescher comment on their top-five finishes at Darlington.
Harvick charges to New Hampshire win with late-race surge
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Updated Chase Grid SHOP: Harvick gear " Chase gear LOUDON, N.H. -- Remember last week, when Kevin Harvick was trapped a lap down at Chicagoland Speedway , finished 20th and fell out of the top 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings? Remember last year, when Harvick crashed at Chicagoland and ran out of fuel while leading at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and had to win at Dover to advance in the Chase? That's all moot, now that Harvick redeemed himself with a victory in Sunday's Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire, the second race in the Chase. Surging ahead of Matt Kenseth after a restart with six laps left in the 300-lap event at the 1.058-mile track, Harvick pulled away to win by .442 seconds and joined Chicagoland winner Martin Truex Jr . in the Chase's Round of 12. "One of our main goals this year was to not stress ourselves out so bad," said Harvick, who won last year's Dover race to escape the Round of 16 in his last opportunity. "I feel like the performance of the car and the things that we're doing are good enough to be competitive, and we just need to not make mistakes and go from there." Harvick got his opportunity to win the race when Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and Reed Sorenson collided on the backstretch on Lap 291 to bring out the sixth and final caution of the race. Starting on the inside lane and timing the restart perfectly, Harvick stayed side-by-side with Kenseth entering the first corner and cleared Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota through Turn 2. Kenseth was unable to get back to the rear bumper of Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet over the final six laps. "Man, that worked out really good," said Harvick, who won for the second time at the Magic Mile, the third time this season and the 34th time in his career. "The car was pretty good on the restarts. Once we got clean air there at the end, it wound up being really good up front. I'm just really proud of our team. They did a great job." NASCAR admonished Kenseth before the final restart not to slow down in the restart zone, as the sanctioning body believed he had done on the previous restart, when Kenseth held off Truex for the lead. "They made it sound like I slowed down the last time," Kenseth said. "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 (Truex) 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." Then Kenseth second-guessed the way he handled the final restart with Harvick beside him. "I saw Kevin at my door, and I should have known better," Kenseth said. "I should have went deep in the 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 (gear), I spun the tires in third, so I had a really bad restart besides all that." Kyle Busch finished third behind Harvick and Kenseth after pitting for fresh tires under caution on Lap 265 and charging through the field. Brad Keselowski ran fourth and took over the Chase points lead by one point over Truex, who led a race-high 141 laps in a seventh-place run but wore out his tires trying to pass Kenseth after a restart on Lap 269. Kurt Busch came home fifth, followed by polesitter Carl Edwards , Truex, Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson . Harvick escaped the bottom four in the standings, and that left Jamie McMurray , Austin Dillon , Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher all needing to improve their positions to avoid elimination next Sunday at Dover International Speedway . McMurray and Dillon (19th and 16th, respectively, at New Hampshire) are five points behind Larson in 12th place. Stewart is 11 points back of Larson after a 23rd-place run on Sunday, and Buescher trails by 30 points, needing a Dover miracle. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Edwards rallies to sixth-place finish at Loudon after penalty
RELATED: Results " Chase Grid " Standings WATCH: Edwards receives penalty LOUDON, N.H. – Coors Light Pole Award winner Carl Edwards hovered in and around the top five for nearly all of Sunday's Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway but nearly had his afternoon derailed due to a costly penalty with less than 40 laps remaining. During the fourth caution of the day, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver came to pit road and incurred a commitment line violation, sinking his running position all the way back to 19th on the ensuing restart on Lap 268. For a minute there, it certainly appeared Edwards would be fighting for Chase for the Sprint Cup survival next week at Dover International Speedway in the final race of the Round of 16. But Edwards rallied hard over the final 30-plus laps to salvage a sixth-place finish and now holds a 16-point cushion over the cutoff line. He'll need to avoid similar gaffes moving forward -- though he doesn't necessarily agree he even made a gaffe -- and realizes he may have gotten away with one here. "I gotta see the replay, but I was pretty sure I made it onto pit road. I felt pretty comfortable," Edwards said on pit road after the race. "I don't know about that (penalty), but we still recovered well. I think we could've been top three or four because we got off sequence, but as it turned out to finish sixth with that penalty is pretty much a gift. My guys didn't quit, I'm proud of them. "Now we head to Dover with a little bit of a point cushion, and Dover is one of my favorite race tracks, one of my best tracks and this team should have won this race in the spring so hopefully we can go there and lock ourselves into the next round. … Anything can happen, but there's no better race for us to be a cutoff race." Following the race, Edwards' crew chief Dave Rogers had a discussion with NASCAR officials to get clarity on the penalty. "Yeah, NASCAR showed me the notes, and the notes that they had were all four tires below the orange box and our right-rear (tire) touched it," Rogers told NASCAR.com. "So it's one of those deals where we knew it was close, and we didn't intentionally drive over the box, first of all. It was a last-minute call to pit. We thought the rule was all four on or below and it wasn't. The rule's all four under, so hence the penalty." Edwards' teammate Denny Hamlin also was victim to a pit road penalty on the same stop, as an errant tire got away from his No. 11 Toyota crew. Hamlin, however, was not as fortunate as Edwards and finished 15th. The 2016 Daytona 500 winner declined post-race interviews and sits seventh on the Chase Grid, still higher than Edwards despite the worse finish. "Unfortunately, we had a pit road penalty; two stops in the end that got us really far behind and just got kind of shuffled out of the mix on a couple restarts and finished about five to 10 spots worse than we should have, but still alive," said Hamlin's crew chief Mike Wheeler. "Hit the restart button and try again. Dover is a decent track for Denny. He hasn't had a win there yet, but has had some good runs and hopefully we can have another good run there."
Recap: Sadler takes Chase opener, advances to Round of 8
NASCAR.com's Costner Merrifield recaps the first race in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase at Kentucky Speedway, where the 1.5-mile oval tested the series best and allowed one Chase driver to advance to the Round of 8.
Loudon top 5 leaves No. 2 team feeling better headed to Dover
Brad Keselowski's No. 2 team finished fourth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, allowing Keselowski to 'sleep easy' headed into the Round of 16 elimination race at Dover International Speedway.
Runner-up Bell: 'Just got to keep digging'
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Truck Chase Grid LOUDON, N.H. – Christopher Bell had what he described as a "good … no, great" truck after his second-place finish in Saturday's UNOH 175 Camping World Truck Chase opener at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . If Bell's No. 4 Toyota Tundra was "good … no, great," his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate William Byron's race-winning No. 9 entry was great … no, incredible. "All day long, we couldn't run with him and we had 175 (laps) to get it done and we didn't," Byron told NASCAR.com on pit road after the race. "I think he was fading there at the end and lapped traffic was not doing him any favors, so open race track (I probably couldn't have caught him), but the way it was, I maybe had a shot at it." The dominant showing in which KBM trucks led every single lap -- 161 for Byron, 11 for Bell and three for Cody Coughlin 's No. 51, which ran out of gas late – may very well clue us into half the battle contestants we'll be looking at in less than two months at Homestead-Miami Speedway when four drivers compete for the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase crown. Based on what we saw Saturday, you'd be hard-pressed to find a reason to not include the streaking Byron and Bell tag-team among the quartet. Byron no longer has to sweat the Chase wild card that looms at Talladega next month in the Round of 8 as he's clinched his berth to the next series of races, while Bell's next-best result puts him in good position to move on should a rare – for him – hiccup occur. In the following Round of 6, it could be the No. 4 driver's time to land in Victory Lane for the second time this season. Bell picked up his second career Camping World Truck Series victory earlier this season at Gateway Motorsports Park and showed his strength at the "Magic Mile," two tracks similar in length and build to the penultimate race at Phoenix International Raceway . "(The similarities between here and Gateway) kind of, maybe (helped)," Bell said. "Gateway was not a race track that I had circled on my schedule that I thought I would have a possible win at, so to come here and be as good as we were, I think it's just a testimony to my crew chief, Jerry (Baxter). He does an awesome job, especially at these flat tracks where he has it all figured out." And don't expect the nerves to get in the way, as the 21-year-old was unfazed by any pressure that came along with Saturday marking the landmark first-ever Chase for the series, approaching it like any other race. "I think it was probably pretty similar ( to what I was expecting). You just gotta treat these things the same," Bell said. "All these races are important; you never come out here to finish second. "Just gotta keep digging and pay attention and not make mistakes."
Inside Johnson's preparation to avoiding speeding penalties
After a speeding penalty at Chicagoland Speedway hurt Jimmie Johnson's chances at a win, the No. 48 team took the week to properly prepare so that the same mistake would not happen again at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Erik Jones holds off Larson to win at Chicagoland
RELATED: Complete race results " Series standings " Chase Grid JOLIET, Ill. – Kyle Busch opened the door, and that was all the invitation Erik Jones needed. When Busch, the polesitter for Saturday's Drive for Safety 300 at Chicagoland Speedway , spun with a tire down while leading on Lap 182 of 200 , Jones took full advantage of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate's misfortune. The driver of the No. 20 JGR Toyota restarted sixth on Lap 187 after Busch brought out the eighth caution of the afternoon and quickly closed the gap on Elliott Sadler , who restarted second and grabbed the lead from JR Motorsports teammate Clint Bowyer , who had stayed out on old tires like Sadler. Jones caught and passed Sadler on Lap 192. Race runner-up Kyle Larson followed four laps later but couldn't catch Jones before the finish. In the final four laps, Jones moved up the track to take Larson's preferred racing line and crossed the finish line .392 seconds ahead of Larson, who brushed the outside wall on the final lap while trying to close in on the race winner. "It was tough ," said Jones, who won for the second time at the 1.5-mile track and the fourth time in his rookie year. "I knew we were in a good spot on tires, but we pretty far back – think we restarted sixth there. "I didn't know if my Hisense Camry was going to have enough time to get back up to the front, but we had a really good restart and got clear to third and then just had to go chase Elliott down. It was a matter of time before we got around him. What an awesome day!" With four victories this season, Jones enters the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase as the No. 1 seed heading to the Chase opener next Saturday at Kentucky Speedway . "It's a lot of momentum," Jones said. "I wish this was our first round right here. We'll go into Kentucky definitely with a full head of steam and are due for another win there. Our mile-and-a-half program is great – it's been great all year. " To finally get a first mile-and-a-half win of the year – just looking forward to getting to Kentucky next weekend and try to chase down another one." Saturday's event finalized the 12-driver Chase field, as Blake Koch and Ryan Sieg clinched the final two spots with finishes of 15th and 12th, respectively. The full Chase field, in order of seeding, consists of Erik Jones , Sadler, Daniel Suarez , Ty Dillon , Justin Allgaier , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Brendan Gaughan , Brennan Poole , Sieg, Ryan Reed , Brandon Jones and Koch. Sadler finished third on Saturday, followed by Suarez and Allgaier. Larson recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to record his eighth top-five finish in 12 starts this year. "I knew I could get the top (lane) going, but I knew when I got the top going, Erik would move up just when I got to him," Larson said. "He did, and I tried to carry a lot of throttle off of (Turn) 2 and maybe get a run on him, but I got into the wall." Busch led 154 laps and recovered from his spin to finish 13th. All told, 11 different drivers led at least one lap, including the top eight drivers in the finishing order. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Harvick knows what to do when backed into corner
RELATED: Chase bubble heading into Loudon One race into NASCAR's 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the championship standings are thoroughly scrambled and causing double-takes. Some favorites are shaking their heads and some long shots are thanking their lucky stars. But as rough as stomaching a 20th-place finish in the Chicago opener was for the regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick , there is still every reason to believe it could just provide a more dramatic backdrop for another championship run. Harvick finished 42nd in the Chicago race last year and still advanced to the final round of drivers competing for the big trophy at Miami. In fact, the 2014 Sprint Cup champion Harvick is the only driver who has advanced to the final round in both seasons of the new Chase format. Obviously, his Stewart-Haas Racing team feels urgency to get back on track this weekend in New Hampshire. Harvick is ranked 14th -- a single point behind his team owner Tony Stewart in the 12th and final position to advance in two weeks. But this group knows it can restore its title run, having crawled out of a deeper hole last fall and still finishing runner-up in the championship. It's a steely, forward-focus mindset that has served the intensely competitive Harvick well. "It's something we pride ourselves in," Harvick said this week. "I think the pressure situations have been very good for us. As you look at the past two years -- winning the championship and finishing second and getting to Homestead twice -- it kind of shows the grit and backbone of our team and how well they've dealt with those situations. "That experience definitely pays dividends every year when you go in. I think we were a little too ramped up, or at least I was, to start the Chase last year. There's definitely a strategy to how you approach situations and how you approach the end. I think, having dealt with that in the past, that it's a good thing for us." Harvick's track record at New Hampshire is impressive, if not A-plus. He won a race from the pole position in 2006, has led 698 total laps on the 1.058-mile track and never had a DNF. He's had top-four finishes in three of the last four races in New Hampshire and was fourth there in July. While some consider the track to be a unique wild card, Harvick insists it's of equal challenge as the rest of the schedule. "I don't think Loudon is really any different than any other racetrack," Harvick said. "It's just circumstances that can crop up at really any racetrack throughout the Chase. ... If you're having a bad day, you know it can result in a bad day. You just have to overcome that and try to get yourself out of the hole." That is something Harvick has done well in the past, and it's his overall standing in Sprint Cup competition that is more indicative of his potential than last week's circumstantial disappointment. He accumulated the most regular-season points of anyone. He leads the series in 11 different categories, including top fives (13), top 10s (21), driver rating (109.1) and average finish (8.9). He has four runner-up finishes this season, including Charlotte and Kansas, where the series returns during the Chase. Since 2014, Harvick and his crew chief Rodney Childers have a series-best 33 top-two finishes, 10 of those wins. That translates into 33.7 percent of all the races in that time frame. The disappointing outcome at Chicago can be viewed as both an anomaly and a motivator. There is no way Harvick's competition is writing him off. In fact, they are probably more worried when he is more driven. "You just have to be selfish," Harvick said after the Richmond regular-season finale. "You have to do what's best for your team, worry about the consequences when all the dust settles, and you have to be narrow minded, not listen to anything, and do whatever it takes to figure out how to make the best performance on that particular day because every point matters. "This is a minute-by-minute battle." And Harvick knows time is ticking for the 4-team. MORE: Is Harvick a good fantasy play this week?
Chase driver Austin Dillon wrecks in practice, forced to backup car
Austin Dillon wrecks late in the opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, forcing the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup competitor to a backup car.