A wise man once told me that champions find a way to win. And Kevin Harvick did just that, capitalizing on a late race restart to win the Bad Boy Mowers 300 at New Hampshire, clinching a spot in the next round of the playoffs. Matt Kenseth, despite having the car to beat, ended up finishing in 2nd place, with his teammate Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle’s brother Kurt rounding out the top 5.
Pole winner Carl Edwards bounced back from a pit road penalty to finish 6th, Martin Truex Jr, who gave Kenseth all he could handle before fading to 7th at the end, Jimmie Johnson with a second solid run finished 8th, non-chaser Kasey Kahne finished 9th, and rounding out the top 10 is 12th place driver Kyle Larson.
If the bottom four drivers, Austin Dillon (-5 out of 12th), Jamie McMurray (-5 out of 12th) Tony Stewart (-11 out of 12th) and Chris Buescher (-31 out of 12th) are going to have hopes of advancing, they need a win or one of the above drivers to have problems next week at Dover. But anything can happen in this playoff format.
Last night, in the opening round of the inaugural Xfinity Chase, Elliott Sadler, the elder statesman of the series, picked up a victory at Kentucky Speedway, his third of the year, earning a spot in the round of 8.
Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney, and semi-retired driver Sam Hornish Jr. finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively.
Of course, you can’t have an Xfinity race without talking about the underdogs. Special shoutouts go to:
Matt Tifft for finishing 5th, months after successful brain surgery which kept him out of action for a while.
Ryan Reed for finishing 7th. It’s impressive to see him putting together more decent runs in his fourth year of racing in the Xfinity Series.
Darrell Wallace Jr. finishing 8th after leading 10 laps. Next week’s track could give him his best chance to score a victory, as he finished 2nd in June, and was leading before late-race contact with Chris Buescher the year before.
Blake Koch finished 11th, in the Chase debut for Kaulig Racing, placing himself on the right side of the round of 8 cut line.
Josh Berry, who recently signed with the 00 HAAS Automation truck for 2017, finished 13th.
Justin Marks, who looped it around three times during the race, managed to come back and finish 15th.
On the downside, Ty Dillon and Erik Jones, two strong contenders for the win, and who managed to lead nearly three-quarters of the race, crashed with less than 10 to go, setting them back momentarily, but both drivers should bounce back next week at Dover.