Happy Times: Kevin Harvick Uses Late Restart To Win Bad Boys Off Road 300 At NHMS

Kevin Harvick (Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick (Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

LOUDON, N.H. – Last September Kevin Harvick saw a big one slip away in painful fashion in the second event of the 2015 Chase for the Championship NASCAR Sprint Cup Series playoffs at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Sunday Harvick got his redemption, stealing a big one away in dramatic fashion in Loudon.

Harvick used a lap 295 restart to pass Matt Kenseth for the lead and go on to win the Sprint Cup Series Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“We wound up where should have been last year, this year,” Harvick said.

The victory locks Harvick into the second round of the Chase for the Championship along with Martin Truex Jr., who won the first Chase event at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18.

Kenseth was second and Kyle Busch third.

Last year Harvick came to New Hampshire in September off a crash in the first event of the chase. A perfect rebound look imminent most of the day. Then it all went bad. Harvick led 216 of 300 laps in the event last September, but on lap 298 his car sputtered and slowed out of fuel and Kenseth went cruising by to grab victory.

The misfortune in Loudon put Harvick into a must-win situation going into the next event at Dover International Speedway. Harvick ended up winning at Dover to advance.

Sunday’s victory achieved a goal for Harvick’s to not get themselves into pressure packed situations for advancement in the playoff system.

“One of our main goals this year was to not stress ourselves out so bad,” Harvick said. “I feel the performance of our cars 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 led a total of eight laps on the day and didn’t look like a contender for victory until his late run to the front.

“I was content with where we were, but once you get up there in the front like that you’ve got to take a chance to try to win,” Harvick said.

Kenseth was looking for his third consecutive victory in Loudon, after winning in July this year. Kenseth, who led 105 laps on the day, held off Truex on three restarts over the final 52 laps and also a feisty charge by Truex on lap 271. But on a lap 287 restart it was Harvick getting by Truex (141 laps led) for second before the final caution flew on lap 292.

On the ensuing restart, Harvick got under Kenseth into turn one. Through turns three and four Harvick’s low charge paid off as he wrestled the lead away for good.

“I didn’t do a good job on that last restart and Kevin did a better job than I did,” Kenseth said. “ … The last restart was my fault. … I let Kevin lay back on me, which we’re supposed to be side-by-side. I should have known better. … He anticipated just right and laid back and plus I spun the tires and I get beat through [turns] one and two and it was over.”

The runner-up finish kept up a torrid streak for Kenseth since he landed at Joe Gibbs Racing prior to the start of the 2013 season. In eight races at Loudon since moving to Joe Gibbs Racing Kenseth has three wins and an average finish of 5.6 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He has finished sixth or better six times, with only one finish worse than ninth, during that span.

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