Charting the Chase field after New Hampshire

Kevin Harvick secured a spot in the Round of 12 Sunday with a win at New Hampshire. (Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick secured a spot in the Round of 12 Sunday with a win at New Hampshire. (Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick secured a spot in the Round of 12 Sunday with a win at New Hampshire. (Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick officially turned around his Chase Sunday. A week after a miserable race in Chicago, Harvick led the final laps Sunday to win at New Hampshire.  The win secured his spot in the next round allowing him to head to Dover a bit more relaxed than last season when he faced elimination.  While Harvick celebrated, several over Chase drivers struggled; some rallied back for decent finishes, others did not. Here’s a look at the Chase field after Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

1. Brad Keselowski (+1) 2087. Keselowski was among those who struggled much of the race. He never lost a lap but never had a chance for the win.  With a good pit strategy and hard driving, Keselowski charged back to a decent fourth place finish.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (-1) 2086. Truex led the most laps Sunday, 141, but was the car to beat for much of the race. A late race decision to stay out on older tires, tripped him up and left him with a seventh place finish, but showed he is still very much a contender moving forward.

3. Kyle Busch (0) 2085. Unlike Truex, Kyle Busch did pit late for fresh tires.  The move paid off nicely. Busch was running inside the top five early, but had faded late in the going and was just inside the top 10. He used the fresh tires to make a late race charge to the front and was rewarded with a nice third place finish.

4. Matt Kenseth (+3) 2078. Kenseth looked to be on track to score his third win in the last four races at New Hampshire late in the going Sunday.  He led 105 laps, the second most of the day, but lost on a late race restart. Still a second place finish and his display Sunday shows Kenseth is far from out of it.

5. Joey Logano (0) 2073. Logano struggled all race long. He went down a lap of several occasions  but made it up. In the end he was able to rally back but only to an 11th place finish. If he hopes to move forward in the Chase, Logano will need to have a much better race at Dover.

6. Kevin Harvick (+7) 2071. Harvick went from zero to hero Sunday. A week after plummeting down the standings, Harvick grabbed the lead from Matt Kenseth Sunday late in the going and went on to score his third win of the season and his second at New Hampshire,  the last coming in 2006. No one better count Harvick out of this year’s Chase.

7. Denny Hamlin (-3) 2071. Hamlin looked strong for a time, but pit road issues again came back to  haunt the team. Only two pit road penalties were issued Sunday, one to Hamlin’s team for an uncontrolled tire.  After running inside the top 10 and top 5 most of the day, Hamlin had to settle for a 15th place. The team will have to be spot on if Hamlin is to keep moving forward in the Chase.

8. Jimmie Johnson (0) 2070. Johnson didn’t have the car to win Sunday. He ran just inside the top 10 for the first half of the race but began to fade. In the final laps though Johnson rallied back to finish 8th.

9. Chase Elliott (-3) 2068. Elliott had another strong run Sunday. He ran inside the top five for much of the day, and could have contended for the win.  In the final 6 laps however, Elliott was caught up in the madness at the end and finished 13th. That finish doesn’t reflect the sort of day he had, and the rookie can’t be counted out just yet.

10. Carl Edwards (-1) 2068. Edwards had the second pit road penalty that was issued Sunday. He missed the commitment line on a pit stop. He took the blame. Edwards led from pole and led 31 laps. Despite his pit road penalty, Edwards fought back to a sixth place finish.

11. Kurt Busch (-1) 2067. Busch struggled most of the day, but never gave up.  His team made the right adjustments and Busch found himself with a fifth place finish when it was over.

12. Kyle Larson (+3) 2057. Larson isn’t a fan of New Hampshire. However he did run inside the top 10 for a time. At the end of the day he ended up with a better than expected 10th place finish.

13. Jamie McMurray (-2) 2052. McMurray was holding his own, but a late pit call left him deep in the field with a disappointing 19th place finish.

14. Austin Dillon (0) 2052. Dillon also struggled much of the day falling down a lap on more than one occasion.  He did make his lap up, but could move forward no further than 16th.

15. Tony Stewart (-3) 2046. Sadly it doesn’t appear that in his final full year in NASCAR that the three time champion will move very far in the Chase. Stewart had a terrible race Sunday starting 22nd and finishing 23rd one lap down.

16. Chris Buescher (0) 2027. Buescher’s Cinderella story will probably end after Dover. Buescher started 28th, but finished 30th.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.