In a season of exciting NASCAR finishes the final laps of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday was one of the best.
Kevin Harvick, who won this race last for his sixth win of the season, had yet to win a race this season. Denny Hamlin has two wins this season including his second Daytona 500 triumph to start the year.
Harvick took the lead thanks to pit strategy after the races ninth and final caution on lap 264. The leaders including Hamlin pitted while Harvick was told to stay out.
On older tires, Harvick was able to hold off Hamlin who had taken two tires and began to stretch his lead out in the final laps. Hamlin however was able to reel in Harvick and was on his rear bumper as they took the white flag. Hamlin put a bumper to the rear of Harvick, but Harvick was able to hold his line and went on to win by .210 of a second.
In last year’s win, Harvick had pulled similar move on Hamlin’s teammate Kyle Busch. Harvick went on to win that day.
“I didn’t want to see their traffic there at the end,” Harvick said. “It really made my car tight, and he got to me. He tried to move me out of the way down there, and I knew that was coming as close as he was. So, I just stood on the brakes and I’m like, half throttle down the back straightaway. I’m like, you’re not getting under me again, and he drove to the outside of me, and I waited until he got near me, and I just put a wheel on him.”
Hamlin could still smile after losing.
“I mean, yeah, I just ‑‑ I wanted to just tap him there, but I didn’t want to completely screw him,” Hamlin said. “I at least wanted to give him a fair shot there. Down the backstretch, I kind of let off, and I’m like, all right, well, I’ll just pass him on the outside and kind of do this thing the right way, and once I had that big run, he just turned right. But I would do the same thing. It was a fun race, and congratulations to him and his team. They made a great call there at the end.”