Harvick Gets Lucky in Loudon
Make that two tickets punched to the Round of 12. Kevin Harvick joins Martin Truex Jr. as a lock to advance to the next round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup with his win in New Hampshire Sunday. Harvick overtook race leader Matt Kenseth - who was gunning for his third straight Loudon win - off the final restart with five laps to go and held on for his third victory of the season. “For me, it was just a smooth restart,” Harvick said. “I just didn’t want to spin the tires. 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.” It was Harvick’s 34th career Sprint Cup Series win and second at NHMS, with his last coming in 2006.
An emotional Elliott Sadler celebrated history over the weekend, becoming the first driver to win a race under the new XFINITY Series Chase format."We fought through a lot tonight," Sadler said in Victory Lane. "I'm going to get a little emotional on you, I've been in the hospital all week with my mom in ICU watching her fight and fight through a lot of pain and suffering. (She) made her way back home tonight to watch the race. Mom, I love you. She leads so much by example." The Emporia, VA native expertly navigated his way through a caution-filled battle for the 13th win of his XFINITY career.
The season's not over yet, but there's already been news of some big changes coming in 2017 with Stewart-Haas Racing front racing. Clint Bowyer will be behind the wheel of the 14 once the "Smoke" clears, and it'll be running on a Roush Yates Ford. NASCAR takes a look at these and a few other changes coming down the pipeline this winter.
The field will get a little tighter after this weekend's race in Dover as four drivers will be eliminated from Chase contention. With two first-timers and a future Hall of Famer on the cusp of elimination, we could see some monster action at the "Monster Mile." Less than 20 points separate 7th-place Denny Hamlin from 13th-place Jamie McMurray, so don't be surprised to see some serious shake-ups before the Round of 12 is officially underway.