NASCAR at New Hampshire 2016 Results: Winner, Standings, Highlights and Reaction

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2016

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 25:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 ditech Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 25, 2016 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Kevin Harvick utilized an excellent restart in the final few laps to take the lead and eventually earn first place in Sunday's Bad Boy Off Road 300.

Matt Kenseth led 105 laps, compared to just eight for the winner, but he had to settle for second place after being passed late.

Harvick's win clinched a spot in the round of 12 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, where he'll join Martin Truex Jr. after his win last week.

Here is a look at the finish from New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

Bad Boy Off Road 300 Results
Pos.DriverTime Behind Leader (Seconds)
1Kevin Harvick-
2Matt Kenseth0.443
3Kyle Busch1.731
4Brad Keselowski2.159
5Kurt Busch2.600
6Carl Edwards3.057
7Martin Truex Jr.3.271
8Jimmie Johnson3.836
9Kasey Kahne4.629
10Kyle Larson5.195
11Joey Logano5.221
12Ryan Blaney5.828
13Chase Elliott6.291
14Alex Bowman6.480
15Denny Hamlin6.647
Source: NASCAR.com

The race unsurprisingly played an important role in the Chase standings, with the top eight finishers all in the hunt for the championship.

Here is a look at the standings after two playoff races:

Chase for the Sprint Cup Standings
RankDriverPoints Behind
1Brad Keselowski-
2Martin Truex Jr.1
3Kyle Busch2
4Matt Kenseth9
5Joey Logano14
6Kevin Harvick16
7Denny Hamlin16
8Jimmie Johnson17
9Chase Elliott19
10Carl Edwards19
11Kyle Busch20
12Kyle Larson30
13Jamie McMurray35
14Austin Dillon35
15Tony Stewart41
16Chris Buescher60
Highlighted drivers have clinched a spot in round of 12; Source: NASCAR.com

Harvick was far from dominant on a day when he was barely competitive until the end. In fact, for most of the day, the race seemed as though it was destined for a head-to-head showdown between Kenseth and Truex.

Still, NASCAR continually shows fans the most important lap to lead is the last one.

Carl Edwards began the day in charge after earning the pole. Not only did he hold the lead for the first 30 laps, but he also separated himself from the rest of the field, per Jeff Gluck of USA Today:

Eventually, Truex took over the lead for a significant portion of the race.

As New Hampshire Motor Speedway showed, he was by himself for a while:

In a smooth race with few cautions, Truex was able to stay ahead for 100-plus laps with little resistance.

Former NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace was impressed by Truex's consistency:

There wasn't another change until the second half of the race, when Kenseth was finally able to move to the front, as NASCAR showed:

Kenseth and Truex battled up front for a while, but the race came down to a caution and a restart with six laps to go.

Kenseth was in the lead, but Harvick quickly took over. Fellow driver William Byron was impressed by the effort:

That was enough for Harvick to stay ahead and earn the checkered flag, via NASCAR:

Harvick followed the victory up with a classic burnout to celebrate, courtesy of New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

It was clear Harvick didn't have the best car over the course of the day, but consistency was the key. He made his move when he needed to and came away with the surprising victory.

Two spots in the round of 12 are now set. The rest of the field will be decided next week at the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway, after which four drivers will be cut from the Chase.

We could end up seeing a lot of aggressive driving as the competitors try to remain alive in the hunt for the championship.

         

Post-Race Reaction

Harvick is saving his best performances for the end of the season, just as he did at the end of this race. He discussed his ability to come through in big moments after the win, per Gluck:

The veteran driver also spoke on the restarts that ended up being the key to victory.

"We talk about that stuff all the time," Harvick told NBCSN following his win. "I think for me it was just a smooth restart; I just didn’t want to spin the tires. I don’t know what happened to (Kenseth) or if I just timed it right but, [it] worked out good when we got to Turn 1."

The pressure is off for him heading into Dover, but he has once again established himself as a threat for the championship.

        

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