Kevin Harvick earned his first victory of the 2019 Monster Energy Cup season with his finish at the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.
The No. 4 car narrowly held off Denny Hamlin, who finished just 0.087 seconds behind the leader Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after a close battle on the final lap.
Hamlin and Kyle Busch combined to lead 231 of the 301 laps, but Harvick took control down the stretch and did just enough to finally secure a victory.
1. Kevin Harvick (4)
2. Denny Hamlin (11)
3. Erik Jones (20)
4. Ryan Blaney (12)
5. Matt DiBenedetto (95)
6. Martin Truex Jr. (19)
7. Ryan Newman (6)
8. Kyle Busch (18)
9. Joey Logano (22)
10. Brad Keselowski (2)
Full results available at NASCAR.com.
Although the first 300 laps featured some quality racing, the final lap was easily the most memorable as Hamlin did everything he could to pass Harvick but fell just short.
Hamlin led much of the day's second half, but the difference in the race came with about 30 laps remaining.
While Hamlin pitted for two fresh tires, Harvick stayed out in an aggressive decision:
Hamlin passed a few cars to get back into second place but couldn't come away with the win. Fortunately, he has won a race to earn a guaranteed spot in the NASCAR playoffs.
On the other hand, Harvick had been relatively disappointing after dominating much of the 2018 season, but he is in the playoffs with a win.
It looked like Kyle Busch was on his way to another win after quickly taking control away from pole-winner Brad Keselowski.
Busch not only pushed his way to the front, but he also built more than a two-second lead by the time he grabbed the Stage 1 victory:
The effort helped Busch match Joey Logano with seven stage wins on the season.
After a relatively clean first stage, there was a lot more drama in the second stage with several collisions leading to cautions:
Jimmie Johnson also dealt with car damage that caused him to pit for an extended stretch.
Aric Almirola took advantage of the chaos, moving to the front before securing the Stage 2 victory.
Hamlin quickly became the leader at the start of the final stage and stayed there, building his lead with each lap. The No. 11 car led 113 laps until pitting with about 30 remaining, ending his chance at the win.
The drivers will remain in the Northeast for the next few weeks, continuing with the Gander RV 400 next Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.