Sprint Cup Series News (12274)
BK Racing PR
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 ditech Home Loans Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), won Sunday’s Bad Boy Off Road 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The win is the 34th of Harvick’s Sprint Cup career, his third win of 2016 and his second win in 32 Sprint Cup starts at New Hampshire.
“I’m just really proud of everybody on our ditech team for everything that they did today and for Rodney (Childers, crew chief) leaving us out there,” said Harvick, the 2006 winner of the fall race at New Hampshire. “Our car would fire off really good after the tires would cool off, and we could take off. All those other guys were buried back in traffic. We were able to time that last restart really good, and I was able to keep the right-side tires above the hash marks going into turn one. That was really the key for me to get the car and get off the brake and get back to a little bit of throttle.”
Harvick started 19th in the 40-car field on Sunday and quickly made a charge to the front, cracking the top-10 within the first 50 laps around the 1.058-mile track. By the halfway point he had become a fixture among the top-five, reporting only minor complaints with the ditech Chevy’s handling as the race continued.
The last restart of the race turned out to be the game changer for Harvick and company. The 2014 Sprint Cup champ was in second place for the restart with six laps to go. He charged into the first turn alongside race leader Matt Kenseth and maintained the inside position on the track as the field raced down the backstretch into turn three. He emerged as the race leader at the exit of turn four and started to stretch the lead during the final laps en route to the victory.
“For me, it was just a smooth restart,” Harvick said. “I just didn’t want to spin the tires. I don’t know what happened to (Kenseth), or if I just timed it right. It worked out good when we got to turn one.
“I’m just excited,” Harvick added. “I was content with where we were, but once you get up there in the front like that, you’ve got to take a chance to try to win.”
Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Pumpkin Spice Cheerios Team Give it All They Have to Earn 16th-Place Finish in Second Chase Race of the Season
"Truthfully, that was a heck of a fight today by the No. 3 Pumpkin Spice Cheerios team. We didn't have a car capable of doing anything all day but we stayed focused and that means more to me than anything because at times this year we haven't. It wasn't our day, but we made the best out of the day we had. We are only five points out of the Chase cut off going into Dover International Speedway next week. We struggled all weekend long, but we fought hard. I never gave in, I never gave up, and our team never gave up. They had a heck of a pit stop there to put us in a lucky dog position, which helped us gain some additional points. Now we go to Dover and we've given ourselves a shot. We just have to go run well there."
- Austin Dillon
Paul Menard and the Libman / Menards Chevrolet Team Finish 25th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
"The Libman / Menards Chevrolet fired off decent here at New Hampshire. With that long green-flag run to start the race, I was having to really use the track bar to help the handling of the car. Danny (Stockman, crew chief) and the guys took big swings during our first three stops. The front end of this Chevy just did not feel right, compared to our practices, and we unfortunately went a lap down to the leader around lap 100. We had a plan to get that lap back but the cautions didn't fall in our favor to see that plan through. This car was much better than a 25th-place result. We'll keep fighting at Dover next weekend."
- Paul Menard
Final Restarts Not Ideal for Ryan Newman Resulting in 20th-Place Finish at New Hampshire
"The last two restarts did not go in our favor and cost us valuable track position. I all but got turned around and we were lucky. Unfortunately that killed our momentum which cost us a decent finish. For the most part we were a top-13 car. We were missing a little something today and that's a shame. We qualified third and was hoping to better our starting spot but we just didn't have the handling to back it up."
- Ryan Newman
Tony Stewart put forth a workmanlike performance Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon to finish 23rd in the Bad Boy Off Road 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. But the hard work netted little reward for the three-time Sprint Cup champion as the result dropped Stewart to 15th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, 11 points outside the top-12 cutoff to advance to the Round of 12.
Stewart is still among the 16 drivers competing in the Chase, but following next Sunday’s race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, the field gets whittled down to 12. Only those who have won a race or are among the top-12 in points will be able to continue their championship pursuit.
Stewart was understandably quiet after his 35th and final Sprint Cup start at New Hampshire. The 18-year Sprint Cup veteran is retiring at the end of the season, and the 2016 Chase is his last shot at earning a fourth Sprint Cup title.
Stewart started the 300-lap race around the 1.058-mile oval from 22nd in the 40-car field. His No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS was decent for the first half of the race, hovering just outside of the top-10. But around lap 150, Stewart radioed to crew chief Mike Bugarewicz that his car “all of a sudden changed.” It was loose on entry into the corner and tight in the middle.
The lap times confirmed this. After posting times that were not far off from those being set by the leaders, Stewart’s speed dropped off. When the caution flag waved on lap 167, Stewart and Bugarewicz took advantage and brought the Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevy to pit road. Four tires and fuel were added, but before the new Goodyears went on, a thorough inspection of the car’s suspension was made. Nothing seemed to be broken or loose, so tires were bolted on and Stewart headed back onto the racetrack.
The problems persisted, however, with Stewart describing his car as “numb”. And with a lightning-quick pace being set by the leaders, Stewart soon found himself a lap down. Despite a spirited battle with the Chevrolet of Austin Dillon to get into the position of earning his lap back, Stewart was unable to make his No. 14 machine behave well enough to salvage the day.
While the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver did not have a good day, the SHR owner did. Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, saw his teammate, Kevin Harvick, take the victory at New Hampshire. Harvick twice drove his No. 4 ditech Chevrolet SS to the lead for a total of eight laps, the most important of which were the final six. It was his third win this season and his second win in 32 career Sprint Cup starts at New Hampshire. Harvick leaves New Hampshire second in the Chase standings and is locked into the Round of 12 thanks to his victory at New Hampshire.
After leading nine laps in Sunday’s Bad Boy Off Road 300, Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) scored an 18th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
Patrick started the race from the 24th position and quickly gained ground, moving inside the top-20 by lap nine. As the field cycled through green-flag pit stops in the midst of a long, green-flag run, Patrick went a lap down to the leader at lap 77. When the caution flag waved at lap 123 for debris, crew chief Billy Scott called for Patrick to take the wave-around, putting the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet back on the lead lap in the 18th position for the following restart.
On the subsequent run, Patrick held her position but went a lap down to the leader at lap 164. The caution flag waved on the following lap, and as Patrick was the first car one lap down, she was in the free-pass position and got back on the lead lap. Scott called her to pit road for tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment, and Patrick restarted in 18th at lap 171.
Another long, green-flag run ensued, and Patrick inherited the lead at lap 234 as other teams pitted. The caution flag waved at lap 240, and Scott called Patrick to pit road for tires and fuel. The No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet restarted from the eighth position when the field went back to green at lap 248, and Patrick worked her way up to sixth before contact from another car dropped her back to eighth.
Patrick was scored in the 11th position when the caution flag waved again at lap 264, but she fell to 17th with a left-rear tire rub before the caution flag waved at lap 284. The No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet team pitted for tires and a chassis adjustment at lap 286, and Patrick restarted in the 18th position at lap 289. She raced her way up to 13th before the caution flag waved for the final time at lap 291. Stuck on the bottom on the final restart, Patrick dropped back to 18th in the closing laps.
“We definitely didn’t need that final caution,” Patrick said. “We had a really strong run going before it came out, but it is what it is. My Nature’s Bakery team did a great job on pit road all day and helped make the car better as the race progressed.”
Though he finished seventh after leading a race high of 141 laps in the second Chase playoff race, Truex had a shot at winning when he was running a close second to Matt Kenseth when the second-to-last caution came out on Lap 286 of 300.
“I raced with Matt (Kenseth) so hard for the lead for such a long time that I just kind of burned my tires up and then really had trouble getting going on those last two restarts,” explained Truex. “It was unfortunate to have a car that good all day long and then come home seventh. But all in all it was a fun day.”
Truex, who started second, led four different times in his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota Camry. He initially moved into first place on Lap 31. He led laps 31-75 (45), 81-125 (44), 126-166 (41) and 168-178 (11).
“We led a lot of laps and the team did a great job all weekend,” said Truex. “We’ll go on to Dover and see if we can’t finish the deal off there.
Truex, who has now posted four straight top-10 finishes, is second in the Chase standings, one point behind leader Brad Keselowski.
The race winner was Kevin Harvick. Rounding out the top 10 in order were: Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Truex, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson.
The race had six cautions for 31 laps and there were 14 lead changes among eight drivers.
With a berth already assured in the second round of the Chase, Truex will close out the first round next Sunday (Oct. 2) at his home track – Dover International Speedway.
After the No. 17 Fastenal Ford was turned bringing out the final caution of the 300-lap race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. recovered to take the checkered flag for the Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the 24th position.
“We struggled this weekend,” Stenhouse said. “At times our Fastenal Ford handled great but we just lacked speed. It’s definitely not the performance we wanted but we will go back and look at everything and bring something different next year. We need to take the next eight races and build off them going into the off season.”
After struggling with a loose handling Fastenal Ford in practice on Friday, the two-time XFINITY champion advanced to the second round of qualifying earning a 21st –place starting position.
After going a lap down due to a long green flag run, the Olive Branch, Miss. native took the wave around to get back on the lead lap in hopes of a quick caution before he needed to pit for tires and fuel. The much needed caution was never displayed forcing Stenhouse to make his scheduled pit stop under green flag conditions.
With less than 10 laps remaining, Stenhouse made contact with the No. 27 machine which sent the Fastenal Ford for a spin. The 2013 NSCS Rookie of the Year saved his spinning machine without making any contact.
For the final six lap shootout, Stenhouse lined up in the 25th position and was able to pick one more position to cross the finish line in the 24th position.
Greg Biffle suffered left-front fender damage in a late-race caution which contributed to his 33rd-place finish. Biffle started 32nd and worked on his No. 16 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford Fusion all race and just when the handling improved, an incident unfolded on track in front of him. Biffle was able to pit for repairs and earn a 33rd-place finish.
Greg Biffle had his hands full the entire Loudon race weekend with the handling on his No. 16 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford Fusion. The handling contributed to a 32nd-place qualifying effort. The team made some handling gains with two practice sessions on Saturday, but knew they still had their work cut out for them.
The race started off with long green flag runs, not allowing many opportunities to pit for adjustments. Biffle lost a lap to the field over the run due to handling and then an attempt to capitalize on pit strategy didn’t pan out for the team.
Long green flag runs continued and Biffle was off pit cycle with the leaders. When the opportunity arose he took the “wave around” to get back one of the lost laps, but another long green flag run would ensue.
With nothing to lose the team took advantage of late race cautions to pit for adjustments to see how the different changes affected the handling of the No. 16 Ford. The changes made gains, but Biffle went high to dodge some wrecking cars in front of him and suffered some left-front fender damage.
Biffle pitted for repairs and in the end crossed the finish line 33rd in the No. 16 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford Fusion.