Kevin Harvick sewed up his long-awaited first Monster Energy Series win of the season Sunday, benefiting from a bold pit strategy move and holding back Denny Hamlin’s last-lap charge at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Harvick led 41 of the 301 laps in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford holding an 0.210-second advantage at the drop of the checkered flag. His fourth victory at the 1.058-mile New Hampshire track was the 46th of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career and the first for SHR in the 2019 season.
Harvick stayed on the track during the final cycle of pit stops to gain track position, then held off the fast-closing Hamlin in captivating final lap, with both cars making contact more than once on the final circuit.
“I knew he was going to take a shot. I would have taken a shot,” Harvick said in Victory Lane. “I just stood on the brakes and tried to keep it straight. I just didn’t want to get him back on the inside and let him have another shot. I at least wanted to be in control of who was going to have contact in (turns) 3 and 4.”
Hamlin held on to place second in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota, leading 113 laps but coming up just short at the end.
“I wanted to just tap him there, but I didn’t want to completely screw him,” Hamlin told NBC Sports post-race. “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.”
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
This week nobody was riding shotgun with the race winner, Kevin Harvick. So this award will go back on the shelf and await the checkered flag from The Tricky Triangle, Pocono Raceway.
THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS
We have a new segment leader this week. Kathy The Church Forecloser soared up to the top of the scoring pylon after the checkered flag flew at Loudon. More to follow below.
The biggest scorer of the week, hauling in a very nice 45 points from the 8th place finish of Kyle Busch, is Edie The Las Vegas Super Star.
Not having a bad race day either is the duo of Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head and Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff. Both players were riding shotgun with Aric Almirola, and gathered up 44 points from his very good outing in New England.
Meanwhile, Kathy The Church Forecloser, Lonna The Quilt Angel, as well as Bobby Blue Crush added 42 points to their bucket. All three players were solidly behind The Delivernator, aka Denny Hamlin.
This foursome, Jim, aka Chiefy, Snoopy Dawn, Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, and David the Mudslinging Throttle Jockey all added a much needed 37 points to their third segment totals. Even though these players all received the same score, they were rooting for two different drivers. Chiefy and The Bandit were stowaways in the cockpit with YRB, Young Ryan Blaney, while Snoopy and The Throttle Jockey were cheering on Joey Logano.
Rounding out the top five scorers this week is Linda R. The Lemonade Lefty and Jeremy The Coach. Both players were hoping that Martin Truex, Jr. could notch another victory at Loudon. That did not happen this week, however, Truex was able to put 36 points into the bucket of these two.
There was a significant amount of movement this week. There was only two players who remained in their previous positions when the checkers flew, Jeremy The Coach and Lonna The Quilt Angel.
The biggest movers at Louden are Carlton The Doorman and Carole, aka Rudy. Both players had a race that they would like to forget, plummeting six (6) places to reside in 13th and 15th, respectively.
Kathy The Church Forecloser, our new leader, and Karen the Highly Opinionated Southern Bell swapped places this week. The Forecloser climbed up four (4) spots and The Highly Opinionated One slid four spots to sit in 1st and 5th, respectively.
Meanwhile, there is a quartet of players consisting of Snoopy Dawn, Linda B. The Cookie Mom, Edie The Las Vegas Super Star, as well as Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head that moved three (3) positions. Snoopy The Vegas Super Star and The Cheddar Head all rose up to the occasion by climbing up the totem pole to sit in 3rd, 10th, and 12th places, respectively. The Cookie Mom, however, fell three places to reside in 6th place.
Still another foursome consisting of Linda R. The Lemonade Lefty, Dan The Numbers Cruncher, Bobby Blue Crush, and Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff banded together to move two (2) places on the leaderboard. The Lemonade Lefty, Blue Crush, and Your Most Humble Sheriff all stepped up their game and climbed up two spots to rest in 2nd, 8th, and 9th places, respectively, while The Numbers Dude slipped down two place to own 4th place.
Lastly there are four players, Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, David the Mudslinging Throttle Jockey, Jim, aka Chiefy, as well as Wild Bill The Pretzel Man that just moved next door from their previous resting spots. The Bandit, The Throttle Jockey, and Chiefy had positive movement now sitting in 7th, 11th, and 16th places, respectively, while Wild Bill slipped down to 17th place.
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
The Crappiest Pick of The Week goes to Carlton The Doorman. The Doorman had a really rotten race, scoring only 5 points with his choice of Austin Dillon. It could be that The Doorman was either drinking some really good stuff or was really sick when he selected the senior Dillon brother as his pick!!
Once again, The Outhouse remains in the good graces of Lonna The Quilt Angel. It appears that she has become very comfortable in here “home away from home” in The Outhouse!
PS I must add this note for our players. The Quilt Angel’s husband, Bob, was in desperate need of a kidney. As it turns out Lonna was a match and this past week she donated one of her kidneys to her husband to save his life!!!
That, my friends, is the definition of true love!!!!!!!!!!!!! I salute you Lonna. You are not only a Quilt Angel but you are your husband’s Angel!!!!!
Now that summer is in full swing next week it’s time to rock on down the highway back to The Tricky Triangle for the second visit!
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT AND LET’S GO RACIN’!