Pit strategy played in Matt Kenseth’s favor during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday, with the Joe Gibbs Racing driver taking the lead from race leader Kevin Harvick on Lap 298 of 300 after he ran out of fuel and driving on to his fifth victory of the season. The win bumps Kenseth to the Challenger round of the Chase of the Sprint Cup, where he joins last week’s race winner and teammate Denny Hamlin.
Harvick looked poised to win with just two laps to go, however the Stewart-Haas racing driver last pitted on 212, while Kenseth stopped for fuel and tires on Lap 239. After leading 216 laps, his Chevrolet SS ran dry, and Kenseth, with Hamlin in tow, went flying past. Harvick ended up 21st, putting the pressure on him to win at Dover next weekend and move on to the next round of the Chase.
In behind Kenseth and Hamlin was Team Penske and Ford’s Joey Logano in third, while non-Chase contender Greg Biffle finished fourth and JGR’s Carl Edward’s finished fifth. Some Chase drivers suffered potential fatal blows to their Chase bids at New Hampshire, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., who ran out of gas and finished 25th, and Kyle Busch, who hit the wall on Lap 159 and finished 37th. Earnhardt is now 12th in the Chase, the last spot that will move on to the next round, 1 point ahead of Busch and Paul Menard.
Will the Joe Gibbs Racing show continue next week as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover for the AAA 400? We’ll find out when the race goes green next Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Click here for full results from New Hampshire, and here for a full schedule of next weekend’s NASCAR festivities.