In a Nutshell: The Camping World 200 started off more like a demolition derby than a Busch Series race. There were three cautions for wrecks in the first 42 laps of the race. A multitude of crew chiefs seemed to believe that trend would continue and made a fuel gamble based on the belief that they would be able to receive 30 laps of caution in the last half of the race. However, the second half of the race was much cleaner than the first half, so the teams had to adjust on the fly and come in for fuel when the caution flew with 38 to go. While Matt Kenseth tried a two-tire stop to get to the front at that point in time, his car was just not good enough to hold off Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.
Who Should Have Won: Harvick had the car to beat all day long in the race. He led the most laps (166) and was easily able to make it back to the front when he fell behind due to pit strategy. Although his car did seem to fall off in the final 10 laps, he had just enough of a lead to hold off Edwards, and come home as the 21st different driver to win in 21 Busch races at New Hampshire.
Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race This Weekend
1) Did ESPN actually listen to the fans?
Early on in the new tenure of ESPN covering NASCAR, there was quite a bit of criticism about the fact that ESPN had forgotten their racing roots and was buying into the formula that the new broadcast partners had been using instead of giving back to the fans what they had been asking for. At least one thing seems to have changed: The commercials, for the most part, seem to be ending before the green flag flies. When a caution was coming to an end this weekend, the majority of the time, the green flag flying was seen on TV, not on replay.
2) Who does Delana Harvick REALLY root for?
Delana Harvick is a legitimate car owner in the Busch Series. She is not just a paper owner, she is very hands on and knows the ins and outs of running a racing organization. However, she also has a husband who drives for a different owner in the series. She never admits who she roots for, but can she honestly not pull for her husband to win the race?
3). What are the odds that 21 different races at a track would produce 21 different winners?
Obviously, when the Busch Series was a developmental series, there weren’t many drivers who came to the same track more than two or three times in their career. But with the influx of Buschwhackers over the last few years, and the stable of drivers who have run Busch full-time for years, it would seem like at SOME point in time there would have been a repeat winner. There have to be some statisticians in the Frontstretch fandom that would be kind enough to let us know what the odds are that 21 straight races at a track would be won by 21 different drivers.
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle
With the series back at a track as a companion event with the Cup Series, the Buschwhackers were out in full force. With the entire top 10 being comprised of Cup regulars, it was a big point weekend for a large group of Buschwhackers. Harvick, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin and Bobby Labonte moved up two positions, Kenseth vaulted up three, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ward Burton jumped up one, Tony Stewart surged up four, and Scott Riggs powered up 11 positions.
Edwards has a 809-point lead over second place David Reutimann. Harvick gained two spots back up to third in the standings 868 points behind. David Ragan slipped one spot to fourth, 912 points behind, and Jason Leffler moved up one position to round out the top five, 966 markers back.
Buschwhackers in the race: 17
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 327 of 727
Buschwhackers finishing in the top 10: 10
Buschwhackers finishing in the top 10 YTD: 133 of 180
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 16 of 18
Buschwhackers ranked in the top 10 in Busch Series points standings: Six
“We had a top-five car at best the way we were running, so we had to try something. At worst we’ll finish fifth and we may be able to end up a little better by being out front with clean air. I think it was a great call.” – Matt Kenseth, as the in race reporter, on the decision to take two tires on the final pit stop.
“When we came in the last time, we didn’t make any changes and I probably should have loosened the car up a little bit. We got pretty tight there at the end. I just had to protect the bottom. I knew he’d dive in there, but I got through the center just fast enough, and he must have pushed the front tires.” – Kevin Harvick on the end of the race.
“It was exciting for me, I hope it was for the fans. I did a lunge for life in there on the last corner, and I thought I might be able to get to his bumper, but I was a little too hot and had to lift, and Kevin did just what he had to do to get it done.” – Carl Edwards on the last lap.
Next Up: The Busch Series heads back to restrictor-plate racing with the Winn Dixie 250 presented by Pepsico at Daytona International Speedway. The race will be next Friday, July 6th at 7:30 p.m. and will be available on ESPN2 and MRN.