NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The 10: Happy in New Hampshire

 For 292 laps, it looked like Toyota had done it again.
Carl Edwards took the pole. Martin Truex, Jr., had a rocket ship a week after a Chase-opening win at Chicagoland Speedway. Matt Kenseth was strong, and Kyle Busch lurked just a few positions back.
Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing combined to dominate much of the day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. However, there was one thing they failed to account for down the stretch.
The Closer.
Kevin Harvick stole the lead and the win late to claim his third victory of the season and clinch his way into the second round of the Chase. Behind him, a litany of Chasers including Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch and Austin Dillon dodged disaster to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Was Harvick’s win enough to elevate him back atop our rankings? How did the rest of the 16 Chase contenders fair?
Let’s have a look and see.

POWER RANKINGS: Bad Boy Off Road 300 Edition

1. KEVIN HARVICK (95 POINTS, +4)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Ahh, there’s the Closer we all remember so well. Onto the Round of 12.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch
“I told you we hadn’t heard the last from Kevin Harvick in the Chase.” – Jim Utter, Motorsport

2.  MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (87 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“I LED THE MOST LAPS AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY ‘SEVENTH PLACE’ T-SHIRT.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
“He can run fast almost anywhere, but putting complete races together is still a concern.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

3. BRAD KESELOWSKI (71 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
Brad’s car struggled on long runs, but a fourth-place finish keeps him atop the points standings and all but assures him of advancing into the next round. – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1

“Quiet, consistent, doing his job and leading the standings. I’ve got my eye on you, Kes.” – Bearden

4.  MATT KENSETH (67 POINTS, +5)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Loudon is Kenseth’s happy place. Cooking turn three on the outside of Harvick, it was a mistake that cost him a third straight win at the 1-mile track. Despite the loss, Kenseth needed a competitive run to boost him into next week’s elimination round at Dover.” – Zach Catanzareti, Frontstretch

“THE NASCAR TWITTER ACCOUNT TWEETED YOU WON. I WAS SO EXCITED I STARTED MAKING A SHOPPING LIST FOR DOLLAR GENERAL.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

5. KYLE BUSCH (52 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Remember when Kyle Busch dominated the field at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a lot of us were ready to put him in the Championship 4? Yeah, this was his first top five since then.” – Bearden

“Subtracting the late caution for Trevor Bayne, it could have been the No. 18 taking the win, as he was flying toward Harvick and Kenseth before the yellow mixed up the situation with less than 10 laps to go.” – Catanzareti

 6.   JOEY LOGANO (42 POINTS, -3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Logano was lucky to finish where he did after falling a lap down and twice missing out on the Lucky Dog. When he finally did get back on the lead lap, he was really too far back to make any challenge for the lead, but rallied enough to hold onto fifth in the Chase standings.” – McCole

“Surprisingly struggled, but nearly got a top 10 anyway. That will keep him in the championship hunt.” – Gable

7.   DENNY HAMLIN (34 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Needs to stop all the self-inflicted wounds on pit road.” – Utter
“HIS PIT CREW IS SO GOOD, SOMETIMES HIS TIRES RUN AWAY FROM INTIMIDATION.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

8.   KURT BUSCH (31 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Finished much better than he ran.  Sometimes that is how you win championships.” – Gable
“That was a season-saving rally in the last 50 laps. Can Busch make anything of it?” – Bearden

9. CARL EDWARDS (20 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH COMMITTMENT. THE COMMITMENT LINE TO PIT ROAD.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

“Rallied to a sixth-place finish after a pit road penalty but still fell one spot in the points standings and needs a decent finish at Dover to escape into the next round.” – McCole

10. JIMMIE JOHNSON (15 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Only an eighth-place finish, but Johnson topped Hendrick Motorsports on Sunday, while maintaining a semi-sweet 18-point gap over the cutoff. Big picture weekend.” – Catanzareti

“Things have been quiet in the No. 48 camp thus far. That could be a good thing. However, as we saw just last year, it could also be bad.” – Bearden

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR

It’s a couple Hendrick Motorsports teammates filling the spots just outside of the top 10 after New Hampshire. For one, a good run at Dover next week should equal advancement in the Chase. For the other, however, cracking “The 10” is about as good as things are going to get.

Chase Elliott (114 Points) – “The goal for this rookie in his first Chase it to survive the first round. So far, so good.” – Bearden

Kasey Kahne (11 Points) – “Where were all these top 10s a month ago when he really needed them?” – Gable

Others receiving votes: Austin Dillon (8), Kyle Larson (6), Alex Bowman (3), Danica Patrick (1)

Contributors

NameTwitter
Dustin Albino@DustinAlbino
Phil Allaway@Critic84
Aaron Bearden@AaronBearden93
Summer Bedgood@SummerBedgood
Tom Bowles@NASCARBowles
Greg Davis@GregMDavis
Sean Fesko@TheWriterSean
Michael Finley@FinleyFactor
Bryan GableN/A
Tony Lumbis@TonyLumbis
Toni Montgomery@ToniLMontgomery
Kevin Rutherford@surfwax83
Jason Schultz@NASCARJason
Joseph Wolkin@JosephNASCAR
NameTwitterPosition/Description
AnnoyingRaceFan @AnnoyingRaceFan I’M @annoyingracefan ON TWITTER (AND INSTAGRAM). PEOPLE CALL ME ARF. I’M A RELATIVE NOBODY.
MatthewDillner@MatthewDillnerNASCAR
Brian Eberly@beberly18Writer, Rubbings Racing, Motor Racing Digest
Mike Hembree@MikeHembreeWriter, USA Today
Ben Hinc@lemonlovrOwner, The Apex
Jerry Jordan@kicknthetiresOwner, Kicknthetires.Net
Pete McCole@PeteMcColeNASCAR Writer, AutoRacing1.com
The Orange Cone@TheOrangeConeI am an orange traffic cone.
Kyle Pokrefky@KPokrefkyWriter, The Fourth Turn
Reid Spencer@Reid_SpencerLead Writer, NASCAR Wire Service
Doug Turnbull@DougTurnbullAnnouncer, PRN Live, Atlanta Motor Speedway
Jim Utter@jim_utterNASCAR Editor, Motorsport.com

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