In the Xfinity Series’ Roxor 200 on Saturday, July 20, Bell led all but 14 laps en route to his fifth win of the season.
In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, Harvick again hoisted the lobster. This time around, though, was under slightly different circumstances. For one, this was his first win of the 2019 season. Last year he had five trophies on his shelf before the race at Loudon. Also, crew chief Rodney Childers having Harvick stay out while the leaders pitted on the last caution was key for his victory. He was able to hold off a surging Denny Hamlin in the closing laps, who tried to do what Harvick did to Kyle Busch in 2018.
Harvick, thanks to that final strategy call, came out on top at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He picked up Stewart-Haas Racing’s first win of the year and broke the Chevrolet’s recent win streak. It was his 46th win of his Cup Series career. He also has six top fives and 12 top-10 finishes this season, and has an average finish of 12.2. The win puts him third in the points standings behind Joey Logano and Kyle Busch.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. It wasn’t an ideal finish for someone who was less than 50 points out of the playoff picture coming into this race. Stenhouse cut a tire down after racing with Erik Jones, hitting the wall hard. The damage was too severe to repair, and he was scored as next to last, ahead of Daniel Hemric. It was a frustrating afternoon for the Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 team, which is now 20th in the championship standings.
Ryan Newman. On Roush Fenway Racing’s other end of the spectrum, Newman earned his fifth top 10 in the past six races. What looked to be a washed-out weekend for the No. 6 team turned out fine once the Scott Graves-led group repaired the engine’s issues, rebounding to seventh. This was the team’s second car of the weekend (as was the case for quite a few drivers), but Newman worked his way through the field for a good finish. It helped him to get to one spot above the playoff cut line, up to 15th in the standings.
Austin Dillon. Since earning 10th place at Chicagoland, Dillon has three straight finishes of 32nd or worse. He’s starting to look like he’ll need a win in order to get in to the playoffs, but his chances are looking slim. If Dillon doesn’t crash out early next week at Pocono, like he did earlier this season, he could have a strong race. He’ll look to earn his fourth top 10 of 2019 there.
Matt DiBenedetto. “Guido” has two top fives and three top 10s in the past five races. It’s a pretty strong stretch so far for the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing team. His top fives in 2019 are the first two of his career, and Sunday’s fifth-place run was his first on an oval. Quite an accomplishment for an underdog, though his team has an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Jimmie Johnson. After he looked to be turning his bad luck around, Johnson now has two consecutive 30th-place finishes. This time at Loudon, the poor finish was a result of a power steering and water pump issue. He ended the race 13 laps down and still only has three top fives and eight top 10s out of 20 races this year. His average finish so far is 15.1, and he’s just outside the cut line in the points standings behind Clint Bowyer.
Paint Schemes of the Week
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 21, 2019
Not only was Harvick victorious Sunday, but fans were too. For every green flag pass Harvick made, a fan won an annual pass to National Parks and Forests. Busch Beer also is donating to the National Forest Foundation the amount one annual pass costs for each pass on the track. One annual pass equals about 80 trees to plant in a National Forest.
This unique scheme was both fan and environmentally friendly, and fit the brand and team very well.
— Ross Chastain (@RossChastain) July 21, 2019
Ross Chastain’s No. 15 Yvars Branding Chevrolet is one of the more underrated paint schemes in my opinion. With the black flames, yellow numbers and mostly blue background, it certainly stood out on the track. Even the tiniest details are set so precisely, enhancing the Camaro’s beauty. Considering Yvars utilizes “multi-color heat press technology,” it’s no surprise that the vastly bright and dark colors worked so well together.
— Martin Truex Jr. (@MartinTruex_Jr) July 22, 2019
You know you have a fast car when you suffer this type of damage and still finish in the top 10.
— LeavineFamilyRacing (@LFR95) July 21, 2019
More proof that NASCAR drivers are athletes.
New number 1 fan coming February 2020! Lee, party of 3!! pic.twitter.com/oXeQiApvIU
— Shane Lee (@ShaneLeeRacing) July 21, 2019
Congratulations to Shane Lee and his family!
Also, keep Kaulig Racing and Nick Harrison’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
All three national series are back to racing this weekend. The MENCS and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series head to Pocono Raceway, while the Xfinity Series returns to Iowa Speedway.
The Gander RV 150 is slated to run Saturday, July 27 at 1 p.m. ET, with TV coverage on Fox. Todd Gilliland finished seventh in this race last year after starting second, and hopes to earn his first victory at the Tricky Triangle.
The US Cellular 250 is set to air later on Saturday, with coverage at 5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Cole Custer looks to end Christopher Bell’s win streak at Iowa. He finished second behind Bell in June after capturing the pole.
The Gander RV 400 is scheduled to run Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Kyle Busch hasn’t won in the past six races this year. He won at Pocono earlier this year in June, and including that win, he was first to the checkered flag in three of the previous four races at this track.