Harvick wins Busch race On short runs, Kevin Harvick was untouchable.
So when Clint Bowyer spun Juan Pablo Montoya to bring out the sixth and final caution on Lap 164 of Saturday's Camping World 200 Busch Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway, Harvick's 28th victory in the series seemed all but a foregone conclusion.
Not so fast, said NASCAR Busch Series runaway points leader Carl Edwards to the defending Busch champion. Late in a 29-lap green-flag run to the finish, Edwards made up ground on Harvick and closed to the rear bumper of the No. 21 Chevrolet on the final lap.
Entering the final two corners, Edwards drove his No. 60 Ford to the bottom of the track in a desperate attempt to make the winning pass, but Harvick, the polesitter, held off the last-ditch effort from last year's race winner to become the 21st different winner in 21 Busch races at the Magic Mile.
Matt Kenseth, who gambled on a two-tire call on his final pit stop, held on to third place. Tony Stewart ran fourth, followed by Denny Hamlin, Bowyer, Greg Biffle, David Reutimann, Reed Sorenson and Casey Mears completed the top 10.
"Seems like old times," said Harvick, who won his second Busch race in 2007. "Beat the 60 and win the race. It's a lot of fun to race with Carl.
"We kind of geared up for short runs, but we were pretty tight there at the end -- probably should have loosened it up a bit. But I had to protect the bottom. I knew he was going to dive in there and try to get underneath me."
Having finished second last year at New Hampshire and eighth in the 2005 race, Harvick admitted to a strategy change for Saturday's event.
"We've lost the race the last two years by setting up our car for long runs," Harvick said. "We didn't want to lose another race because it came down to a short run and I couldn't get going and got passed by people and ended up losing track position.
"So we wanted to pounce while we could at the beginning of a run and get track position and drive as far away as we could at the beginning of a run. It came down to a 28- or 29-lap run there at the end, and that just played into our hands."
Edwards said he probably needed five more laps to wrest the win from Harvick.
"I just ran out of time," Edwards said. "There at the end, it was really exciting. I would be running him down a little bit, and I could see him get a little slower and slower as we got closer and closer. . .
"That last corner, I just drove it down in there, just thinking maybe I could rattle him a little bit, or he'd slide up or something -- but that was all I had. I just needed more time."
Montoya was upset with the contact from Bowyer -- and doubly so after he saw the replay of the accident that caused the final caution. Bowyer dove beneath Montoya in Turn 1 and tapped the back bumper of the No. 42 Dodge.
"I just got spun by the (No.) 2 car," Montoya complained. "He just spun me -- no reason."
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