Chevrolet’s winless steak continued Sunday as Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel with two laps to go in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire and turned over his position to eventual race winner Matt Kenseth. The result is Kenseth’s fifth win of 2015, giving him the most wins among the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and successfully moving him from the Challenger round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup to the Contender round.
Harvick had led 216 laps before running out of gas and looked to be on his way to a much-needed win. Now the consistent Stewart-Haas racing driver is heading to Dover next week with even more weight on his shoulders, feeling the need to win where he never has before in order to keep his Sprint Cup bid alive. Kenseth was able to keep enough fuel on board until the end of the race by pitting late on Lap 239, a call made by crew chief Jason Ratcliff.
“It feels great to win here — a lot of great race fans here at New Hampshire,” Kenseth told NASCAR.com. “We had a great car today — Kevin definitely had the field covered Jason (Ratcliff) did a great job on pit strategy there, and those new tires paid off better than we thought to get up through the field.”
“And I was able to keep the pressure on enough and (Harvick) came up a little short,” he added.
In behind Kenseth was his Joe Gibbs Raicng teammate and winner of last week’s Sprint Cup race Denny Hamlin, who claimed the podium spot despite a late-race issue with his right front wheel. Team Penske’s Joey Logano claimed third, with Greg Biffle and the Carl Edwards rounding out the top five. Several big names fell victim to strategy or car trouble, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., who ran out of fuel with two laps left and finished 25th, and Kyle Busch, who blew a left front tire a hit the wall on Lap 159 before turning up 37th.
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series continues next week when the series heads to Dover for the AAA 400. Click here for full results from New Hampshire and here for a full schedule of next weekend’s NASCAR festivities.