Kevin Harvick made a great late-race restart to win Sunday’s Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Here are 10 things we learned in the second race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup:
Law and order
For all the debate about rules and cheating in the last few weeks, for the first time, all 16 Chase cars went through NASCAR’s laser inspection station after the race. And guess what? All 16 passed.
Don't screw it up
As usual, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin had fast Toyotas at New Hampshire. But during pit stops, Edwards had a commitment line violation, while Hamlin was penalized for an errant tire. Neither man won on Sunday. And if they want to go deep in the Chase, they need to clear up the errors.
Lead the way
Martin Truex Jr. has now led 1,407 laps this season, or 17.7 percent of all the laps run in the 28 Cup races so far. That’s one of the big reasons Truex remains a favorite to win the title this year -- his Furniture Row Racing Toyota is frequently faster than those out of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable.
NASCAR via Getty ImagesRainier Ehrhardt
Ready to repeat?
Quietly, Kyle Busch’s attempt to repeat as Sprint Cup champion has gotten off to a strong start. Busch finished third at New Hampshire and is third in points, up from 13th a year ago after this race.
Still points racing
The Team Penske Fords haven’t shown the raw speed of the best Chevrolets and Toyotas so far in the Chase But by virtue of consistency, a lack of critical mistakes and some sound strategy, Brad Keselowski leads the points. He is a slam dunk to advance to the next round of the Chase and his Penske teammate Joey Logano looks good, too.
Woulda', coulda', shoulda'
Had Kasey Kahne made the Chase instead of missing it for the second consecutive season, he’d be 12th in points right now by virtue of his top-10 finishes in each of the first two Chase races.
The two drivers on the Chase bubble are teammates at Chip Ganassi Racing. Kyle Larson current holds down the 12th spot, the last position that will advance into Round 2. Right behind him in 13th place is his teammate, Jamie McMurray. Just five points separate the two.
Seal the deal
In the first two Chase races, the driver who led the most laps didn’t win. At Chicagoland Speedway, Jimmie Johnson led 118 laps but finished 12th, while Martin Truex Jr. won. Sunday at New Hampshire, Truex led 141 laps but won up seventh, as race-winner Kevin Harvick led only eight laps.
In Tony Stewart’s last full season of Sprint Cup racing, he sits 15th in points, 11 behind the Chase cutoff. Last year, Jeff Gordon made it all the way to Homestead in his last try, but Stewart’s got his work cut out for him if he is to advance out of the first round of the Chase this time around.
One year ago
Right now, Jimmie Johnson is 18 points ahead of the Chase cut off. Last year at this time, Johnson was 27 points ahead, but he got knocked out at Dover. After this New Hampshire race last year, neither Kyle Busch nor Kevin Harvick were in the top 12 in points, but they went on to finish 1-2 in the championship. Anything is still possible.