Kevin Harvick used a bump-and-run on Kyle Busch with seven laps left to win a thrilling battle of two of NASCAR’s dominant drivers Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
Harvick aimed his Ford bumper at the right side of Busch’s Toyota and nudged the leader out of the way for the move of the race in another stellar showing for the leader of the Big Three.
“I felt like it was my best opportunity to do what I had to do to win,” Harvick said. “I didn’t want to wreck him. But I didn’t want to waste a bunch of time behind him.”
Added Busch: “How you race is you get raced.”
Harvick raced to his sixth victory of the season and went 1-2 in some order with Busch for the ninth time this year. Busch has five wins and Martin Truex Jr., fourth Sunday, has four.
The Big Three were threatened in a race delayed by rain for more than three hours by Aric Almirola, who replaced Danica Patrick in the No. 10 Ford, for a portion of the race. He threatened to crash the party and had his second career Cup victory in sight. He led for more than 40 laps but was derailed by a poor pit stop and spun his tires on a restart that cost him.
“You think I’d be happy,” he said.
Not in this race.
Almirola was the latest also-ran to realize drivers have to be perfect to catch either of the Big Three.
Harvick, who won his 43rd career race, was in New Hampshire.
Harvick reeled off three straight victories at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix and went back-to-back in May at Dover and Kansas. It had been seven races since he reached victory lane.
He did what he had to do again in the No. 4 Ford to celebrate for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Lewis Hamilton regained the championship lead in unexpected and dramatic fashion, winning the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim after Sebastian Vettel crashed while leading near the end.
Heavy rain played havoc late in the race as Vettel misjudged a basic entry into a turn and slid over the gravel into the barriers with 15 laps to go.
The four-time Formula One champion started from pole position and seemed in control. He was livid with himself, kicking the gravel in frustration as he stepped out of his car.
His mishap opened the door wide open for Hamilton.
The British driver was fourth at the time of the crash, having started from 14th on the grid because of a hydraulic problem in qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas started and finished second on a great day for Mercedes, with Kimi Raikkonen taking third on a bad one for Ferrari.
John Force raced to his first victory of the season and record-extending 149th career Funny Car win at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Morrison, Colorado.
The 69-year-old Force ended a frustrating crash-filled drought to win for the eighth time at Bandimere Speedway, edging Ron Capps in the final with a 4.075-second run at 315.42 mph.
Force drove the John Force Racing Camaro past Matt Hagan in the first round, Cruz Pedregon in the quarterfinals and daughter Courtney Force in the semifinals en route to his first victory since the Gatornationals in March 2017.
Leah Pritchett won in Top Fuel for her second victory of the season and seventh overall. She beat Doug Kalitta in the final with a 3.831 at 316.45.
Greg Anderson topped the Pro Stock field for his first win of the year and 91st overall, and Hector Arana Jr. won in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
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