LOUDON, N.H. (AP) – Kevin Harvick held off a late challenge by Carl Edwards to grab his second NASCAR Busch Series victory of the season Saturday at New Hampshire International Speedway.
The two-time Busch champion, who had not won since the opening weekend of the season when he swept the Busch and Nextel Cup races at Daytona, picked up his 28th career victory in Busch.
Juan Pablo Montoya was running in fifth place when he and Clint Bowyer collided on lap 165 of 200 on the 1.058-mile oval, bringing out the last of six yellow flags in the race.
Matt Kenseth, who wound up third, took the lead with a two-tire stop during the ensuing caution period. Harvick, who led a dominating 166 laps, was second when the race restarted for the last time on lap 172.
But Harvick easily drove into the lead halfway through that lap and stayed out front the rest of the way. Edwards, who has four wins this season and is the runaway points leader, also got past Kenseth on lap 181 and went after the leader.
Edwards got right up to Harvick’s rear bumper with two laps to go. He made one final try to duck under the leader on the final lap, but Harvick held Edwards off by about two car lengths.
“We kind of geared up for short runs, hoping it would come down to that kind of run at the end,” said Harvick, driving a part-time Busch schedule this season. “I knew he was going to come after me on the bottom, try to get underneath us, and we were able to hold him off.
“Seems like old times, beating the (No.) 60 and winning the race. This team is the same bunch of guys we won the championship with last year,” added Harvick, who won nine times last year.
Edwards said he was just trying to put pressure on Harvick at the end.
“I thought, “Maybe I can rattle him a little bit and he’ll slide up or something,’ but that’s all I had,” he said. “We just ran out of time.”
Harvick, driving the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, was the 21st different driver to win in 21 Busch races at the Loudon track.
Tony Stewart, driving a car owned by Harvick and his wife, Delana, wound up fourth, followed by Denny Hamlin, Bowyer and Greg Biffle. Cup drivers, who will race here Sunday, swept the top 10 places. Montoya wound up 34th.