Kyle Busch conceded that Kevin Harvick had the faster car on the long runs at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, so Busch wasn’t sure that Harvick needed to get into the No. 18 late in the going.
“But he did, it’s fine,” Busch said. “How you race is how you get raced.”
Harvick moved Busch out of the way with seven laps to go Sunday, helping him to secure his sixth win of the season. Busch wound up nearly two seconds behind as the runner-up.
“It’s not like I wrecked him,” said Harvick, who felt making contact and when he did was the best chance he had to win the race. “It’s the same thing as Chicago.
“Winning is important, and you’ve got to try to take every opportunity you can. I felt like my car was better; he was in the lane that I needed to be, and as you get to the end, as you saw at Chicago, you’ve got to be aggressive and do what you’ve got to do sometimes to win these races. It’s one of those deals, and we want to win. Points are everything and getting a ‘W’ is what it’s all about.”
Busch knows that well. In Chicago three weeks ago, it was Busch doing the bumping after Kyle Larson engaged him on the final lap. Busch was the winner of that race.
“Well, [Harvick] did that because of Chicago,” Busch said. “I think that he had a fair game. Everybody has fair game on Kyle Busch – that’s for sure when it comes to the fan base, so that’s fine. That’s how they want to race, that’s how I’ll race back, but it was just a bump. It wasn’t a big deal. He didn’t wreck me or anything like that, so he did it early enough, but he did it way harder and pushed me out of the groove three lanes and it just takes you so long to recover here that it was just no possible way I could get back to him, so – and I was slower anyways. I was in the way, so no harm, no foul.”
Not the best car Sunday afternoon, Busch led 36 laps after earning the lead on pit road during the final round of pit stops. Giving himself the advantage on the restart, Busch started to feel the heat from Harvick within the final 15 laps.
“We were not in a position we probably deserved to be in,” said Busch. “My guys worked really, really hard all day long. The performance of our car just wasn’t great from the onset of the weekend, throughout today’s race as well, too. We kept making it better.
“Adam Stevens and the guys made some good calls on getting us better, better, and better throughout the day. My pit crew putting us in position to have control of the last restart to be able to lead that many laps — it was just a matter of those SHR cars, they were really fast.
“A little bumping and banging, a little rubbing. We go racing next week.”
While Busch lost the race and the five additional playoff points, he remains in control of the overall point standings (and the additional 15 playoff points it brings) with six races remaining in the regular season.