A strategy filled afternoon in New Hampshire put Kasey Kahne in victory lane at the end of the race. Kahne won his second race of the season and put himself in the first wild card position. Kahne said to make the chase he “need(s) to stay after it.” This win was definitely a momentum builder for Kahne and will help him come chase time. The rain threatened but never arrived at the track.
Pole-sitter Kyle Busch led all the laps until the first round of green-flag pit stops began on lap 60. Busch had a slow stop and then received a speeding penalty. That put Busch in 22nd position. Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin then assumed the lead after pit stops. The first caution of the day came out on lap 89 when debris was spotted on the track. Jeff Gordon did not pit and he took over as race leader followed by Hamlin, Johnson, Kahne and Earnhardt Jr. Hamlin would soon take the lead from Gordon.
Hendrick dominance was present in the race and on lap 98 we saw all four Hendrick drivers in the top five. At the halfway point in the race, Hamlin led followed by Johnson, Kahne, Earnhardt Jr and Keselowski. On lap 154 the second round of green-flag pit stops began. Hamlin still was the leader following the stops. The second yellow-flag came out on lap 191 when more debris was spotted on the track. On the restart, Kyle Busch who stayed out was the leader. Hamlin would soon pass Busch and inherit the lead.
On lap 235 the caution came out for David Reutimann who blew his engine and left liquid on the track. Just before the caution came out, we saw Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch pit and that put them both a lap down and Johnson received the lucky dog. Busch would take the wave around and get back on the lead lap. Kasey Kahne made the strategic move and took two tires and the lead for the restart. Hamlin decided to take four tires and started deep in the field on the restart.
On lap 272, Hamlin continued his quest to the front and passed Earnhardt Jr for third. Hamlin eventually passed Bowyer for second and started to charge towards Kahne. Hamlin would come up short of reaching Kahne in the final laps and Kahne would cross the line first to pick up his second victory of the season. With the win, Kahne improved his chase chances that much more. Kahne said in victory lane that “Hamlin was obviously the best car” and he was lucky to beat Hamlin in the closing laps.
Kahne moved up to twelfth in points and now holds the first wild car position. Kyle Busch now holds the second wild card position. If Carl Edwards wins a race, he will be in position for a wild card spot. Kahne showed today that he is serious about contending for the championship by winning a race and almost setting a lock on a wild card position for him. In two weeks, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Indianapolis to kick-off ESPN’s coverage of the races. Before the Indianapolis race arrives, we should know the fate of A.J Allmendinger. The championship chase will heat up after this off-week as we near the start of the chase for the Sprint Cup.
Results via Nascar.com
|2||3||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Office||44/2||301||Running|
|3||5||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||5-hour Energy||42/1||301||Running|
|4||9||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||National Guard ‘An American Salute’ / Diet Mountain Dew||40/0||301||Running|
|5||22||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||40/1||301||Running|
|6||8||24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Pepsi Max||39/1||301||Running|
|8||12||29||Kevin Harvick||Chevrolet||Budweiser Folds of Honor||36/0||301||Running|
|10||6||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Aspen Dental||34/0||301||Running|
|11||4||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Batteries||33/0||301||Running|
|12||10||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Mobil 1||32/0||301||Running|
|14||16||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||Dollar General||30/0||301||Running|
ge.com / Aaron’s
|16||1||18||Kyle Busch||Toyota||Interstate Batteries||29/1||301||Running|
|17||13||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Quaker State / Menards||27/0||301||Running|
|18||21||99||Carl Edwards||Ford||Fastenal / Lenox||26/0||301||Running|
|20||28||1||Jamie McMurray||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / NRA Museum||24/0||300||Running|
|22||24||22||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil-AAA||0||300||Running|
|24||14||51||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction Services||21/1||299||Running|
|26||17||78||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||18/0||298||Running|
|27||39||38||David Gilliland||Ford||Glory Foods||17/0||298||Running|
|28||23||43||Aric Almirola||Ford||U.S. Air Force||16/0||298||Running|
|29||29||83||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||15/0||297||Running|
|30||30||93||Travis Kvapil||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||14/0||297||Running|
|31||37||32||Ken Schrader||Ford||Federated Auto Parts||13/0||294||Running|
|32||43||33||Stephen Leicht *||Chevrolet||Little Joes A
.com / TMone.com Call Centers in America
|34||19||34||David Ragan||Ford||MHP / 8 Hour Alert||10/0||139||Engine|
|35||40||30||David Stremme||Toyota||Stock Car Steel and Aluminum||9/0||101||Vibration|
|37||32||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||MDS Transport||7/0||82||Brakes|
|38||34||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves||0||71||Brakes|
|39||35||36||Dave Blaney||Chevrolet||Golden Corral||5/0||68||Brakes|
|40||36||98||Michael McDowell||Ford||Phil Parsons Racing||4/0||63||Vibration|
|41||41||23||Scott Riggs||Chevrolet||North Texas Pipe||3/0||32||Vibration|
|42||42||179||Kelly Bires||Ford||Team Kyle / Bestway Disposal||2/0||19||Brakes|