Chase for the Sprint Cup Rundown: Loudon

Denny Hamlin dominated Chase Race No. 2 on the way to the 100th victory for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin is just seven points behind points leader, Jimmie Johnson. (Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin dominated Chase Race No. 2 on the way to the 100th victory for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin is just seven points behind points leader, Jimmie Johnson. (Getty Images)

Loudon, N.H., — Denny Hamlin drove away with the second race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup crossing the finish ahead of Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

The Chase field did see minimal shakeup after the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a familiar driver on top the standings.

Jimmie Johnson
Johnson finished second for the second week in the Chase and moved to the top of the standings. Johnson is happy with where the team is performing and is looking forward to tracks where Johnson typically runs well—next week in Dover.

“This track here (New Hampshire), we have a few wins, but average a top-10, so to beat our average here is really important and very helpful in the Chase,” Johnson said. “We have to go to Dover next weekend, a place I love and hope we have a good smart day.”

Brad Keselowski (left) and Jimmie Johnson (right) are separated by just one point in the Sprint Cup points standings following the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Getty Images)

Brad Keselowski (-1)
Keselowski finished sixth, and said the team kept digging to make something happen toward the end of the race.

“Not an awesome day, and not a bad day,” said Keselowski. “A solid effort, sixth place, if we can do that every week that’s pretty good.”

Denny Hamlin (-7)
Hamlin started in 28th after a poor qualifying effort, but that didn’t matter as Hamlin raced to the lead by lap 93. Hamlin said he has complete confidence in his team and that the race cars they are providing are, “lightening fast.”

“It doesn’t hurt to have a little confidence in your team,” said Hamlin. “I know we made a couple big mistakes over the last two weeks, but I said we were fast enough to make it up.”

“You don’t want to sound too cocky, but I knew what we were capable of,” Hamlin added. “Our car was extremely strong and I have a really good knack for this racetrack and the two together with a crew chief like Darian (Grubb) it’s a winning combination.”

Tony Stewart (-10)
Stewart finished seventh.

Kasey Kahne (-15)
Another consistent day and a fifth place finish for Kahne with solid performance on the track, and pit road. Kahne says the team needs to get faster in order to catch the No. 48 (Johnson), No. 11 (Hamlin), and the No. 2 (Keselowski).

“We have been pretty consistent so far so the first two are good for the Chase,” said Kahne. “Hopefully, we can keep it going and get a little faster if we want to catch those other guys. That would be pretty cool.”

Clint Bowyer (-15)
“I was hopeing to capitalize a little more at this racetrack, this is one of my favorite taracks it’s been good to me over the yars. Not what I wanted, but certainly what we needed. A solid race a top-5 that keeps us in the hunt and we’ll go on to Dover.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-26)
Earnhardt finished 13th after struggling with handling throughout the day.

Kevin Harvick (-31)
Harvick finished in the 11th position.

Greg Biffle (-33)
The Roush-Fenway Racing duo of Biffle and Kenseth both struggled throughout the day. Biffle finished 14th after battling overall grip.

“Our car just didn’t have any grip right when we unloaded off the truck and never fixed it,” Biffle said. “We were doing really well in the middle part of the race and I thought, ‘Man, we’ve got something. We’re going.’ We got up to 10th and then just went straight backwards.”

Martin Truex, Jr., (-34)
Truex finished 17th.

Gordon brought the field to green after winning the pole for Sunday’s Sylvania 300, but Hamlin drove away from the field. Gordon finished third. (Getty Images)

Matt Kenseth (-35)
Kenseth struggled along with teammate Biffle and finished 18th. Kenseth said on the long runs the car was “about a 10th place car,” but the caution with 26 laps remaining worked against the No. 17 team.

“Last week was last week and this week we got everything we could get out of our car,” said Kenseth. “It wasn’t much better than that. I thought we had really good pit stops and did what we could for strategy.”

Jeff Gordon (-45)
Gordon finished in third place and had a positive rebound from an unfortunate start to the Chase in Chicago.

“We gained a lot on a lot of guys,” said Gordon, who started on the pole. “It’s going to be tough to gain on guys like the No. 48 (Johnson) and the No.2 (Keselowski) and certainly on days like today, nobody was going to gain on that No. 11 (Hamlin).

“It was still a really good effort, a top-three,” Gordon added.