Kyle Busch was able to put it all together Sunday. Here’s how it all went down at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday.
From his eighth pole of the season, and his fourth at New Hampshire Kyle Busch led the field to the green; Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.
Busch had the lead by turn 1; it was three wide for second behind. Blaney took the spot by the end of the lap, Hamlin third, Larson fourth, Truex was fifth.
By the second lap, Larson had fallen to fifth after nearly losing it exiting turn 2.
Truex took third on lap 7.
Joey Logano, who started in the rear of the field after not qualifying on Friday, was 17th by lap 11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. smacked the wall while running 16th on the same lap; he fell to 23rd. Kyle Busch had already started to lap the field.
Truex took second on lap 14. Busch’s lead was 1.5 seconds.
Truex had closed the gap and was looking for the lead by lap 28.
The two battled side by side for several laps;
Larson retook third on lap 37. Meanwhile Truex was still looking for the lead.
Truex was finally able to get the top spot to start lap 41.
By lap 51 the lead for Truex was up to 1.5 seconds. Erik Jones had worked his way into fourth, Blaney was fifth.
Larson had caught Busch and was looking for second by lap 60. He had the spot on lap 62 in heavy traffic.
With 12 laps to go in the stage, Truex had a lead of 2.6 seconds.
Top 10 Stage 1: Truex, Larson, Kyle Busch, Jones, Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. The first yellow of the day came out to end the stage.
The leaders all pitted. Truex was out first followed by Kyle Busch, Larson, Keselowski and Kenseth.
Green came out to start lap 83, and Stage 2. Truex elected to take the top lane and had the lead by turn 2. Busch held off Larson for second; Keselowski had fourth, Kenseth maintained fifth.
Kenseth had fourth by lap 100; Keselowski was fifth.
The lead for Truex was less than a second by lap 122 as there were 23 cars on the lead lap.
Busch was looking for the lead in heavy traffic on lap 126. Kenseth had third, Larson had slipped back to fourth.
With 10 to go in Stage 2, Truex had stretched his lead out to 1 second.
Harvick spun coming out of turn 2 on the last lap of Stage 2, lap 149. Truex, Kurt Busch, and many others were swept up when smoke blocked the track and Truex ran right into it. Kyle Busch avoided the melee and went on to win the stage.
NASCAR was forced to throw the red flag as Harvick and Kurt Busch were locked together. Both were done for the day. In all NASCAR said there were 8 cars involved. Austin Dillon, Harvick, Danica Patrick, Hamlin, Jeffery Earnhardt, Kurt Busch, Truex and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Only Dillon, Harvick, Jeffery Earnhardt, and Kurt Busch were done for the day.
The top 10 after it was over, and Stage 2 ended: Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Larson, Keselowski, Jones, Truex, Hamlin, Johnson, Blaney and Jamie McMurray.
The red flag was lifted after 13 minutes, 2 seconds.
The leaders pitted. Busch was out first, followed by Kenseth, Larson, Jones and Keselowski. After extensive repairs, Truex came out 18th.
The green came out to start lap 160; Busch had the lead out of turn 2, Jones took second, Kenseth took third, Johnson fourth, Larson fifth. Johnson and Larson remained side by side for several laps. Larson took fourth on lap 165. Truex was up to 13th by lap 167.
Kenseth took second on lap 167. Hamlin was reporting a vibration; he pitted under green on lap 169. The crew did find a loose left wheel; he rejoined the field 19th, one lap down.
The lead for Busch was just over a half a second on lap 210. There were 16 cars on the lead lap.
Truex took tenth on lap 214.
Earnhardt Jr. lost a left front tire on lap 216 and made his way slowly to the pits.
Caution, three, came out on lap 220 for debris.
The leaders all pitted. Busch was out first followed by Larson, Jones, Kenseth and Keselowski.
Logano was penalized for a crewman over the wall too soon.
Green came out to start lap 225; Busch had the lead out of turn 2, Larson fell into second, Kenseth, Jones and Keselowski followed. Truex was able to move to eighth on the restart; he was seventh by lap 233.
Kenseth took second on lap 234; the lead was 2.6 seconds for Busch. Truex was seventh.
The lead was 3.3 seconds by lap 243.
Kasey Kahne stopped then slowed on lap 262 with a flat tire trying to get on pit road. Caution five came out as it appeared Kahne had a suspension issue. The leaders pitted as NASCAR held Kahne in the pits for causing the caution. When he was released, he made a lap then headed to the garage.
Truex with a two-tire stop was out first; Busch, Kenseth, Larson and Keselowski followed all had taken four tires.
Green came out on lap 367; Truex slipped out of the groove and Busch took the lead; but David Ragan spun in the back of the field and caution came back out.
After the scrambled restart the top five; Busch, Clint Bowyer, Kenseth, Truex and Larson.
Green came back out again to start lap 271.
Busch had the lead thanks to a push from Truex; but Trevor Bayne spun behind and caution came out once again.
The top five: Busch, Truex, Bowyer, Larson and Keselowski.
This restart came on lap 277, 23 laps to go; Busch had the advantage out of turn 2 but Larson was able to take second, Truex was third followed by Kenseth and Bowyer; Kahne came out of the garage and back to the track.
Bowyer fell back and Jones took fifth on lap 280 as Bowyer settled into seventh.
Kenseth was soon looking for third from Truex; Busch stretched his lead out to 1.3 seconds with 15 laps to go.
Keselowski was looking fourth from Kenseth on lap 288.
With 10 to go the lead was 1.5 seconds.
Keselowski took fourth from Truex on lap 295; Kenseth had taken third two laps earlier. The lead for Busch was 2.1 seconds.
Busch had no drama in the final laps and won by 2.6 seconds. Larson held on for second, Kenseth was third followed by Keselowski and Truex in the top five.
Jones was sixth, Bowyer seventh, Daniel Suarez eighth followed by Blaney and Logano.
Other Playoff drivers: Chase Elliott was 11th, Hamlin 12th, Ryan Newman 13th, Johnson 14th, Stenhouse Jr. 15th, McMurray 16th, Kahne 35th, Harvick, 36th, and Kurt Busch 37th.
The final race of the Round of 16 comes at Dover next Sunday with the Apache Warrior 400; four drivers will be eliminated. Live coverage will be on the NBC Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. ET.
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