Kasey Kahne took advantage of a pit strategy miscommunication by Denny Hamlin to claim the victory in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire. It was Kahne’s second win of the season for Hendrick Motorsports and all but secured a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Kahne led the final 66 laps as Hamlin ran out of time in an attempt to catch the leader. The miscommunication between Hamlin and crew chief Darien Grubb centered on whether to take on two or four tires during the final pit stop. Grubb wanted to take two tires, but thought Hamlin wanted fresh rubber all around——- hence the longer pit stop cost him the race.
Clint Bowyer ran third, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski. The victory was Kahne’s first at the “Magic Mile” and 14th of his career.
As word spread that rain might shorten the race, pit strategies began to change. Pole-sitter Kyle Busch stayed out as the final pit stop neared, while the leaders chose to come in for tires/fuel. Kyle lost as the rain never materialized and finished out of the running for a win as his old tires slowed him. The teams are off next week as they get ready for the “Brickyard” and Indy.
Sprint Cup standings (with points behind the leader) after 19 of 36 races: 1. M. Kenseth 2. Dale Jr. (-16) 3. G. Biffle (-40) 4. J. Johnson (-51) 5. D. Hamlin (-79) 6. K. Harvick (-85) 7. T. Stewart (-89) 8. M. Truex Jr. (-90) 9. C. Bowyer (-93) 10. B. Keselowski (-94).
In Saturday’s F.W. Webb 200 Nationwide series race, pole winner Brad Keselowski held off Kevin Harvick in the closing laps and claimed his first win at New Hampshire’s “magic mile”. The victory was Brad’s second of the season and 19th of his career.
Following the race, Harvick, who finished .717 seconds behind Keselowski, expressed displeasure with Amber Cope by tapping he r #24 Chevrolet on the cool-down lap, feeling she impeded Harvick’s progress and opened the door for Keselowski to pass him. “It was one of those days when things came together for us,” said Keselowski following the race. Brad led a race high 131 of the 200 lap race.
Austin Dillon finished third, winning Nationwide’s $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus and established his eligibility for next week’s bonus at Chicagoland. Sam Hornish Jr. ran fourth, followed by defending champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Nationwide Series standings (with points behind leader) after 17 of 33 races: 1. E. Sadler. 2. A. Dillon (-3) 3. R. Stenhouse Jr. (-16) 4. S. Hornish Jr. (-32) 5. J. Allgaier (-73) 6. M. Annett (-99) 7. C. Whitt (-114) 8. M. Bliss (-170) 9. D. Patrick (-215) 10. B. Scott (-231).