It was about Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski all Sunday long. When he wasn’t leading, he was battling for the lead and took care of the field after restarting outside the top ten on several occasions after pit stops. He controlled the Camping World RV Sales 301 Sunday afternoon and took home the trophy – and the lobster – at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
He also won the Nationwide Series race, the Sta-Green 200, Saturday afternoon.
Kyle Busch started on the pole and showed early speed but started falling in the field after Denny Hamlin took over the lead on lap 63. Keselowski would soon put the pressure on Hamlin for the lead on lap 74. Hamlin would take over the lead again on lap 81 after green flag pit stops. Keselowski would find his rhythm again and power his way to the lead on lap 90 after lapped traffic helped Keselowski make the pass by Hamlin.
A debris caution on lap 112 would shuffle up the running order when the field went back to green on lap 118. The race leader slipped back to tenth after taking four tires on the pit stop while others took two tires. Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch were on the front row on the restart and the two were door-to-door for two laps for the lead and Kyle Larson won the battle. It wasn’t too much longer when Matt Kenseth moved to the second spot and soon to the lead. Keselowski was picking off car after car until he set his sights on Matt Kenseth. Keselowski would take back the lead on lap 139.
A debris caution on lap 154 would again shuffle the field after pit stops with Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer at the front. Logano took the lead but Bowyer took over the top spot after only a few laps. Nineteen laps and a caution later, Keselowski was again the leader.
A few more cautions would be called and Keselowski would not get the best track position on the restart but he would eventually find his way to the front.
Justin Allgaier brought out the last caution of the day with four laps to go which set up a green-white-checkered finish.
On the final restart of the race, it was Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick at the front. Harvick had stayed out and gambled with fuel. Jeff Gordon, who was running in the top three by the time the caution flew, ran out of gas while running caution laps and had to be pushed back to the pits. On the restart, Keselowski and Harvick led the field to green and right as they reached the restart box Harvick ran out of gas. Keselowski was easily able to get to the front and set sail from there.
It was a great battle for the third place position between Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth in the closing laps. Kenseth was attempting the pass on Larson on the last lap of the race and it was thisclose at the finish line. They were door to door when Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Larson was able to edge out Kenseth for the third spot. Kyle Busch quietly finished in the runner-up position.
Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano had a rough day at the track. Jimmie Johnson had a flat left rear in by lap four. He came down to pit road and the crew changed tires but it went flat again within a couple of turns which caused Johnson to spin into the outside wall. He would be done for the day. In a tweet from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Goodyear reportedly said that the tire pressure was below recommendation for the race.
Joey Logano was attempting to get around the lapped car of Morgan Shepherd when Shepherd got into the back bumper of Logano, sending him into the fence. Logano was running second at the time while Shepherd was fourteen laps down. Logano was out of the race on lap 213.
Jeff Gordon had an up and down day. He was running pretty well at the beginning of the race and then got shuffled back to 22nd. Strategy and pit stops worked to his advantage as he was able to sneak into the top ten by the end of the race. He even led 19 laps at the end of the contest. As previously mentioned, he gambled with fuel and lost and finished 26th.
Tony Stewart also had a roller coaster of a day. He was in the top three for a lot of the beginning of the race but experienced an alternator issue and started falling back in the field. At one point, he was 19th in the running order. After things appeared to resolve themselves, Stewart started to rebound and restarted tenth in the green-white-checkered finish. He had a seventh place finish.
The top ten: Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
The Sprint Cup Series drivers are off this next week so the next race will be Sunday, July 27 at 1 p.m. ET at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400.
The next NASCAR Nationwide Series race will be Saturday, July 19 at Chicagoland Speedway for the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I will be at Chicagoland Speedway for the race so make sure to check www.wkvi.com under Behind the Wheel often throughout the day on Saturday for race information, updates, INTERVIEWS, and behind the scenes pictures.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is also off this week. The next race in that series will be the 1-800-CarCash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday, July 23 at 9 p.m. ET.