Good win by the Joe Gibbs Racing team and driver Kyle Busch as they made it to the finish with just a tad of fuel in the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ New Hampshire Motor Speedway 200.
The No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch was in front of the race field for more than half of the CNBC The Profit 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Saturday. After three green-white-checker attempts, he went on to the win, his fourth series victory and Loudon and seventh win of the season.
"This Monster Energy Camry was awesome today," Busch said. "Although it seemed like we were really good, we had to work for it."
JGR teammate, Brian Vickers in the No. 20 Toyota, took second, while the No. 3 Richard Childress Chevrolet of Austin Dillon finished third. Dillon claimed an extra $100,000 as the highest finisher among four drivers eligible for the race's Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash bonus.
"It feels great," Dillon said. "I want to thank the good Lord above for keeping fuel in this baby."
Most drivers and teams were concerned about fuel mileage in the closing laps and grew more concerned with each green-white-checker attempt. Most of the front runners last pitted just before lap 120 during a green-flag cycle of stops. In the end, Dillon was able to run 96 laps on his final tank of fuel, while Busch was able to run 94, then do a victory burnout and drive to victory lane under power.
Joe Gibbs Racing dominated the event, as Busch, Vickers and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Matt Kenseth combined to lead all the laps. Kenseth wound up ninth after giving up track position to pit under caution for fuel with just under 80 laps to go.
Busch started the race from the pole and led the way until he lost six positions on pit road during a debris caution on lap 36. Vickers restarted with the lead, but lost that spot to Kenseth on the restart. Vickers got back up front on the restart that followed the next caution soon after.
Meanwhile, Busch worked his way back toward the front. He made his way up to second before lap 70, but had a hard time getting by Vickers to retake the lead. He finally got back to the front on lap 107.
After waiting until the end of the green-flag cycle to make a pit stop, Busch and Vickers finally headed down pit road on lap 119. By the time they got back on the race track, Kenseth was back up front and Busch was back in the race in second.
Kenseth gave up that lead to head down pit road to top off with fuel the next time the caution came out with about 79 laps to go. That moved Busch back into the lead. Both Dillon and the No. 12 Penske Racing Ford of Sam Hornish Jr. spent time running second to Busch until Vickers moved back up to second on a restart that followed a caution with about 70 laps to go.
The fourth Joe Gibbs Racing entry, the No. 11 Toyota of Elliott Sadler, ran inside the top-10 for much of the race, but he wound up 18th at the finish because of a spin on the final restart of the race after contact from the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Regan Smith.
The No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Brian Scott finished fourth, and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford of Michael Annett rounded out the top-five.
"This was a great run for Richard Petty Motorsports," Annett said. "We came back at Charlotte after the injury and just had the worst racing luck I've had since I've been in the Nationwide Series. We haven't been getting the finishes that we deserve. Finally, nothing stupid happened and we kept our nose clean and brought home a top-five and now we are eligible for the Dash 4 Cash at Chicago next week."
With his Dash 4 Cash bonus win, Dillon will be one of the four Dash 4 Cash drivers next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. The other three drivers racing for the bonus at Chicagoland will be Vickers, Scott and Annett, as they were the three highest-finishing series regulars, aside from Dillon.