Brad Keselowski was untouchable during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, starting from pole position and leading most of the event
The No. 22 Team Penske Ford of Brad Keselowski dominated the StaGreen 200 NASCAR Nationwide race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Saturday, leading 152 of the 200 laps that made up the race, en route to the victory. It's the 29th career Nationwide win for Keselowski and his second this season.
"This team has deserved to win a few races, here, and things just haven't gone their way," Keselowski said.
The No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch finished second, and the No. 20 JGR Toyota of Matt Kenseth was third.
"We start third and finished third," Kenseth said. "We had a pretty good Interstate Batteries Toyota; we just weren't as good as the 22 and 54."
Keselowski started on the pole but Busch took over at the start of the race and led the first 34 laps until Keselowski finally got his chance out front on lap 35. Keselowski then led most of the remainder of the race with Busch trailing him in second for most of the distance.
"The more we ran, the tighter in we got and the looser off we got," Busch amitted. "That was about all we had."
The No. 42 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet of Kyle Larson was able to to take second from Busch around the halfway point of the race as Kyle fell back. He wound up dropping all the way down to seventh, so he opted to join the handful of drivers who pitted when the yellow flag waved just past the halfway mark.
Larson was then able to take the lead from Keselowski on another restart a few laps later and led a total of 11 laps before Keselowski fought back by. Soon after, Busch moved back up to the runner-up position. The No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Chris Buescher stayed out while the other lead lap cars pitted during a caution with 60 laps remaining, briefly taking over the lead. As soon as the race restarted, he was overwhelmed by Keselowski and the other leaders.
Keselowski would pull away from Busch slightly, but then Busch would gain on him in lapped traffic as the laps wound down. But through the final stretch, Keselowski was able to maintain his position up front to claim his second series win of the season and his secondcareer Nationwide win at New Hampshre.
"Lapped traffic is always difficult here at Loudon, but they gave me a few breaks," Keselowski said.
Larson finished fourth, and Buescher rounded out the topfive, despite finishing some 16 seconds behind Keselowski.
Regan Smith, driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, finished 10th, highest among the four drivers eligible for the NHMS $100,000 Dash 4 Cash Bonus (Ryan Reed, Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements), taking the bonus and making himself eligible for the next $100,000 bonus to be awarded at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., next weekend.
The other three drivers who made themselves eligible to race for the Chicagoland bonus by being the three highest finishing Nationwide Series championship eligible drivers at New Hampshire were Chris Buescher (No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford), Elliott Sadler (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racig Toyota), and Brian Scott (No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet). Buescher, Sadler and Scott finished fifth through seventh.
The No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Chase Elliott finished eighth, and the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Trevor Bayne was ninth. In the championship standings, Regan Smith leads Elliott Sadler by eight points and teammate Chase Elliott by 13.
During the post-race celebration, Keselowski dropped the American flag. He noted afterwards that his injured hand was a bit sore following the race, causing him to lose his grip.