By Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
- Bush now tied with Martin for most Nationwide wins
- Three-peat for Busch at Loudon
- Harvick, Kahne finish 2nd & 3rd
Kyle Busch makes history at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Kyle Busch claimed NASCAR Nationwide Series career win number 49 and NASCAR national wins to 100, which consists of the top three series, when he drove his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to victory in the New England 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday.
“Forty-nine equals 100,” a jubilant Busch yelled on the radio after taking the checkered flag.
It (the win) certainly feels good.
Kevin Harvick placed second in the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne was third in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
Kahne methodically made his way toward the front as drivers in front of him wrecked their ways out of the race.
“The cool thing was I got to be back behind all those wrecks,” Kahne said.
The win ties Busch with Mark Martin for the first spot on the all-time win list in Nationwide Series competition and makes him only the third driver to claim 100 national level NASCAR wins. Richard Petty and David Pearson are the other two.
“It certainly feels good,” Busch said after the race of his milestone win.
The win was also Busch’s third-consecutive Nationwide win at NHMS. He is still the only repeat winner in NNS competition at the track.
Brad Keselowski started the race from the pole in the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge but was passed by Harvick on the first lap. Harvick went on to lead the first 33 laps of the race until Ricky Stenhouse Jr. brought out the first caution of the event with a spin in his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
“I made a mistake there early trying to get by the No. 31 (Justin Allgaier),” Stenhouse said after the race.
A pair of Roush Fenway Racing drivers, Carl Edwards in the No. 60 Ford and Trevor Bayne in the No. 16 Ford, opted to take only two fresh tires during the caution to restart the race on the front row. As Edwards slid back several positions on the restart, Bayne assumed the lead and pulled away from the rest of the field.
Edwards fell out of the race a few laps later because of a mechanical issue.
“(Car owner) Jack (Roush) said it is a broken valve or broken valve spring,” Edwards said.
Bayne continued to lead until Harvick got back to the top spot on pit road during the second caution of the race that came out near the halfway point of the event. Bayne was relegated to third on the restart. Keselowski restarted second beside Harvick on the front row.
Another caution came out just a few laps later, on lap 102, when Mikey Kile spun, setting the race up for a restart with Harvick and Keselowski on the front row, and the Joe Gibbs racing teammates of Busch and Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota, on the second row.
Stenhouse was one of only a handful of drivers to pit under a caution soon after on lap 106. Stenhouse found himself back up front, though, when he stayed out under the next caution that came out as a result of a Derrike Cope engine issue on lap 116.
Stenhouse stayed out, even though the call would mean that he would be about three laps short on fuel to make it the rest of the way. The leaders pitted and were good to go. A rash of late race cautions worked in Stenhouse’s favor, and he was able to make it the rest of the distance to finish fourth.
The ninth and final caution of the day resulted in a green-white-checker, two lap sprint to the finish with Busch and Harvick on the front row to race for the win. The two raced side-by-side for a time after the restart, but Busch was finally able to pull away on the final lap to take the win.
Aric Almirola rounded out the top-five in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.