Kyle Busch wins Stage 2 at NHMS after bizarre last-lap pileup

A last lap spin before the end of Stage 2 collected race leader Martin Truex Jr. and handed the stage win to Kyle Busch.

Truex had led 109 laps and appeared to be sailing to a second stage win in Sunday’s ISM Connect 300, when Kevin Harvick spun coming off on Turn 2 with an assist from Austin Dillon on Lap 149. Smoke from the No. 4 Ford blocked the view of Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Truex who was coming around the corner as Harvick slowed. Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Danica Patrick were also involved.

“Smoke, couldn’t see it,” Earnhardt said. “Whole track. I spun out trying to slow down.”

Matt Kenseth finished second as the stage ended under the red flag. Kyle Larson finished third followed by Brad Keselowski, Erik Jones, Truex, Hamlin, Johnson, Ryan Blaney and Jamie McMurray.

After pit stops, Truex held the point followed by Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Larson, Kesneth, Jones, Hamlin, Johnson, Blaney, McMurray, Harvick, Logano, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliiott, Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

With a push from Keselowski, Busch moved past the No. 42 Chevy on the Lap 82 restart. But Larson held on to third followed by Keselowski, Kenseth, Jones, Johnson, Hamlin, McMurray and Blaney.

By Lap 90, Truex held a .638-second lead over Kyle Busch followed by Larson, Keselowski, Kenseth, Jones, Johnson, Blaney, Hamlin and McMurray. Logano, Harvick, Bowyer, Elliott and Kurt Busch rounded off the top 15.

Hamlin passed Blaney for eighth on Lap 96. Kenseth passed Keselowski for fourth. Jones remained sixth followed by Johnson, Hamlin, Blaney and McMurray.

“I’m not bad, I just can’t go anywhere,” Blaney told the team.

With 50 laps remaining in the stage, Logano ran 11th followed by Harvick, Bowyer, Elliott, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Truex held a .658-second lead over Kyle Busch after the next 10 laps were completed.

The top 10 drivers did not change position by Lap 120. Clint Bowyer moved past Chase Elliott for 12th. Harvick ran 14th followed by Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch, Kahne, Earnhardt, Suarez and Newman. Ty Dillon pitted on Lap 121 after reports of fluid coming from the car. Kenseth passed Larson for third on Lap 123.

Kyle Busch moved to within two car lengths of Truex, who encountered lapped traffic. With 20 laps to go in the stage, his lead was .358-seconds and shrinking.

“Working the bottom here,” spotter Clayton Hughes told Truex of Busch.

Truex caught fellow playoff driver Stenhouse on Lap 136. He lapped the No. 17 Ford on the next circuit leaving 22 cars on the lead lap. Hamlin finally passed Johnson in Turn 2 for seventh with 10 laps remaining in the stage. Blaney ran ninth followed by McMurray, Logano, Bowyer, Elliott, Harvick and Austin Dillon.

On Lap 146, Truex lapped the second playoff driver — Ryan Newman — leaving 20 cars on the lead lap with three laps to decide the stage. Truex lapped Earnhardt on the next circuit.

With one lap to decide the stage — Harvick spun and collected eight cars including Truex to turn the lead over to Kyle Busch. Kurt Busch ran into Harvick as did Jeffrey Earnhardt. The Nos. 3, 4, 10, 11, 33, 41, 47, 78, 88 were all involved.

I got hit by behind and spun out,” Harvick said. “I tried to get the thing whoed down and pointed in the right direction.”

For Busch, that was his 13th stage win of 2017.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Loudon II
Track New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Drivers Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Race report