New Hampshire NASCAR: Keselowski dominates final stages for victory - Motor Informed

New Hampshire NASCAR: Keselowski dominates final stages for victory

Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski dominated the latter stages of the NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire for his third win of 2020, his first at the venue since 2014.

Keselowski’s Ford Mustang was engaged in a duel for the lead with the Joe Gibbs Toyota Camry of Denny Hamlin throughout the opening two stages of the 301-lap race – the duo swapping the lead 12 times among themselves.

Shortly after the restart for the final segment, on lap 221, stage two winner Keselowski slipped past the #11 Camry to claim a lead he would not lose in the remaining 80 laps, comfortably holding Hamlin at bay by around one-to-two seconds to record the 33rd Cup win of his career – and first since Bristol in early June.

Hamlin, who had scooped stage one honours for JGR, was in turn 6.0s clear of team-mate Martin Truex Jr, who recorded a fourth top-three finish of the campaign.

The leading quartet was completed by Penske’s Joey Logano – with the four drivers overcoming any potential fuel worries, legacy of an aggressive strategy by their teams.

On lap 204, the caution was thrown after Matt Kenseth’s #42 Chip Ganassi Mustang machine blew a second tyre in just eight laps, with Keselowski leading the charge to pit-road for those who had not stopped during an earlier caution period for a Christopher Bell spin.

New Hampshire NASCAR: Keselowski dominates final stages for victory - Motor Informed

Just eight laps later however, John Hunter Nemechek rammed the wall after another blown tyre – allowing the likes of Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott to respond, safe in the knowledge that they could make the flag without the need to save fuel.

Pre-race points leader Harvick became the prime benefactor in the scenario that any of the leaders ran dry, but the Stewart-Haas Racing driver was not afforded the opportunity to match Jeff Burton in 1997-99 and record three straight Cup wins at the 1-mile circuit.

The #4 Mustang did well to recover to take fifth, as Matt DiBenedetto ran a strong race to bank a sixth top 10 finish of the campaign for Wood Brothers Racing.

Aric Almirola and Kentucky winner Cole Custer ensured three SHR drivers were in the top eight – which was locked out by Ford and Toyota drivers.

The lead Chevrolet to finish was that of Elliott – who could not advance like Harvick in ninth – as Tyler Reddick nabbed 10th on the final lap.

Indeed, Elliott lead a nine Chevrolet pack at the flag – with Camaros filling out P9-P17 at the flag – with seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson in 12th after a early spin due to contact with Clint Bowyer dropped him to the back.

Bowyer was 18th with Ryan Blaney ending the day 20th.

Kyle Busch’s miserable title defence goes on – the #18 JGR machine clouting the wall within the first 10 laps, bringing about an early end to the race for the two-time Cup Series champion.

NASCAR Cup New Hampshire results – 301 laps

Pos Driver Team Car
1 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
2 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
3 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
4 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford
5 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
6 Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing Ford
7 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
8 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
10 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
11 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
12 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
13 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
14 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
15 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
16 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
17 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
18 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
19 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford
20 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford
21 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford
22 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet
23 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet
24 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
25 Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing Ford
26 Daniel Suarez Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota
27 Brennan Poole Premium Motorsports Chevrolet
28 Christopher Bell Leavine Family Racing Toyota
29 J.J. Yeley Rick Ware Racing Ford
30 James Davison Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet
31 Garrett Smithley Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
32 Quin Houff StarCom Racing Chevrolet
33 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota
34 Joey Gase Petty Ware Racing Ford
35 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford
36 John Hunter Nemechek Front Row Motorsports Ford
37 Matt Kenseth Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
38 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

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