Kyle Busch led Joe Gibbs Racing with an 11th-place finish in today’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, while Joey Logano was 14th and a potential top-five run by Denny Hamlin would end in disappointment when he came up just short on fuel with two laps remaining.
Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota from the eighth position and battled tight conditions through the early going as Sunday’s bright sunshine created vastly different track conditions from the previous two days of practice at the mile track in New Hampshire. Crew chief Dave Rogers and the M&Ms crew went to work during the day’s early pit stops and by lap 100 Busch had worked his way back up into the top ten. By the halfway point of the race Busch was back in the eighth position. The 18 team would come down pit road following a caution on lap 173 for two tires and fuel and restarted in the 12th position. Once again Busch would work his way back inside the top ten. A round of green flag pit stops with 67 laps remaining would place the No. 18 Camry in the 11th position once the field had completely cycled through. Busch was unable to gain much ground however over the final laps of the race and contact with the 48 car while battling for position with about 20 laps to go would cost him a couple of spots in the field. He would recover however to regain those positions and earn an 11th-place finish.
Joey Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the 24th position and was able to gain a couple of spots through the early laps of the race despite battling handling conditions on his car. With each stop crew chief Greg Zipadelli and The Home Depot crew would make adjustments to help his Camry turn better and as the race progressed so did Logano as he entered the top 20 by lap 130 and was running 17th at the halfway mark. Logano would remain inside the top 20 for much of the second half of the race and was able to race his way inside the top-15 for a 14th-place finish.
Denny Hamlin qualified the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota in the 28th position and was able to gain several positions early in the race despite battling tight conditions through the center of the turns. By lap 60 he had entered the top 20 and was running 19th when the day’s first round of pit stops came under the green flag on lap 63. Hamlin’s Camry would move to the free side after the day’s second pit stop and he was racing 18th when the race hit the halfway mark. The 11 team would choose to remain on the track when a caution came out on lap 173 and was able restart inside the top ten, but loose conditions on the Camry would make it difficult to advance much further. Hamlin would pit with 74 laps remaining and the car was as its best for the final run even while trying to stretch the fuel mileage. The No. 11 Camry was gaining ground on the leaders over the final 15 laps of the race, but as he got to the bumper of the No. 24 car for fifth with two laps remaining he would run out of fuel. The result would leave the team with a disappointing 29th-place finish.
Tony Stewart captured the victory, while Brad Keselowski was second, Greg Biffle third, Jeff Gordon fourth, and Brian Vickers rounded out the top-five. There were on only three cautions for a total of 14 laps and 19 lead changes among 15 different drivers over the course of the 300-lap race.
Busch gained three position in the current NASCAR point standings and is now in sixth place 26 points behind the leader, while Hamlin remains 12th and 66 points back.
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
1. Tony Stewart 2094
2. Kevin Harvick (-7)
3. Brad Keselowski (-11)
4. Carl Edwards (-14)
5. Jeff Gordon (-23)
6. Kyle Busch (-26)
7. Matt Kenseth (-26)
8. Dale Earnhard, Jr. (-26)
9. Kurt Busch (-28)
10. Jimmie Johnson (-29)
11. Ryan Newman (-34)
12. Denny Hamlin (-66)
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Dover next weekend on Sunday, October 2 for the third race in the Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup. Live Coverage will be on ESPN starting at 1 PM ET (race starts at 2 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius Radio NASCAR channel 90.