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Kyle Busch Wins New Hampshire!

Kyle Busch continued his incredible comeback from early season injuries that caused him to miss the first 11 races of the season with a win in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards would join their teammate in the top ten with sixth and seventh-place finishes respectively and Denny Hamlin battled to a 14th-place finish.

Busch has now won back-to-back races after his win last week in Kentucky and he has won three of the last four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races starting with his victory in Sonoma. He is now just 58 points out of 30th-place in the standings to secure his spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

It was an impressive all-around weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing in New Hampshire. Carl Edwards started it off Friday by earning the pole for today’s Sprint Cup Series race, followed by Denny Hamlin winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series race from the pole on Saturday afternoon, and then Busch capping it all off with his big win today.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota from the fourth position and quickly maneuvered his way to the front of the field passing his teammate Edwards for the lead on lap 20. He would lead the next 47 laps before finally giving up the top spot during a round of green flag pit stops. Busch raced all afternoon in the top five and was fourth at lap 225. He would radio to crew chief Adam Stevens that he felt his right front tire was going down on lap 244 and with the team inside the fuel window to make it to the end the decision was made to come to pit road for fresh tires. That put him a lap down as he waited for the field to cycle through a final round of stops. A caution would come out with 51 laps remaining just after Busch made an incredible and aggressive move to pass the leaders to get back on the lead lap. That proved to be an enormous move allowing Busch to lead on the ensuing restart with 44 laps to go once all the other lead lap cars pitted under the caution. He would stretch his lead out after the restart and held off the 2 car to the finish.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the eighth position and was racing in the top ten when he would get hit with a pit road speeding penalty on lap 81. He would serve the penalty on lap 85 causing him to go a lap down to the leaders but Kenseth and the team remained patient and he would get back on the lead lap when he didn’t pit under the next caution. With a fast Camry and solid pit strategy Kenseth worked his way back into the top ten and restarted sixth on lap 204. He would enter the top five and run fourth just a few laps later. A caution with 51 laps remaining would bring the leaders down pit road one final time and a great two-tire stop by the Dollar General crew would allow him to restart third. Kenseth would make a strong move to try and grab second on the restart but wasn’t able to make it stick. He would drop back to run fifth with 20 laps to go. The Dollar General Camry would finish sixth.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 Sport Clips Toyota on the pole and led the opening 19 laps before giving way to his teammate Busch on lap 20. Edwards restarted in the third position on lap 107. Another caution would follow just ten laps later and crew chief Darian Grubb made a call to return to pit road as part of their fuel strategy on the day. That put Edwards back in the field for the next restart but he was able to make his way through back toward the front and ran 11th at the halfway mark. He would remain out through a round of green flag pit stops and when a caution came out on lap 188 he would hit pit road for four tires and fuel before lining up 9th for the restart. He would run seventh at lap 225. A caution with 51 laps remaining would bring the leaders down pit road a final time and the Sport Clips crew would allow Edwards to restart fourth with 44 laps to go after a great two-tire stop. He would run seventh with 20 laps remaining and managed to hold that spot to the finish.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the fifth position but dropped back to run just inside the top ten through the early portion of the race. Hamlin would make the call to pit for adjustments following an early caution putting him outside the top 10 for a restart on lap 26. He would race much of the afternoon just inside the top 15. He was racing 15th when a caution with 51 laps remaining brought the leaders down pit road for a final round of stops. The FedEx crew would deliver as they always do gaining six spots with a two-tire stop allowing Hamlin to restart fifth with 44 laps to go. The No. 11 Camry would not get a great restart however and he would drop back to run 10th. He would go on to finish 14th.

Kyle Busch captured the win and was followed by Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions on the night for a total of 34 laps and 10 lead changes among seven different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway next Sunday, July 26 for the Brickyard 400. NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will provide live coverage starting at 3 PM ET (race scheduled to start at 3:30 PM ET).

Denny Hamlin Wins XFINITY Race at New Hampshire!

TRACK: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon
DRIVER: Denny Hamlin
CAR: No. 20 SunEnergy1 Toyota Camry
START: 1st
FINISH: 1st
LAPS: Completed 200 of 200 laps

Post-Race Highlights:

  • Denny Hamlin returned to the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) on Saturday afternoon for the Lakes Region 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In his last run with Mike Wheeler and the No. 20 SunEnergy1 team, Hamlin salvaged a top-10 finish after battling several obstacles throughout the race. This time around, however, Hamlin dominated, leading 145 of the 200-lap event on his way to scoring his second XFINITY Series win this season with the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team and the first-career victory for SunEnergy1.
  • As soon as the tires hit the track, there was no denying that Hamlin and the No. 20 team had a dominating SunEnergy1 Toyota Camry. After sweeping all three qualifying rounds, Hamlin claimed his second pole of the 2015 NXS season.
  • Shortly after the green flag waved at the Magic Mile, the first caution arose just 25 laps into the event. Hamlin and JGR teammate Kyle Busch were on the front row for the restart, and as the field went green, both drivers got sideways. “I just got impatient on the restart,” Hamlin said, “My bad.” Both cars went to the rear of the field and suffered no serious damage. Just eight laps later, Hamlin gained 18 spots and was back into the top 10.
  • The SunEnergy1 Toyota Camry regained the lead on lap 44 and remained out front until the final restart on lap 174. Side-by-side, Hamlin and Austin Dillon battled for position around the corners until Dillon stole the lead. Hamlin wasn’t ready to settle for second, however, and just five laps later, took the lead back from Dillon. The SunEnergy1 Toyota Camry led the final 22 laps before taking the checkered flag and heading to Victory Lane. Hamlin’s win at New Hampshire makes three wins this season for crew chief Mike Wheeler and the No. 20 JGR team.

Denny Hamlin on his Win at New Hampshire:

“We had a dominant car today. Wheels [Mike Wheeler, crew chief] and the Joe Gibbs team assembled a great race team and it’s just an honor to drive for these guys. I wanted to get a win for them and everyone at SunEnergy1, Kenny Habul and those guys. You drive extra hard when you have your buddy on the hood.”

Kyle Busch Wins Kentucky!

It was dominating night for Joe Gibbs Racing at Kentucky Speedway with an impressive victory by Kyle Busch and all four teams finishing in the top five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400.

Busch led a race-high four times for 163 total laps en route to the win, while teammates Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth finished third, fourth, and fifth respectively. The win is Busch’s second since returning from his early season injury and moves him to 35th in the standings and 87 points out of 30th-place which would secure his place in the NASCAR Chase for the Championship.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota from the ninth position but was fast from the outset as he raced his way into the top five and a great two-tire stop on his first trip to pit road helped put him out first on lap 33. He would fall to second just prior to the night’s next caution and once again the M&M’s pit crew delivered putting Busch out first once again for a restart on lap 87. He would settle into second once again before another caution on lap 100. This time the 18 team made the call to remain out on the track and once again he raced second following the restart. Another great two-tire stop on lap 124 put him back at the point for a restart on lap 129. He would continue to hold the top spot through a couple of quick cautions. Busch would continue to hold the lead with 100 laps to go. He would line up second alongside his teammate Hamlin for a restart with 55 to go. After a couple of quick restarts he would run third with 40 to go, but managed to pass his teammate to take over second and then slowly reeled in the 22 car making the pass with 20 laps remaining. Busch never looked back after that as he stretched out his lead to the finish line.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the eighth position and proved quick from the drop of the green flag as he raced his way into the top five. He was running fourth when he felt his right front tire going flat and was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 73. Hamlin was correct as the team confirmed his right front tire was starting to come apart. Unfortunately NASCAR ruled he was speeding when he came onto pit road causing him to serve a pass through penalty. The sequence would avoid certain disaster had the tire blown, but Hamlin would be two laps down. The FedEx team would take the wave around on the next caution to get one of those laps back and he restarted 39th and still one lap down on lap 87. Hamlin quickly moved into the top 30 seeking the lucky dog position for being the first car one lap down. He would gain that spot on lap 115 and the caution would come on lap 122 allowing him to get back on the lead lap. Hamlin would move his FedEx Camry back inside the top 20 by lap 133 and was 17th when a caution came out at the halfway point of the race. He would restart 18th on lap 140. Hamlin worked his way back into the top 10 and was running back inside the top five with 100 laps to go. The FedEx pit crew delivered all night and put Hamlin out first for a restart on lap 212. He would lead twice for a total of 13 laps on the night despite the early race setback. A couple quick cautions created hectic restarts and Hamlin was running third with 40 to go. He would hold that spot to the finish.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 Minions Toyota 20th and worked his way toward the top ten on the opening couple of green flag runs. Crew chief Darian Grubb would make the call for a four-tire stop on the opening round of stops and that would put Carl back outside the top 15 once again as many other leaders made the call for just two-tires. Edwards was able to utilize the four tires to his advantage on the track however as he drove his way back into the top ten. He would restart sixth on lap 87. He would continue to hold that spot on lap 115. Edwards’ “Minions” on pit road would turn a great two-tire stop allowing the 19 to restart fourth on lap 129. He would take third on lap 133 and was in second when another caution came out on lap 144. He would line up third behind his teammates Hamlin and Busch for a restart with 55 laps to go. Edwards ran fourth with 40 laps to go following a couple of hectic restarts and was able to hold that spot to the finish.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the 16th position and was able to make his way into the top ten prior to the first round of pit stops. He would run fifth on lap 80 and came to pit road on lap 83 for four tires. He would restart fifth on lap 87 and hold that spot through the next caution on lap 100. The Dollar General Camry would run seventh on lap 115. The team would make the call for four tires during a round of stops on lap 124 and he would restart 13th on lap 129. He then restarted 10th on lap 140. Kenseth would choose to pit for four tires on lap 153 while the majority of leaders made the call to remain out on the track. That would leave Kenseth back in 15th for the ensuing restart but he was back inside the top 10 by lap 167. He would line up fifth for a restart with 55 to go. He continued to run fifth behind all three teammates and the 22 car with 40 to go. Kenseth would go on to finish the night in that fifth position.

Kyle Busch captured the win and was followed by Joey Logano, Hamlin, Edwards and Kenseth rounded out the top five. There were 11 cautions on the night for a total of 49 laps and 13 lead changes among eight different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next Sunday, July 19. NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will provide live coverage starting at 1 PM ET (race scheduled to start at 1:30 PM ET).

Race Report: Daytona

Rain delayed the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 for 3 ½ hours, but the green flag for the start of the race managed to drop at Daytona International Speedway a little before midnight creating an exciting late-night battle on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

When it finally ended in thrilling fashion just before 3 AM ET it was Denny Hamlin leading Joe Gibbs Racing with a third-place finish despite being turned from behind and setting off a massive wreck at the finish line. Both Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth would be collected in the wreck after recovering from earlier incidents and finished 17th and 23rd respectively. Meanwhile Carl Edwards was collected in an earlier accident and had his night ended early to finish 41st.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota from the 35th position and was up to 22nd when the first caution of the night came out for a wreck on lap 4. He would connect with his teammate Matt Kenseth to run in the top five prior to a competition on lap 27. The two would work together well on the ensuing green flag run to remain in the top five. Hamlin would take his first lead of the night on lap 55 and then returned to run point on lap 94. He would continue to run at the front of the field all night and restarted third for a green-white-checker finish. Hamlin positioned himself behind the leader on the final lap but the 88 managed to block him to the finish line. As the field approached the finish line the 4 car hit Hamlin from behind setting off a massive chain reaction that collected nearly every car in the top 30. Fortunately everyone appeared okay and Hamlin would be scored in third.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Interstate All Battery Center Toyota from the 13th position and was content running toward the middle of the pack through the opening laps of the race. He was running near the top 10 while racing the high line when his No. 18 Camry got loose and hit hard into the outside wall. Unfortunately for Busch and the Interstate Batteries team a caution was not called and he would have to drive to pit road for repairs under the green flag. He would go two laps down while the team made the necessary repairs prior to a competition caution on lap 27. With no cars a lap down and as the only car two laps off the pace Busch would get one of his laps back courtesy the lucky dog when that competition caution was displayed. He would get another lucky dog designation when another caution came out on lap 54 and that would put him on the lead lap. Crew chief Adam Stevens and Interstate Batteries crew would continue to make repairs on his car at every opportunity while managing to maintain his position on the lead lap. Incredibly after 12 trips down pit road on the night the 18 team would manage to work their way back into the main pack to race to the finish. Busch would finish 17th despite being collected in the massive wreck at the finish. He is currently 37th in the point standings, 128 points out of 30th.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 DEWALT Made in the USA Toyota in the 19th and would connect with teammate Denny Hamlin just prior to a lap 27 competition caution to make a run to the top five. The two would continue to work together on the next green flag run to remain in the top five. Kenseth would lead his first lap on lap 79 as he moved into the high line and carried the momentum to the front. He would make a four-tire change on the next stop under caution giving up some of his track position, but he was quickly back into the top five by lap 100. Unfortunately Kenseth would be involved in the race’s next “big one.” The 5 car would take the air off his left rear bumper and although the two cars never made contact, the air was enough to cause the 20 to spin. He would go a lap down while the DEWALT crew made the necessary repairs, but Kenseth earned the lucky dog to get back on the lead lap following a caution with 30 laps remaining. He was back in the top 20 with 20 laps to go. He would race in the main pack to the finish but like nearly everyone in the top 30 he was collected in the final wreck. Kenseth would finish 23rd.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 Subway Toyota 24th but as often the case with superspeedway racing track position can change rapidly and he was seventh when a caution came out early for the night’s first wreck on lap 4. He would race in the top 10 over the next two green flag runs. He was running 13th on lap 54 when he would get loose while running in the middle of the pack and spin down the track. Edwards nearly managed to keep his Subway Camry off the wall, but the rear of his car would hit the inside wall causing damage that required repairs on pit road. He would fall a lap down but a quick caution following the ensuing restart would give him his lap right back courtesy of the lucky dog designation. Edwards was racing patiently in the middle of the pack when the 42 got loose on lap 86 and spun up the track and into the Subway Camry. That set off a chain of events that pushed Edwards into the outside wall and then his No. 19 Toyota was hit from behind and lifted off the ground momentarily. The damage would be too severe to continue and his night was over early. He would be scored in 41st.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. captured the win and was followed by Jimmie Johnson, Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five. There were nine cautions on the night for a total of 43 laps and 22 lead changes among 12 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Kentucky Speedway next Saturday night. NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will provide live coverage starting at 7 PM ET (race scheduled to start at 7:45 PM ET).

Kyle Busch Wins Sonoma!

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Kyle Busch continued his incredible comeback from an early season injury with an impressive victory in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. The win is crucial to Busch’s hopes of qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Championship. He now has the necessary victory and will be seeking a spot in the top-30 over the final 10 races leading up to the Chase field being set. He is currently 37th in the standings and 136 points out of first.

Meanwhile teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth finished 18th and 21st respectively, while an accident left Carl Edwards back in 40th.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota from the 11th position and was able to work his way to the front for his first lead of the day on lap 28. He would lead the next 12 laps. He would eventually relinquish the lead but the 18 team would continue to run inside the top five for much of the afternoon. Busch would run third with 25 laps to go and move into second with 22 laps remaining. The 15 car would get around the M&Ms Crispy Camry with 16 laps remaining to drop the 18 back to third once again. A caution with 12 laps remaining would create a strategic decision for every team on the lead lap. Crew chief Adam Stevens would make the call for a four-tire pit stop and Busch lined up seventh for the restart with seven laps to go. He would jump to fourth on the opening lap of the restart and was second with six to go with only the 48 to catch. Busch would do that with five laps remaining and then held off his brother in the 41 car as well as Clint Bowyer in the 15 to earn the win.

Denny Hamlin, started 15th and had to make an unscheduled pit stop early on lap 17 for a suspected tire issue on his No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota. That would put him towards the back of the field and he would run 39th for a restart on lap 33 following a red flag caution. Hamlin was hoping to make a comeback after that setback and raced his way back inside the top 30 by lap 40. With different pit strategies playing out on the track the No. 11 FedEx Camry would try to gain crucial track position but with 25 laps left he was back in 26th once again. He was 21st when a caution came out with 12 laps remaining. He would come to pit road for fresh tires and restarted 22nd with seven laps to go. He would finish 18th.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the third position and would drop back to run seventh after the opening 15 laps of this afternoon’s race. A problem with his left rear tire would send him back down pit road for an unscheduled stop on lap 44 dropping Kenseth a lap down in 41st position. The Dollar General team would continue to battle and Kenseth would work his way back to the lead lap and was racing back inside the top 30 by lap 85. He was running 26th when a caution came out with 12 laps left. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff would make the call for Kenseth to remain out on the track instead of pitting and that allowed him to line up fifth for the restart with seven laps to go. He would get contact on the restart causing him to fall back out of the top ten and without fresh tires he drop back to finish 21st.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota 14th and was able to drive his way toward the top ten through the early going. With several pit strategies at play the 19 car’s track position would change several times throughout the course of the afternoon, but he was seventh on a restart with 31 laps remaining. Unfortunately trouble would hit Edwards as he raced on the inside of the 55 car during the restart when the two came together while trying to navigate the esses on the road course. The two cars slid off the track together and hit hard into a concrete barrier. The damage sent Edwards to the garage and his day was over. He would finish 40th.

Kyle Busch captured the win and was followed by Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano rounded out the top five. There were five cautions on the afternoon for a total of 21 laps and nine lead changes among five different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will return to Daytona International Speedway next Sunday, July 5. It will be the first race for NBC Sports, which will handle the broadcast duties for the remainder of the 2015 NASCAR season. The Coke Zero 400 will begin Sunday, July 5 with pre-race coverage on NBC starting at 7 PM ET.

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