Kyle Busch holds off Brad Keselowski to win at Loudon, his third win in last four races

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Kyle Busch’s charge to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup continued moving forward, capturing his third win of the season — and third in the last four — in Sunday’s 5-Hour Energy 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Busch held off a surge by runner-up Brad Keselowski. Busch is 58 points out of 30th place in the Sprint Cup standings. He must be ranked 30th or higher after the final Chase qualifying race at Richmond in September to make the Chase.

WATCH: Full replay of 5-Hour Energy 301

“There ain’t no give-up in this 18 team,” Busch said on his team radio after crossing the finish line.

MORE: Race Results

MORE: Points Standings

Busch missed the first 11 races of the season recovering from a broken right leg and fractured left foot suffered in the season-opening Xfinity Series race at Daytona in February.

But since returning to competition in the Sprint Cup Series, Busch has now won three of eight starts. His first two wins were at Sonoma and last Saturday at Kentucky.

Keselowski finished second, followed by Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Keselowski, who led the race at the midpoint (Lap 151)  led the most laps (101) in a race for the first time this season. Busch led 95 laps.

How Kyle Busch won: Busch took the lead on the restart on Lap 253 and never looked back, building a more than two-second lead at one point. While Keselowski closed in the final laps, he didn’t have enough to catch Busch, who earned his 32nd career Sprint Cup victory. With back-to-back wins (last Saturday at Kentucky and Sunday at Loudon), Busch gained 70 points in his last two races on 30th place in the season standings. Busch becomes the 12th different winner in as many races at New Hampshire.

Who else had a good race: Even though he’s never won a Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire, Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned his eighth top-five finish there with Sunday’s fifth-place showing. “We had a power issue on the car and were just down on power,” Earnhardt said. “I had to drive real hard all day long. Pretty decent car, we just need to be a little bit better.” … Even though it saw its two-race win streak at New Hampshire snapped, Team Penske still had both of its drivers in the top four: Keselowski (second) and Joey Logano (fourth).

Who had a bad race: Alex Bowman came on to pit road for a flat tire on Lap 97. His right front tire caught fire, but his team took it off and replaced it. No sooner did Bowman leave his pit stall, fire erupted again, prompting him to stop at the end of pit road and quickly exit his car as fire began to consume the engine compartment. Bowman returned to finish 42nd. … Jimmie Johnson struggled to a 22nd-place finish at a track he typically does well at. … Tony Stewart continued his season-long struggle, finishing 20th. … Clint Bowyer looked strong early, but finished 34th and fell out of a top-16 Chase spot.

Notable: With 75 laps left, Jeff Gordon suffered electrical issues that caused some of his dash lights to malfunction, a sign of a potential battery or alternator issue. Gordon still managed to battle back to finish ninth. … Canadian driver Derek White made his Sprint Cup debut and finished 39th. A member of the Mohawk tribe, White is the first Canadian Native American to compete in a Cup race. … Sunday marked the first time Brad Keselowski has led the most laps in a race this season.

Quote of the day: “This is such an awesome win, such an awesome comeback. It’s so much fun to win these races and win with this group of guys.” – Kyle Busch after winning at New Hampshire.

Next up: The Brickyard 400, Sunday, July 26, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

NASCAR America: This week’s Pit Crew All-Stars nominees are named

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On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, it was time for our weekly revelation of this week’s Pit Crew All-Stars nominees.

This week’s nominees are:

  • Ray Gallahan, jackman for Joey Logano‘s No. 22 Team Penske Ford Fusion.
  • Eric Groen, rear tire carrier for Matt Kenseth‘s No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry
  • Willie Pelotte, engine tuner for Matt DiBenedetto‘s No. 32 Go Fas Racing Ford Fusion

Check out the video above to see why these three are this week’s Pit Crew All-Stars nominees.

 

 

NASCAR America: The REAL reason Kasey Kahne was late to new contract signing

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A funny thing — a really funny thing — happened Tuesday to Kasey Kahne on his way to sign his contract with his new race team in 2018, Leavine Family Racing.

Kahne knows what happens when you run out of fuel, especially late in a NASCAR race. It’s the nature of the sport to gamble. Sometimes you win, sometimes your gas tank runs dry.

So, Kahne was on his way to Tuesday’s contract signing at LFR when his pickup truck stopped cold.

After a quick examination of his ride, Kahne quickly deduced that it wasn’t the motor, battery, alternator or radiator that caused the truck to conk out.

Rather, as Kahne would later sheepishly admit, he ran out of gas.

NASCAR On NBC analyst and former NASCAR Cup crew chief Steve Letarte had some fun at Kahne’s expense, adding a poignant quip on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America: “This is what happens when you let a driver make his own decisions: he runs out of gas.”

 

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski Twitter spat proves NASCAR needs more rivalries, animosity

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Last week’s Twitter spat between Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch — with Denny Hamlin also chiming in — raised the excitement level for fans prior to the playoff opener at Chicagoland.

Not only did Busch and Keselowski provide great entertainment with their back-and-forth disses, fans not only welcomed what both drivers had to say, but many also took sides, as well.

It also started fans, drivers, media and others mulling about how the sport needs more rivalries — and race day animosity between drivers to further amp up the edge — which would likely further boost the attention and excitement of the sport.

On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, Steve Letarte and Brian Vickers — as well as Pete Pistone, co-host of SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” — gave their thoughts on how animosity and rivalries are good and provide an added storyline to the drama of each race, particularly during the 10-race NASCAR Cup playoffs.

“We need more (rivalries),” Pistone said. “There’s a reason every time the Yankees play the Red Sox, the Bears play the Packers, the Knicks play the Celtics or Notre Dame plays USC, that they’re nationally televised. Even if the teams aren’t any good, those rivalries are so good that everyone wants to tune in or listen.

“We got all excited at Chicagoland because Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch started to swipe at each other on Twitter. We need more of that kind of stuff, not less. Let’s have more rivalries in this sport.”

Added Letarte, “I think fans on either side of the rivalries, whether you’re booing or cheering, noise is what we’re looking for. … The fans will be divided and I think that’s spectacular.”

Check out the video above for what Letarte, Vickers and Pistone had to say.

NASCAR America: Drivers near bottom of Cup standings need to get moving (video)

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The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Loudon this weekend for the second race of the 10-race playoffs.

On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, analysts Steve Letarte and Brian Vickers are keeping an eye on some of the drivers at or near the bottom of the playoff standings after last weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway: Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman.

“Unfortunately, while those four were on the list of a must-perform weekend at Chicago, I don’t think any of them really performed or stepped out of their box to show us they can contend for the second round of the playoffs,” Letarte said. “I think while New Hampshire isn’t the cut-off race, it can be the last hope for some of these drivers.

“I don’t think they have winning-type speed, winning-type firepower in their toolboxes, so I think they need to shore up the dam with some points.”

Added Vickers, “Those four are the bottom four, they started at the bottom of four and are still at the bottom four for a reason: they don’t have the performance of the group ahead of them or the group at the head of the pack.”

Check out the analysis by Letarte and Vickers in the video above. Also, what about Kurt Busch? Find out more in the video below.

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