CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Busch led the Coca-Cola 600 after the first 100-lap stage in the 400-lap race.
Busch passed Martin Truex Jr. with 10 laps remaining in the stage. The Monster Energy All-Star Race winner led 35 laps in the stage.
The top 10 after 100 laps: Kyle Busch, Truex, pole-sitter Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson (sixth after starting 39th), Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray.
Busch earned his third playoff point of the year with the stage win in the first race to feature four stages.
There was one caution in the first stage on Lap 20. Jeffrey Earnhardt‘s No. 33 Chevrolet began smoking on the frontstretch, and a piece of debris broke off of his car and struck Chase Elliott‘s No. 24 Chevrolet.
As Elliott slowed exiting the tri-oval, flames erupted underneath the front of his car. Oil on the track prevented Brad Keselowski from avoiding Elliott as he plowed into the back of his car.
Debris from the accident caused cosmetic damage to Danica Patrick‘s car and damage to Erik Jones‘ car. Jones was in 13th after the first stage. Patrick led seven laps following green flag stops.
The field went through a green-flag pit stop cycle from Laps 64 – 68. Denny Hamlin, Cole Whitt and Corey LaJoie were caught speeding. Hamlin fell to 21st, the last car on the lead lap.
Lap leaders in the first segment included Harvick (42), Kyle Busch (35), Truex (15), Patrick (seven) and Johnson (one).
Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Kyle Busch. He puts last week’s disappointment behind him with another fast car and (this time) a clean day in the pits.
Denny Hamlin. He sweeps New Hampshire and Toyota continues its dominance at this track.
Kyle Larson. After charging through the field from the rear in July and finishing second, the No. 42 team finishes the job today.
Kevin Harvick. He hasn’t been heard from much recently, but this is the kind of track Harvick is at his best. He wins and moves on to the Round of 12.
LOUDON, New Hampshire – The middle race of the first round of the playoffs offers teams that had a bad start a chance to recover or fall further behind.
The pressure builds with the 16-team field cut to 12 after next weekend’s race at Dover.
Here are the details for today’s race:
(All times are Eastern):
START: Marc Del Vecchio, chief technology officer, ISM Connect, will give the command to start engines at 2:07 p.m. Green flag is set for 2:15 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 300 laps (317.4 miles) around the 1.058-mile speedway.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.
PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Cup garage opens at 8:30 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at noon. Driver introductions are at 1:30 p.m.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: Marine Corps Veteran, “The Singing Trooper,” Daniel M. Clark will perform the Anthem at 2:01 p.m., followed by a flyover from two F-15C Eagles from the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base.
TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race at 2 p.m. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. on NBCSN with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 1:30 p.m. The Performance Racing Network radio broadcast begins at 1 p.m. on goprn.com and affiliates. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.
FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 81 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at race time.
LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin led 54 of 301 laps to win the July race. Kyle Larson placed second. Martin Truex Jr. was third. Kevin Harvick led the final six laps to win this race last year. Matt Kenseth was second. Kyle Busch placed third.
STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup
Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer are tied for the top spot in the Xfinity playoff standings after the playoff opener at Kentucky Speedway.
Each driver has 2,057 points.
Allgaier finished third after bouncing back from losing a tire on Lap 19 and going two laps down. He was two laps down for 27 laps and one lap down for 30 before getting back on the lead lap.
Custer, who finished fifth, won the first two stages of the race, earning two playoff points in the process.
The top five in points are Allgaier, Custer, Elliott Sadler (-2), Daniel Hemric (-5) and William Byron (-6).
Click here for the points standings.
Tyler Reddick scored his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win, leading a 1-2 finish for Chip Ganassi Racing on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.
Reddick beat teammate Brennan Poole by 14.5 seconds in the playoff opener.
Reddick is the seventh different winner in the last seven series races. He led twice for 66 laps. Reddick had not led any laps until Saturday night.
Playoff contender Justin Allgaier rallied from two laps down after a right front tire went down early in the 200-lap race to finish third. Ryan Preece placed fourth. Rookie Cole Custer, who won both stages, finished fifth.
Click here for race results