By AMANDA VINCENT
Kyle Busch claimed his third win of the season — his second-straight and his third in the last four races — Sunday when he took the checkered flag in the 5-Hour Energy 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
“This is cool. I just can’t say enough about this group of guys behind me,” Busch said. “This is just an awesome feeling.”
With his most recent win, Busch climbed to 33rd in the points standings, 58 points outside the top-30.
Busch took the checkers at the blistering speed of 45 mph, as the race ended under caution when the yellow flag waved for a spinning car on the final lap. Brad Keselowski finished second, and Kevin Harvick was third. Keselowski and Busch were the two lap leaders, with Keselowski running up front for 101 laps of the 301-lap race and Busch leading 95 circuits.
“Really fast car. Proud of my team for the effort,” Keselowski said.
After Carl Edwards started on the pole and ran up front early, Busch took the lead on lap 20. Keselowski moved into the lead on lap 67. Keselowski and Busch ran first and second before Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved up to second and third after a lap 97 caution.
After a lap 117 caution, Kyle Busch got buy Earnhardt and Kurt Busch to move back up to second behind Keselowski. Harvick, though, was up to second on a restart following a lap 188 yellow flag and then took the lead from Keselowski when the race returned to green.
Busch short-pitted for a tire issue with about 55 laps remaining. He then managed to un-lap himself just before a yellow flag with about 50 laps remaining. While everyone else headed to the pits, Busch stayed out to retake the lead. Keselowski restarted second, while Harvick was seventh on the restart after taking four tires.
“I definitely think track position didn’t help us, but four tires was the right call,” Harvick said.
As Keselowski battled Busch for the lead, gaining on him multiple times in lap traffic, Harvick moved back up to as high as third, taking the third spot with 13 laps remaining.
Joey Logano finished fourth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fifth. Finishing sixth through 10th were Matt Kenseth, Edwards, Austin Dillon, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch.
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