After rain was a major factor in last week’s race at Daytona International Speedway, it was smooth sailing for Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 team during their victory in the Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Sunday’s race showcased the frenzy surrounding the hunt to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and the resulting battle on the track made this event an instant classic.
Kyle Busch and the No. 18 car managed a respectable second-place finish after starting on the pole, and rookie Kyle Larson finished in third place. Matt Kenseth and the No. 20 car took home a fourth-place finish, and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 10th, while Danica Patrick placed 22nd on the day.
|Full 2014 Camping World RV Sales 301 Results|
|9||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
|10||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|12||Martin Truex Jr.|
The weekend at Loudon started off with an exciting run by Busch to earn the pole, and the No. 18 car was in the lead for the first 60 laps of the race before being overtaken by Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 car.
While Busch was setting the pace for the race, Jimmie Johnson struggled from the very start. Not only did he pit on Lap 8 with a flat tire, but he also smashed into the wall on Lap 14 and was forced out of the race.
After Hamlin took the lead on Lap 62, the race saw a long green-flag run that featured pit stops from all the top contenders in the field. Once the first cycle of stops was completed, it was Hamlin who once again took the lead.
It wasn’t long before Keselowski took the lead and started running the best times of the day. For much of the race, the No. 2 car was the cream of the crop.
The caution came out on Lap 112 for debris, and Kyle Larson took the lead by staying out. Matt Kenseth took the lead on Lap 128, but Keselowski once again found himself at the front of the pack on Lap 139.
After another yellow flag, Joey Logano and the No. 22 car took the lead. Unfortunately for Logano, he was soon passed for the lead and then involved in an accident with Morgan Shepherd on Lap 211.
Clint Bowyer came out of the pits in first place following Logano’s caution, but it was just a matter of time before Keselowski worked his way through the field and found himself in the lead once again.
Another caution forced Keselowski back in the field with two new tires, but nothing could keep the No. 2 car from regaining the lead. It was an absolute clinic from Keselowski and a much-deserved win.
|2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings|
|2||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||658||2|
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule moves on as drivers and their teams head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in two weeks for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at The Brickyard.
It will take place Sunday, July 27, at 1 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.
Newman is the defending champion of this race, but he has not found the same success during the 2014 season. As the defending winner of the Brickyard 400, though, the next race on the schedule could be the key to making the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
With a week off to relax and refocus before the most intense portion of the schedule, there promises to be plenty of excitement heading into the Brickyard 400.
*Stats via NASCAR.com.