NASCAR at New Hampshire 2017 Results: Kyle Busch Wins, Advances to 2nd Round

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2017

Kyle Busch practices for the NASCAR Cup Series 300 auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Kyle Busch is moving on to the second round of the NASCAR playoffs.

Busch drove the No. 18 car to a dominant win Sunday, leading 187 of 300 laps to take the ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Kyle Larson finished in second place, while Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.

Truex won the first stage of the race and was leading on the final lap of the second before spinning to avoid a crash. He sustained damage, and Busch was able to sneak through to win the second stage.

"All in all a great day," Busch said after the race, per Jordan Bianchi of SB Nation. "This thing was awesome. We ran upfront all day long. We executed, we did a good job, we did what we were supposed to do."

Busch, who started from the pole, has now won three times this season. He currently sits in third place in the points standings behind Truex and Larson. The top 12 drivers will move on to the second stage of the playoffs, which will begin after next week's race in Dover. Those remaining drivers will then move on to the Contender Round before the field is pared down to eight and then four.

Busch was nearly involved in a crash on Lap 150 when Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick were involved in an incident. It was the same wreck that caused damage to Larson's bumper and wound up taking out Kyle's brother Kurt. 

"That was pretty intense," Busch said of avoiding the wreck, per Reid Spencer of NASCAR.com. "That was some 'Days of Thunder' stuff over there. You couldn't see anything. It was just a wall of smoke over there off of Turn 2. I was listening to my spotter and basically was told to stop, and I was like 'Sounds like a good idea.'

"I just checked up as much as I could. Of course, I was trying not to get run into from behind. I didn't know who was behind meI knew [eventual third-place finisher] Matt [Kenseth] was there. But all in all, just a great day. We ran up front all day long, we executed, we did what we were supposed to do, and it's awesome to win here in the Granite State in front of these fans."

Larson sits in second place in the standings currently and will advance. 

"Obviously, you want to win," Larson said, per Bianchi. "And, second is the first loser. But, second is also not bad; especially when you get to the playoffs. Winning is very important, but also consistency is just as important. We got a fifth last week and a second today with even better stage points, so that was pretty much the day that we needed."

Keselowski and Denny Hamlin round out the top five in points.

Kurt Busch's crash puts him in a precarious position going into the final first-round race. He's among five drivers who are within 21 points of the final spot. Busch is currently in 15th place. 

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