Brad Keselowski dominated the Sta-Green 200 NASCAR Nationwide race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Saturday, leading 152 of the 200 laps that made up the race en route to the win.
“This team has deserved to win a few races, here, and things just haven’t gone their way,” Keselowski said.
Kyle Busch finished second, and Matt Kenseth was third.
“We start third and finished third,” Kenseth said. “We had a pretty good Interstate Batteries Toyota; we just weren’t as good as the 22 and 54.”
Keselowski started on the pole but Busch took the lead at the start of the race and led the first 34 laps until Keselowski took the top spot on lap 35. Keselowski then led most of the remainder of the race with Busch in second for most of that distance.
“The more we ran, the tighter in we got and the looser off we got,” Busch said. “That was about all we had.”
Kyle Larson did get by Busch on a restart to take over the second spot just before the halfway point of the race. Busch wound up dropping back to about seventh spot, so he opted to pit when the yellow flag waved just past the halfway mark.
Larson then took the lead from Keselowski on another restart a few laps later and led a total of 11 laps before Keselowski retook the top spot. Soon after, Busch was back up to second.
Chris Buescher stayed out while the other lead lap cars pitted during a caution with 60 laps remaining, but as soon as the race restarted, Keselowski moved back to the front and Kenseth took third. A few laps later, Kenseth gave up second to Busch.
Keselowski would pull away from Busch slightly, but then Busch would gain on him in lapped traffic as the laps wound down. But through the final stretch, Keselowski was able to maintain his position up front to claim his second series win of the season and his second-career Nationwide win at New Hampshre.
“Lapped traffic is always difficult here at Loudon, but they gave me a few breaks,” Keselowski said.
Larson finished fourth, and Buescher rounded out the top-five, despite finishing some 16 seconds behind Keselowski.
Regan Smithfinished 10th, highest among the four drivers eligible for the NHMS $100,000 Dash 4 Cash Bonus (Ryan Reed, Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements), taking the bonus and making himself eligible for the next $100,000 bonus to be awarded at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., next weekend.
The other three drivers who made themselves eligible to race for the Chicagoland bonus by being the three highest-finishing Nationwide Series championship-eligible drivers at New Hampshire were Buescher, Elliott Sadler, and Brian Scott. Buescher finished fifth, and Sadler and Scott wound up sixth and seventh, despite and altercation between the two on a restart near the mid-point of the race.
Chase Elliott finished eighth. Trevor Bayne finished ninth after overcoming a tire issue that led to a spin early on.