Flexing his Hendrick-powered muscle, Kasey Kahne took his second win of the season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.
It was Kahne’s 14th victory in his Sprint Cup career. Kahne surpassed Tim Richmond on the all-time win list and tied him with NASCAR greats Leeroy Yarborough and Dick Hutcherson.
It seemed all but sewed up by Denny Hamlin who wrestled the lead away from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch after the first round of green flag pit stops. Hamlin was dominant until late in the race when a miscommunication with his pit crew led to a loss of track position and the end of his chances to win.
Hamlin had to settle for second on Sunday. Clint Bowyer had a strong showing in third for Michael Waltrip Racing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted his eighth top five with fourth. Brad Keselowski brought up the top five in fifth.
Kahne and Earnhardt Jr.’s teammates at Hendrick Motor Sports Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson earned sixth and seventh respectively. Kevin Harvick posted an eighth. Greg Biffle placed ninth and Ryan Newman filled out the Top 10.
As the race to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase comes into focus, teams are scrambling to insure their positions.
Matt Kenseth holds on to the points lead for another week even after his 13th place finish on Sunday. He currently has a 16 point lead over Earnhardt Jr. who still sits firmly in second. Biffle and Johnson stay frozen in third and fourth respectively. Hamlin jumped two spots to land in fifth.
Kevin Harvick remains in sixth while defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, who finished 12th, fell two spots to seventh. Martin Truex Jr.’s, Bowyer’s teammate at MWR, eleventh in Sunday’s race, was enough to keep him in eighth place. Bowyer moved up one to ninth. Keselowski dropped on place to tenth.
Currently the Wild Card standings have Kahne in the first position with his two wins in 2012. Kyle Busch would take the second with his one win. Of course, there are more opportunities for this to change before the Chase begins.
The Cup drivers are off next weekend. They will return on Sunday, July 29th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the running of the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard.
Be sure to tune into that race and then return right here for my race recap.
Candice Smith is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™ Chatter. Her works have been featured under the pen name Chief 187™ around the Internet including a syndicated post within the Indie Republic Network where she has conducted in-depth interviews with musicians, Mixed Martial Artists, and other personalities as well as waxes poetic on myriad topics. Candice Smith is currently writing her second season of her original column “Why I Love NASCAR” by Chief 187™ on Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, another of her NASCAR columns can be found at MotorsportsUnplugged.com. She also contributes articles and NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recaps weekly at WowShaneRadio.com. She began her Internet writing career at Rowdy.com where she honed her blogging skills and reawakened her love of NASCAR. Candice Smith can be heard on air four times a week co-hosting motorsports programs on Internet radio as well as her own racing show “Drafting the Circuits” on WhooBazoo.com. She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit http://Chief187.com.