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Keselowski comes out on top in New Hampshire

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 13 2014 04:00:24 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 14 2014 03:11:56 PM CDT
NASCAR racing flag

Caren Firouz/Reuters

LOUDON, N.H. -- Brad Keselowski dominated the Camping World RV 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after taking the lead on lap 90 and leading 138 laps.

Keselowski survived a green-white-checker finish to claim his third win of the 2014 season.

After Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel just before and after the final restart of the race with two laps remaining, Kyle Busch moved up to second. Busch was able to ride Keselowski's bumper, but Keselowski was able to pull a few car lengths out in front of Busch on the final lap. Matt Kenseth finished third.

Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin combined to dominate the first third of the race. Busch started on the pole and led the way until Hamlin took over on lap 63. Hamlin ran up front until a cycle of green-flag pit stops around lap 80 and was back up front once the cycle completed. He continued to lead until Keselowski took the lead for the first time.

Through the remainder of the race, Keselowski was only passed on pit road, mostly due to varying pit strategies. Kyle Larson stayed out to inherit the lead during a caution around lap 110. Meanwhile, Keselowski restarted 10th on four new tires, behind several drivers who took two. Keselowski moved back into the lead just a handful of laps later.

When several drivers took two tires during the next caution around the halfway point of the race, Keselowski, again, took four and restarted 11th. He retook the lead 20 laps after the restart. When the yellow flag waved on lap 212, Keselowski took four tires and restarted seventh. That time around, it took him 12 laps to go from seventh to the lead.

Keselowski changed up his strategy and took only two tires when the yellow flag was displayed on lap 246. But after several drivers opted to stay out, he restarted ninth. In 10 laps, Keselowski was up to second. Gordon, who stayed out, was able to hold Keselowski off for several laps, but seven laps after moving into second, Keselowski was back in the lead.

Hamlin also stayed out during the lap 246 caution and got by Gordon to move into second on lap 282. Hamlin was gaining on Keselowski when the caution came out for the seventh and final time with three laps remaining in the originally-scheduled 301-lap distance. Having stayed out during the lap 246 caution, though, Hamlin gave up second to pit for fuel.

Series rookie Kyle Larson finished fourth, and Ryan Newman was fifth. Finishing sixth through 10th were Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NOTES: Kyle Busch's pole-winning 138.130 mph qualifying lap was a track record. ... Brad Keselowski dominated the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire on Saturday, winning after leading 152 of 200 laps. The top three from the Sprint Cup race matched the top-three finish from the Nationwide race. ... Reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson finished 42nd for the second straight week. ... Jeff Burton is the all-time wins leader at NHMS with four wins and led all 300 laps of a race at the track in 2000; he made his second start of the season Sunday in the No. 66. Morgan Shepherd extended his record of being the oldest driver to start a Sprint Cup race with his second start of the season. ... Joey Logano was racing a backup car after wrecking in practice earlier in the weekend. ... Kyle Busch finished second in both New Hampshire races last season.

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