New Hampshire NASCAR: Kyle Busch makes it three wins from four

Toyota's Kyle Busch claimed his third NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in four starts, at New Hampshire, to boost his chances of qualifying for the Chase title playoff

New Hampshire NASCAR: Kyle Busch makes it three wins from four

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who had finished second in three of the circuit's last four races, started fourth but moved his way into the lead during the opening sixth of the 301-lap race.

Busch's race took shape after making his final pitstop on lap 244.

While it was a green flag stop and he went down a lap, Busch used his four fresh tyres to unlap himself as Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski negotiated traffic.

It proved vital, with a caution period for debris called moment later, and when Harvick and Keselowski pitted, Busch took the lead.

He led by as much as two seconds during the final stint and had enough to hold out Keselowski's late run.

With the win, he moves to within 58 points of the 30th place he needs to secure his place in the Chase after missing the opening 11 races of the season.

"Coming into pitlane, I thought I had a tyre down and there was oil on the road," Busch said of his vital stop.

"[Then] I just drove as fast as I could when I got off pit road.

"Every week, we've just got to keep doing our deal [to get to 30th], and every week we're getting better and better.

"To do it in the fashion we're doing it, it's spectacular."

Keslowski jumped Harvick during the final stops by electing to take two tyres rather than four, and chipped away at Busch's lead over the closing laps.

A final-lap caution as Alex Bowman hit the wall stopped his run, and he finished second, ahead of Harvick and Joey Logano.

Dale Earnhardt Jr was fifth, having been one of the race's biggest movers.

The Chevrolet driver started 19th and made progress throughout, despite damage to his front splitter requiring repairs.

On four fresh tyres, Earnhardt moved past Matt Kenseth with 13 laps remaining.

Kenseth settled for sixth, ahead of polesitter Carl Edwards, who led the opening stages but wasn't a factor thereafter.

Austin Dillon finished eighth, ahead of Jeff Gordon, who recovered from a slow pitstop mid-race to - like Earnhardt - pick his way through the field from 23rd.

Kurt Busch completed the top 10, while strong qualifiers Denny Hamilin and David Ragan faded to 14th and 18th and Jimmie Johnson languished in 23rd after serving a penalty for exceeding the pitlane speed limit.

RESULTS - 301 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car
1 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
3 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
4 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
6 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
7 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
8 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
9 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
10 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
11 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
12 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
13 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
14 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
15 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
16 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford
18 David Ragan Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
19 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
20 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
21 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford
22 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
23 Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing Ford
24 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
25 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
26 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
27 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford
28 Cole Whitt Front Row Motorsports Ford
29 Sam Hornish Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
30 Landon Cassill Hillman Smith Motorsports Chevrolet
31 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
32 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford
33 Brett Moffitt Front Row Motorsports Ford
34 Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
35 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota
36 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
37 Eddie MacDonald Go FAS Racing Ford
38 Timmy Hill Phil Parsons Racing Ford
39 Derek White Circle Sport Chevrolet
40 Justin Allgaier HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
41 Jeb Burton BK Racing Toyota
42 Alex Bowman Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
43 J.J. Yeley BK Racing Toyota

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Kevin Harvick 734
2 Joey Logano 665
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 655
4 Jimmie Johnson 646
5 Martin Truex Jr. 628
6 Brad Keselowski 603
7 Matt Kenseth 578
8 Kurt Busch 576
9 Jamie McMurray 574
10 Jeff Gordon 573
11 Denny Hamlin 552
12 Kasey Kahne 538
13 Ryan Newman 530
14 Paul Menard 528
15 Aric Almirola 502
16 Clint Bowyer 500
17 Carl Edwards 487
18 Greg Biffle 437
19 Austin Dillon 434
20 Casey Mears 427
21 Kyle Larson 417
22 Danica Patrick 416
23 A.J. Allmendinger 402
24 David Ragan 388
25 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 371
26 Tony Stewart 366
27 Trevor Bayne 362
28 Sam Hornish Jr. 358
29 Justin Allgaier 310
30 David Gilliland 305
31 Cole Whitt 303
32 Brett Moffitt 256
33 Kyle Busch 247
34 Alex Bowman 244
35 Michael Annett 216
36 Matt DiBenedetto 193
37 Josh Wise 186
38 Jeb Burton 111
39 Michael McDowell 111
40 Alex Kennedy 71
41 Bobby Labonte 39
42 Brian Vickers 32
43 Reed Sorenson 31
44 Michael Waltrip 26
45 Mike Wallace 8
46 Eddie MacDonald 7
47 Will Kimmel 6
48 Ron Hornaday Jr. 2

PROVISIONALLY IN THE CHASE: Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr

* Kyle Busch needs to get into the top 30 in points to take up a Chase place, despite Sonoma, Kentucky and New Hampshire wins

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