Jul 17, 2016 6:26 PM
Kenseth pulls away late to win Cup race at New Hampshire
The Associated Press
LOUDON (AP) — Matt Kenseth pulled away down the stretch to win the Sprint Cup race Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch each led more than 120 laps before fading late, paving the way for Kenseth to win for the second time this season.
Kenseth also won the New Hampshire race last September. He has 38th career victories.
"It was pretty much money all day," Kenseth said. "We just had to get there."
Tony Stewart finished second and strengthened his spot inside the top 30 in the points standings. Stewart has a win this season and needs to secure a spot in the top 30 in points to clinch a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He entered the race in 30th in his final Cup season.
Joey Logano was third, followed by Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle.
Alex Bowman had a solid day ruined when he hit the wall late and finished 26th driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt was sidelined because he suffered from symptoms of a concussion.
"A lot of attrition there got us in the top five," Biffle said. "We've got just a little bit of work to do to get our cars faster."
Truex tumbled to 16th when his Toyota suffered a broken shifter and Busch dropped the eighth.
That allowed Kenseth, Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, to cruise to the top and snatch the lead with fellow JGR teammate Denny Hamlin with 30 laps and he drove away on the final restart with 11 to go in the 301-mile race.
But this race could be the one remembered for truly solidifying Stewart in Chase contention. He snapped an 84-race losing streak last month at Sonoma and was fifth last week at Kentucky Speedway. Smoke is heating up this summer and could be racing for a fourth championship in his final NASCAR season.
"Everyone wants this last year to be good," Stewart said. "Sonoma, I think really helped relax everybody."