Brad Keselowski scores weekend sweep, takes home Loudon lobster

For much of Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Brad Keselowski was in a league of his own.

The Team Penske driver led 136 of the 305 laps to score his third win of the season and secure the weekend sweep. He also won Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at the track.

Despite Keselowski’s dominant performance, the No. 2 team had to work for the win in the closing stages of the race. When debris brought out the caution with 52 laps to go, Keselowski pitted for two tires as six drivers did not pit.

Restarting ninth with 48 laps to go, Keselowski quickly made his way back to the front, retaking the lead from Jeff Gordon on Lap 269.

Once out front it was smooth sailing for the No. 2 car until Justin Allgaier wrecked his No. 51 Chevrolet got into the wall with four laps to go to bring out the caution. That necessitated a green-white-checkered finish, but Keselowski soared away from the competition on the final restart to kick off the three-lap overtime.

Scoring the win, Keselowski became the 13th different winner in the last 13 races at New Hampshire, and also became the first to sweep the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races there in the same weekend.

"The Redds Apple Ale Ford Fusion was hauling today," Keselowski said. "It’s a privilege to have cars like this and a team that’s just clicking. I guess you can say we’re ‘Redd’ hot. Just a thriller. I can’t believe it, to win both races. I thought we’d do well here at Loudon, we’ve been pretty good here the last few races, but haven’t been able to close out and today we were able to do that."

Kyle Busch was able to make the fuel last to finish second, rookie Kyle Larson was third, Ryan Newman was fourth and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five.

The driver of the No. 18 Toyota led 62 laps early in the race, but fought to turn the center of the corner throughout the race. Gambling on fuel mileage at the end, Busch scored his third straight runner-up finish at New Hampshire.

"We just kind of fought turning the center all weekend," Busch said. "We thought we were pretty close at the start of the race. I thought they made some good adjustments overnight and got us going there early. Every time here,  about 40-50 laps in, I just don’t have any front turn. Guys did a great job today."

With less than 100 laps to go, it appeared as if it was going to be a Team Penske one-two finish as Joey Logano ran behind Keselowski in second. However, on Lap 211 Logano’s day came to an abrupt end when Morgan Shepherd got into the second-place car, sending him hard into the outside wall.

The only other incident of the day came early on Lap 13 when Jimmie Johnson blew a left rear tire heading into Turn 1, spinning and hitting the outside wall hard on the driver side. The incident was Johnson’s second tire issue of the day, as he gave up the second spot on Lap 8 to pit for a flat left rear.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leaves New Hampshire and will have its second and final off weekend before a 17-race stretch kicks off at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27. 

 

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