Matt Kenseth orders lobster after win in New Hampshire 301

Matt Kenseth will take another lobster, thank you very much.

Kenseth won Sunday’s New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, taking the lead from Martin Truex Jr. with 44 laps to go and then surviving a spate of wrecks, cautions and restarts over the final 29 laps to claim his second victory of the 2016 season.

"You’re always pleased to be in Victory Lane. The farther down the road you get, the better they feel for sure," said Kenseth, who turned 44 last March and won the championship in NASCAR’s top series in 2003.

Tony Stewart finished second, with Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle rounding out the top five.

Earlier, Kyle Busch seemed to have the fastest car in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, leading a race-high 133 laps before fading to eighth by the finish.

The only driver to really challenge Busch through the first two-thirds of the race was Truex Jr. in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota — essentially a Joe Gibbs Racing teammate because of the close technical alliance JGR shares with Furniture Row.

Truex led 123 laps overall and had some spirited battles with Busch. But it wasn’t until the third caution came out for debris and Truex beat Busch off pit road by less than a car length on Lap 227 that Busch finally seemed vulnerable.

Not only did Truex take the lead because he got off pit road quicker, but he also subsequently had a much better restart than Busch, who quickly fell to third behind yet another JGR driver in Kenseth in his No. 20 Toyota.

And with 44 laps to go, Kenseth caught and passed Truex for the lead.

It only got worse for Truex from there. First he lost his shifter, then his clutch and his transmission — ending his chances of winning on a day when he thought he had the car to do it. Truex ended up finishing 16th.

Kenseth, meanwhile, gave up the lead only briefly to yet another JGR driver in Denny Hamlin, who attempted to go for the win by staying out on older tires when the rest of the field pitted. Hamlin held off Kenseth for only a few laps on the older tires before Kenseth regained the lead.

Alex Bowman had a strong run in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet go strong abruptly when he hit the wall with just 29 laps to go. Bowman — working as a one-off substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who sat out the race because of concussion-like symptoms – was running eighth at the time.

That brought out another caution, setting up a restart with 24 to go, which led to another wreck. Ryan Newman got into the right-rear of Carl Edwards, setting off a chain reaction where Edwards then hit the car of Kasey Kahne, and Kahne sent the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Chevy of Kyle Larson spinning wildly through the infield grass.

Among those to benefit from all the late wrecks and cautions were top-five finishers Stewart, Logano and Biffle — none of whom ran up front the rest of the day.

"I will take a third place after all that," Logano said. "We were awful at the beginning of the race. We tried some new things and apparently they didn’t work, so we aborted the mission in the middle of the race and got some speed back in the 22. But not enough to beat the 20 (of Kenseth)."

Through all the chaos over the last 29 laps, Kenseth held steady and stayed out front. That enabled him to claim the win and the unique fresh lobster trophy that goes to race winners at the 1.058-mile track.

Kenseth has been loading up on the lobster lately, too. Sunday’s victory was the third of his career at Loudon and his second in a row after he also won last fall’s Chase for the Sprint Cup race at the track.

Kenseth credted his team in general and crew chief Jason Ratcliff in particular for giving him the car he needed to get the job done.

"It’s a testament to these guys standing behind me," said Kenseth, gesturing to team members celebrating in Victory Lane. "This had never been one of my good tracks. But Jason has a great setup here and I have great teammates.

"Certainly when I first got here (at Joe Gibbs Racing), Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin) taught me a lot about this place that I applied every lap today. I’m just a fortunate guy to be driving this thing."