Matt Kenseth wins ahead of Tony Stewart at New Hampshire

By Dale Money (@Packerd_00)  Comments
Updated: July 18, 2016

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Matt Kenseth won the New Hampshire NASCAR Sprint Cup race, surviving a series of late-race cautions.He took his 38th Cup win by a margin of 1.981 seconds over Tony Stewart,Kenseth became the first driver since Kurt Busch in 2004 to win consecutive starts at New Hampshire. He didn’t win in his first 27 Cup starts at the track but has three wins in his last three races at the 1.058-mile track.Tony Stewart finished second and strengthened his spot inside the top 30 in the points standings.

” You’re always pleased to be in Victory Lane,” said the 44-year-old Kenseth, who won for the second straight time at the 1.058-mile flat track and for the 38th time in his career. “The farther down the road you get, the better they feel for sure. Thanks to everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing — I’ve said it a million times, but I’m blessed with this opportunity to be over here with the guys I get to work with…

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 in his final season. He inched from 30th to 28th in points.

“Everyone wants this last year to be good,” Stewart said. “Sonoma, I think really helped relax everybody.”

For a good chunk of the total 301 laps it looked to be a battle between Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. Truex managed to wrestle his way past in his Furniture Row Racing Toyota and the lead alternated between the two for a while.Truex had gearshift issues in the closing stages of the race, which left him permanently stuck in fourth gear.

Jimmie Johnson had started the race from pole position but lost the lead to Kyle Busch on the third lap.Greg Biffle completed the top five, ahead of Jamie McMurray.There were seven cautions overall and four of these were during the final 40 laps.

Alex Bowman performed well as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s replacement in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet.  He climbed into the top 10 in the race’s second half, reaching eighth, but finished 26th (on the lead lap) after a blown tire sent his car slamming into the wall on lap 273.sending Bowman into the outside wall. Bowman was still able to stay on the lead lap,regardless.

Earnhardt Jr. sat out the race while recovering from concussion-like symptoms. It is not known when he will return.
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