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Big Weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

July 16, 2012

Vermont Lt Governor Phil Scott drops the green on Saturday's Nationwide event at NHMS. Photo Steve Poulin

After making a two tire versus four stop during the last caution period Kasey Kahne hung on Sunday afternoon in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway over a hard charging Denny Hamlin to post his first career win at the “Magic Mile” and his second of the season. Kahne seized the lead from Hamlin following a restart on the 240th lap of the 300-lap race at the 1-mile track on Sunday afternoon. He was facilitated by a team miscommunication between Hamlin, who wanted two tires changed, and crew chief Darian Grubb, who thought his driver wanted four. Hamlin restarted thirteenth and charged through the field coming up short at the finish by about ten car lengths. The win was the 14th career for Kahne. Clint Bowyer finished third, his fourth top-five of the season for his new MWR team. Dale Earnhardt Jr. came home fourth, his 14th top-10 of season, and closed the No 88 driver to within 16 points of series leader Matt Kenseth. Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. Teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson finished sixth and seventh, respectively, placing all four Rick Hendrick’s Chevrolet in the top seven.
The Whelen Modified Series put on a show of shows Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as Mike Stefanik edged Ronnie Silk at the Granite Stripe by three one-thousandths of a second to win the Town Fair Tire 100. Silk had passed Stefanik going into the final turn, but a small bump exiting Turn 4 by Stefanik allowed the 22-year Modified veteran to pass the current point’s leader and win the second-closest finish in speedway history. Chuck Hossfeld held off by Ted Christopher by one one-thousandth of a second back in June of 2008. The win was the seventh in Stefanik’s career at the “Magic Mile making the Modified Ace the winningest driver at the New Hampshire facility. “I’m 54, but I still feel like I’m 21,” said Stefanik. “I actually physically sat up in my seat and rolled my eyes to the right to see who won. It’s very exciting boy, very exciting – this is my closest victory ever.” Doug Coby, Eric Beers and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five behind Stefanik and Silk. Silk was running a spec motor over the weekend and was clearly the best car for much of the race, especially in the straightaways. Silk and Stefanik changed spots for the lead on nine occasions over the final 48 laps. Silk, who was going for his second straight win at New Hampshire, wasn’t sure who crossed the Granite Stripe first, but knew the bump in Turn 4 was crucial to the finish. “Mike did a fantastic job on that last lap,” said Silk. “I got a run on him into the final turn and he got up into the marbles, but he held it and got by me at the line. That bump was worth three one-thousandths.”
Pole-sitter Brad Keselowski took advantage of an opportune moment late in Saturday's F.W. Webb 200 Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and held off Kevin Harvick in the closing laps to claim his first victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, his second of the season and the 19th of his career. Runner-up Harvick, who finished .717 seconds back in the oppressive 90+ degree heat, expressed his displeasure with Amber Cope by tapping her No. 24 Chevrolet on the cool-down lap, an expression of displeasure at Cope's impeding Harvick's progress and opening the door for Keselowski's winning pass. Austin Dillon ran a strong third, claiming Nationwide’s $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus and establishing his eligibility for next week's cash bonus at Chicagoland Speedway. Sam Hornish Jr. ran fourth, followed by defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. "It was one of those days when things came together for us," said Keselowski, who led 131 of 200 laps but acknowledged he got a gift in the late going. "We had a good car and caught a little bit of a break. I think we've sat on the pole three times here and had a fast car but never (won). It feels good to get the job done today." Point leader Elliott Sadler finished seventh and retained his lead in the series standings by three points over second-place teammate Dillon. Sadler also joined Dillon, Stenhouse and Hornish as a qualifier for the Dash 4 Cash bonus next week at Chicagoland. A dehydrated Stenhouse, who had battled illness in the days preceding Saturday's 200-lapper, collapsed on pit road after the race. He was taken to the infield care center for treatment, but was conscious and alert.
Travis Pastrana said he couldn't remember the last time he won - anything. His impressive run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday night in the inaugural SYLVANIA SilverStar zXe Global RallyCross will certainly make things a lot less ambiguous. Pastrana won his heat earlier in the night and glided into Victory Lane during the four-lap, 10-car finale. "It's been so long I almost forget what it’s like to win," said Pastrana. "It is absolutely awesome to get out here and get on top. It has been a heck of a rough season.” Pastrana beat Samuel Hubinette to the Granite Stripe by 1.431 seconds, finishing the course in 3 minutes, 40.274 seconds. Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust and Ken Block finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively. The circuit involved a chicane, moguls, dirt, a tabletop jump, a 180-degree hairpin turn and a 70-foot gap jump. It also had a Joker Lap (turn) that required each driver to take a longer route at least once.
Peters took the lead off a restart with 10 laps remaining to dash to victory in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series American Ethanol 200 Saturday night at Iowa Speedway. The win was the first of the season, allowing him to increase his season points lead to 12 over Justin Lofton. "I love Iowa and I love going to places where our results are OK and turning them into a best finish," Peters said. "Today was definitely a milestone in my career, I feel like, because I've never sat on the pole and never led like we did tonight to win the race." The Red Horse Racing driver claimed his first pole position of the season. He became the third truck series driver in four races to win from the pole. A late wreck forced a seventh caution with less than 20 laps remaining to set up the final restart between Peters and veteran Ron Hornaday Jr. When Hornaday spun his tires slightly at the starting lineup, Peters moved ahead, never looked back and pulled away for his fourth career win. Matt Crafton, who won the Coca-Cola 200 last year at Iowa Speedway finished third giving him four top-five finishes at 0.875-mile track. Johnny Sauter and Justin Lofton brought their trucks home fourth and fifth, respectively. Sunoco Rookie of the Year leader Ty Dillon was the highest finishing rookie. Dillon, who had top-two, finishes at Iowa Speedway in the ARCA Series in 2010 and 2011, finished seventh after opening the race in 15th.

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