Welcome NASCAR fans to my NASCAR blog. The seventeenth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series took place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Louden, NH. The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 marks the start of the Race For The Chase, with ten races to go before the cut off to make the Chase to the Sprint Cup. This 318.46 mile race is one of the shortest races on the schedule. New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a flat track just over one mile long.
42 Juan Pablo Montoya starts from the pole with a speed of 132.337. 9 Kasey Kahne is on the front row with him. This is Montoya’s second consecutive pole at this track. In the past ten races, there were ten different winners. Saturday Kyle Busch won the Nationwide race at this track, becoming the only Nationwide driver with more than one win here.
For today’s race, 36 is Casey Mears, 83 is Reed Sorenson, 71 is Andy Lalli, 7 is Bobby Labonte, and 64 is Todd Bodine. Travis Kvapil and Mike Bliss failed to qualify. Labonte crashed his #7 car in practice and was not able to get the backup car through inspection before qualifying. But the 7 car is in the top 35 in points, so Labonte will race.
Festivities started at 1:00 PM EDT and the Green Flag flew at 1:15. 42 pulls ahead to lead the first lap. 2 Kurt Busch and 9 battle for second and 9 lets 2 by. 29 Kevin Harvick, 78 Regan Smith and 18 Kyle Busch are racing three wide, with 18 making the pass. 31 Jeff Burton gets by 6 David Ragan. 5 Mark Martin moves over to let 48 Jimmie Johnson by since he was faster. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. and 20 Joey Logano get together with 20 trying to pass, but he can’t get by. 24 Jeff Gordon gets by 31.
2 tries for the lead in traffic, but 26 David Stremme gives Montoya room and 2 can’t get by. (Trivia: September 2007 was the only time all the cars finished on the track – not a single DNF!) The first caution comes out on lap 34 for debris. It was a water bottle on the apron of the track! It took four laps to clear it off the track. 26 David Stremme is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. Everyone pits, 9 comes out first and chooses the inside of 5 for the restart. Seven drivers took only two tires for track position.
42 and 2 battle behind 18. 42 gets by and they both get by 18. 5 gets shuffled back. 31 gets by 20. 39 Ryan Newman battles with 20 and gets by. They both won their first career Cup wins here. 00 David Reutimann and 6 battle with 00 getting by. 14 Tony Stewart gets by 6. 18 looses a couple of spots and declares his car is “junk”. 31 and 18 battle for fifth and 31 gets by. 14 gets by 33 Clint Bowyer for ninth. He’s moving forward after starting 25th. 42 is chattering his front brakes.
48 gets by 42 for second. 14 is making an early pit stop because they didn’t get all the fuel in on that last stop. He has to hope everyone else has to pit. He was extremely tight. 48 catches the leader, 9 in traffic. 31 gets by 42 for third. 9 makes a pit stop and 48 takes the lead. Green Flag Pitting has started. 48 pits and 2 leads. 2 pits and 39 leads. 39 pits and 14 leads. After it all, 9 resumes the lead.
18 is in second after his pit stop. 48 had a long pit stop with a lug nut giving his crew trouble. 24 goes around 14 for fifth. 2 drives around 14. 16 Greg Biffle and 99 Carl Edwards battle for eighteenth with 16 taking the spot. 11 Denny Hamlin also gets by 99. 31 gets sideways but gets by 42. 48 and 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. battle for eighth with 88 taking eighth. 18 takes the lead in traffic.
14 has to pit again. 48 gets back by 88. 78 pits with a flat tire and goes around the commitment cone. 9 catches 18 in traffic and they both pit for more Green Flag Pitting. 31 takes the lead, then pits. 18 is back in the lead after the pitting. 31 gets by 9 for second. 31 and 18 battle for the lead. 31 takes the lead (he started 17th). 9 is off the pace. He thinks he is loosing the engine. He and 6 have the new Ford engine. So 9 is running on 7 cylinders and has to maintain minimum track speed.
29 is up to 11th from 27th. (This is Mark Martin’s 775th career start!) 2 and 43 A. J. Allmendinger battle for seventh and 43 gets by. 11 is about to go a lap down. 48 gets by 24 for fifth. The second caution comes out when 9 blows up with major smoke. There were 201 Green flag laps. 11 Denny Hamlin gets back on the lead lap. Seven cars take the wave around back onto the lead lap, including 14. The Green Flag comes back out on lap 245. 48 gets by 24. 42 and 24 get together and 43 slips by both of them.
48 gets by 18 for second. 48 is catching leader 31. 88 tries to get around 39 for several laps allowing 33 to catch them. Both get by 88. The third caution comes out for 42 into the wall. 42 had been racing 83 side by side for many laps, they got together and 42 ended up spinning into the wall. 48 pits from second and they all follow him. Most take two tires and 48 comes out of the pits first. 31 chooses the outside, 48 and 31 battle for the lead and 48 takes the lead.
The fourth caution comes out with twelve to go. 31 got loose into 18. 18 spins around and 31 lets 18 collect the car. They both pit. The restart is with nine to go. 2 bumps 48 to take the lead. 11 bumps 00 to get by. 48 and 2 battle for the lead with 14 right behind. 14 and 2 battle for second and 14 slides ahead of 2.
Jimmie Johnson wins the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. This is his 52nd career win and his fifth of the season and second in a row. Kasey Kahne lead the most laps. There were seven different leaders. This was Jimmie’s third win at this track. Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle swap points in the top twelve. Carl Edwards holds onto the twelfth spot over Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by one point.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR!