NASCAR playoffs at New Hampshire results: Kyle Busch wins, makes Round of 12

Kyle Busch held off Kyle Larson to win his third race of the season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday. The victory ensures Busch a spot in the round of 12 of the NASCAR playoffs as well as five bonus points once the round begins. 

Rowdy started on the pole and led the most overall laps. Sunday's checkered flag signaled the 41st win of his career and his third at the track. Larson also clinched a spot in the Round of 12, finishing 72 points ahead of 11th-place Jamie McMurray.

As a prize, Busch was awarded the customary lobster. While his teammate Denny Hamlin has lobsterphobia and was terrified of it back in July, Busch's son two-year-old son Brexton had no problem handling the crustacean.

Here's how it all went down. 

Stage 1: Truex dominates as Stenhouse struggles again

Martin Truex Jr. earned his 19th stage victory of the season, holding off Kyle Larson en route to the 10 playoff points and bonus point. The 10 mean virtually nothing but Round of 16 stat padding for Truex, who advanced with his win at Chicagoland last week. The single extra bonus point however will carry over to the No. 78's total in the round of 12 and round of 8 if he indeed does advance again. 

Kyle Busch led the first 39 laps before battling and inevitably being passed by Truex Jr., who started fifth. Busch finished the stage third followed by Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Jones was the only non-playoff contender to finish inside the top 10. 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got into early trouble for the second straight week. At Chicagoland, the No. 17 got into the wall on lap 20 while this week he suffered a similar fate around lap 10. The damage was not nearly as bad this time around, however, as Stenhouse was able to stay out on the track despite the setback. He finished the stage 22nd, lowest among any of the playoff drivers.

Stage 2: Kyle Busch wins after brother Kurt, Harvick wreck

Truex dominated most of the stage but it was Kyle Busch who took home the green-and-white checkered after a massive final lap wreck involving playoff drivers Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Truex as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeffrey Earnhardt and Danica Patrick.

The pile-up brought out the red flag signaling a stop in the action until NASCAR could get the track cleaned up. Both Busch and Harvick had to take their cars into the garage. The No. 41 was already below the cutoff line before the race began and will have an even bigger hole to climb out of when the series heads to Dover for the final race in the Round of 16 next weekend.

For Kyle Busch, it was his 13th stage win of the season. Like Truex, the bonus point will carry over to each of the following rounds except the Championship 4. Jones finished the stage second followed by Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Kasey Kahne and Daniel Suarez to round out the top 10. 

Logano began the race from the back of the pack after being put in timeout by NASCAR and forfeiting qualifying. He eventually fell out of contention after another penalty struck the No. 22 team. This time it was the jackman going over the wall too soon.

Final Stage:

Denny Hamlin had to make an unscheduled pit stop less than 30 laps into the stage after reports of a loose wheel. The decision immediately put Hamlin, who won this race earlier in the season, a lap down. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. inadvertently brought out the caution on lap 219 as his car went up in smoke and debris flew off the No. 88 Chevrolet. Junior was able to stay in the race as he had merely lost a tire. That coupled with involvement in the earlier wreck did however take him out of contention for his first victory of the season.

Problems for Hendrick Motorsports continued as playoff contender Kasey Kahne suffered mechanical issues with 37 laps to go, bringing out yet another caution and ending his day. But as one door closed another opened with Denny Hamlin getting the free pass and being put back on the lead lap. Trevor Bayne then brought out another quickie yellow, getting loose and spinning out into the wall.

Kyle Busch took the lead on the restart and continued to dominate the stage en route to the checkered flag. The only driver that got close was Larson, who at points came within two seconds of the leader.

ISM Connect 300 results

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Kyle Larson
  3. Matt Kenseth
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Martin Truex Jr.
  6. Erik Jones
  7. Clint Bowyer
  8. Daniel Suarez
  9. Ryan Blaney
  10. Joey Logano
  11. Chase Elliott
  12. Denny Hamlin
  13. Ryan Newman
  14. Jimmie Johnson
  15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  16. Jamie McMurray
  17. AJ Allmendinger
  18. Danica Patrick
  19. Austin Dillon
  20. Paul Menard
  21. Chris Buescher
  22. Ty Dillon
  23. Michael McDowell
  24. Trevor Bayne
  25. Landon Cassill
  26. Aric Almirola
  27. Corey LaJoie
  28. Reed Sorenson
  29. David Ragan
  30. Cole Whitt
  31. Matt DiBenedetto
  32. Brett Moffitt
  33. Gray Gaulding
  34. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  35. Kasey Kahne
  36. Kevin Harvick
  37. Kurt Busch
  38. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  39. Cody Ware

BOLD - indicates NASCAR playoff driver

POSITION

DRIVER

CAR #

POINTS

BEHIND

WINS

1.

Martin Truex Jr.

78

2149

LEADER

5

2.

Kyle Larson

42

2125

-24

4

3.

Kyle Busch

18

2119

-30

3

4.

Brad Keselowski

2

2106

-43

2

5.

Denny Hamlin

11

2088

-61

2

6.

Matt Kenseth

20

2087

-62

0

7.

Jimmie Johnson

48

2076

-73

3

8.

Ryan Blaney

21

2070

-79

1

9.

Chase Elliott

24

2070

-79

0

10.

Kevin Harvick

4

2069

-80

1

11.

Jamie McMurray

1

2053

-96

0

12.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17

2044

-105

2

13.

Austin Dillon

3

2044

-105

1

14.

Ryan Newman

31

2043

-106

1

15.

Kurt Busch

41

2027

-122

1

16.

Kasey Kahne

5

2023

-126

1

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