Kasey Kahne all but guaranteed himself a spot in the Chase with his second victory of the season at this afternoon’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Kahne controlled the final 60+ laps of the race, but the best car on the day likely belonged to Denny Hamlin, who finished 2nd largely thanks to a pit mistake after a restart on the 240th lap. Hamlin had built a a big 5.5 second lead before a caution on lap 232. He took on 4 tires and found himself in 12th after the restart.
13 laps later, Hamlin had jumped up to 6th and withing 25 laps had reached 2nd place. However, there wasn’t enough time to run down Hamlin, who took the checkered flag for the second time this season and moved himself into the top wildcard spot for the Sprint Chase to the Cup.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 4th on the day, which according to Chevrolet means a record 19th straight lead lap finish. He currently sits 2nd in the Chase standings and is feeling pretty good about things so far.
“I don’t know, man,” said Earnhardt. “We’re pretty excited about our chances when we get to the Chase, but we’ve still got some things to learn and accomplish before we get there. We’re not looking too far ahead, you know; we’re trying to work on one race at a time.”
The top 10 were as follows.
1. Kasey Kahne
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Greg Biffle
10. Ryan Newman
Other notables include pole sitter Kyle Busch in 16th and Carl Edwards in 19th.