The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series made their way to Loudon, New Hampshire for the NASCAR Foxwoods 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
NASCAR Foxwoods 301 Stage 1:
With weather threatening the track at the NASCAR Foxwoods 301, the green flag flew at 12:15 pm PST with Aric Almirola and Denny Hamlin on the front row. Brad Keselowski was able to power to the lead and held serve through Lap 16 when the first caution of the day came out as Kyle Busch lost a tire and pounded the outside wall, ending his day. Keselowski held onto the lead through Lap 30, when the second caution of the day came out for the competition caution.
Brad Keselowski held onto the lead as the race restarted. Denny Hamlin was able to pass Keselowski for the lead on Lap 58 with Ryan Blaney, charging for the second position. Keselowski took the lead back on Lap 61, holding back Hamlin before the third caution of the day came out on Lap 63 as Jimmie Johnson spun. Keselowski and Hamlin pitted while other drivers stayed out.
The race restarted with less than ten laps in the stage with Ryan Blaney holding the lead. Hamlin was able to make quick work of drivers who did not pit and was able to regain the lead position. The first stage concluded Lap 75 with Denny Hamlin, grabbing the green-and-white checkered flag. Pit stops commenced for drivers that did not pit under the third caution, Blaney included.
Stage Two resumed with Denny Hamlin leading the way. The weather finally made its way to the track and brought out the fifth caution of the day when rain dampened the track on Lap 93. The rain did not last long, with the race resuming on Lap 101 with Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick on the front row.
Denny Hamlin continued to show he was the top of the class as he passed Harvick for the lead on Lap 104. With a steady march, Brad Keselowski made his way to Denny Hamlin and engaged in a multi-lap battle for the lead. Eventually, Keselowski emerged victorious with the lead on Lap 147.
With a long, green-flag run underway, Kevin Harvick began pitstops on Lap 167. Following in Harvick’s tracks, Ryan Blaney came down for service. During this time, the sixth caution of the day came out for Christopher Bell as he spun entering the turn. Under caution, the remaining lead-lap cars came down to the pits for tires and fuel. Playing pit strategy, Austin Dillon exited first due to taking only two tires; Brad Keselowski followed after taking four tires.
With nine laps left in Stage Two, Dillon led the field with Keselowski to his inside. Brad Keselowski immediately took the lead with Denny Hamlin following in second. Matt Kenseth brought out the seventh caution of the day as he spun down the backstretch with six laps left in the stage.
Brad Keselowski led Denny Hamlin back as the stage restarted with two laps remaining. With Keselowski sliding up in Turns One and Two, Hamlin powered by Keselowski as they came to one lap remaining. Not to be deterred, Keselowski got underneath Hamlin and was able to reclaim the lead and won Stage Two.
Stage Three commenced on Lap 192 with Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin on the front row. Aided by a push from Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin took over the lead with Keselowski falling to second. The ninth caution of the day came out when Matt Kenseth blew a tire going into Turn Three on Lap 197.
Denny Hamlin led Brad Keselowski back to green on Lap 201. Utilizing the inside line, Brad Keselowski was able to take back the lead with Hamlin following in second. The third time was not the charm as Matt Kenseth brought out the tenth caution of the day as he hit the wall after suffering another flat tire, mercifully ending his day.
Under this caution, a large group of the lead lap cars came down pit road for service. Due to not all cars pitting, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Chase Elliott led the field back to green. Chase Elliott maintained the lead with Ryan Blaney in second. John Hunter Nemechek brought out the eleventh caution of the day as he suffered a flat tire, pounding the Turn Three wall. The drivers who stayed out under the prior caution entered the pits for service under the current caution.
With the field shuffled around, Joey Logano led the field back to green with Hamlin to his inside. Hamlin quickly took over Logano with Keselowski on Hamlin’s bumper. Keselowski got back around Hamlin once again, taking the lead. The race fell into another long, green-flag run as Keselowski padded his lead over Hamlin. Keselowski was able to fend off Denny Hamlin and have enough fuel to run caution-free through the end of the race.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway provided a lot of entertaining racing throughout the pack. Denny and Brad put on a heck of a show during their multiple battles for the lead. The NASCAR 2020 season has provided fans with an entertaining spectrum of races, and the Foxwoods 301 was entertaining from start to finish. What were your thoughts on today’s race?
Next week, the stars of NASCAR make their way to Michigan for a full-weekend double-header.
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