LOUDON, N.H. (July 15, 2012) – Denny Hamlin's car was good. Real good. But in the end it still wasn’t good enough to catch Kasey Kahne, who picked up his first-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at “The Magic Mile” on Sunday in the 20th annual LENOX Industrial Tools 301.
With his second victory of the season, Kahne now moves into the top Wild-Card spot for one of the final two spots in the Chase for the championship.
“The luck changed today – I will take them any way I can,” said Kahne, who won at Charlotte Motor Speedway back in May. “It feels good to finish one off today.”
Kahne celebrated in Victory Lane with “Loudon the Lobster,” an 18-pound crustacean that was caught 150 miles off the coast of Maine. “Loudon” was presented to Kahne by 12-year-old Ella Lange of Bedford, N.H.
Kahne’s previous best New Hampshire finish was fourth in 2004.
Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.
Hamlin (second) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 13 races at NHMS. It’s his 10th top-10 finish of 2012. A second-career win at NHMS looked very realistic for much of the race, as Hamlin led a race-high 150 laps. But a miscommunication between Hamlin and Crew Chief Darian Grubb during a late caution led to a four-tire change rather than a two, and the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota was forced to play catch-up for the final 50 laps.
“We had a little miscommunication, and that one little mistake cost us the race today,” said Hamlin. “We didn’t get the trophy and we missed out on three points, but that was it. When we come back again in September we will be pretty strong.”
Bowyer knows all about strong Septembers. Bowyer has two wins in September at NHMS, and his third-place finish on Sunday gives him four top-fives in 14 starts at “The Magic Mile.”
“It’s a humbling sport, you go from a win to getting knocked out of the next couple of races,” said Bowyer, who followed his win at Sonoma with a 16th at Kentucky and a 29th last week at Daytona. “It feels good to reach the podium.”
While Hendrick failed to have another driver other than Kahne reach the podium, it was a strong overall day for Hendrick, with Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon (sixth) and Jimmie Johnson (seventh) all finishing inside the top 10.
"We run better at this track for whatever reason the second time in the season,” said Earnhardt, who now sits 16 points behind Matt Kenseth for the points lead. “I like coming here and I love running here.”
The Cup Series will return to New Hampshire on Sept. 23 for the SYLVANIA 300, the second race in the Chase for the championship.
For more details and ticket information on events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, or to purchase tickets to September’s SYLVANIA 300 NASCAR weekend, please stop by our Ticket Office, visit the speedway website at www.nhms.com, or call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931.