Race Week Rewind
The campers started rolling in on Saturday morning, July 5. And while some New Hampshire Motor Speedway guests are still enjoying themselves on property, NASCAR drivers, teams, and officials have all departed the Magic Mile for a much-needed week off after what was a jam-packed week of racing in the Granite State.
NASCAR will return to New Hampshire in nine weeks with another full slate, including the return of the fan-favorite Camping World Truck Series after a two-year hiatus. The UNOH 175 will run on Saturday, Sept. 20. Also featured in September will be the Whelen Modified Tour F.W. Webb 100, the American-Canadian Tour Bond Auto Parts ACT Invitational, and the SYLVANIA 300 - the second race the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
But before we look forward to September, let's take one last look back at the week that was the past Camping World RV Sales 301 NASCAR weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
Hard to pass? Hardly
Brad Keselowski had no trouble working his way through the field in Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301. The No. 2 Redd's Apple Ale was a heat-seeking missile, focused solely on the front row, which is where he finished. Despite finding himself outside the top-five on more than one occasion following pit stops during the race, Keselowski was able to pick apart the competition, something that isn't always easy to do at the Magic Mile.
Keselowski made a little history, too, becoming the first driver in track history to sweep both weekend races (he also won Saturday's Sta-Green 200 Nationwide race). Keselowski's win, his first ever victory in the Sprint Cup Series at the Magic Mile, also extended the longest active streak of different Sprint Cup winners. The 13-for-13 streak ties Texas Motor Speedway for the longest streak in NASCAR history.
After Sunday, that term now has a whole new meaning for New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. One of the best interior wideouts in the National Football League, Edelman - the Official Pace Car Driver for the Camping World RV Sales 301 - was told in a pre-race meet-and-greet with Kyle Busch that he might get a little physical with the Patriot.
"He's going to bump me, isn't he?," Edelman asked the media during a pre-race press conference. "You all know he's going to do it. Oh man, I don't know about this."
Busch followed through, coming up and bumping the pace car during the opening warm-up laps. All in good fun.
"I have the utmost respect for these guys and the focus they have to have for such a long period of time," said Edelman. "I'd say I was a casual fan before, but I'll pay attention more now."
Never too late
With Nick Drake and Brandon Jones battling for the win in front of him, Jesse Little had a feeling that there might still be an opportunity to win Friday's Granite State 100. Winless in his first 30 K&N Pro Series East starts, Little finally got that win when Jones took out Drake on the final turn, essentially handing the win to the 17-year-old.
You the Newman!
The inaugural Whelen All-Star Shootout was everything it was built up to be. The modified race was a door-to-door slugfest with three-time NHMS Sprint Cup Series race winner Ryan Newman taking the checkers.
Newman has been in every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star race since 2004, but has never been to victory lane. Using a dramatic last-lap slingshot pass of Justin Bonsignore, Newman finally earned some All-Star hardware.
That's a first!
In 15 previous Whelen Modified Tour starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Bobby Santos had never registered so much as a top-three finish. Well, he can add Magic Mile champion when the Tour returns in the September.
Santos held off Doug Coby and Ted Christopher, who have combined for seven wins at the 1.058-mile oval. Christopher, known for his exciting and aggressive tactics, tried a dive-bomb move in the final turn, but couldn't make it stick, which gave Santos the win in a three-car photo finish.