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Jul 13, 2014 - 05:53 PM
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2014 New Hampshire: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recap
Posted by: ASkyler on Jul 13, 2014 - 05:51 PM
NASCAR News
2014 New Hampshire: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recap


Team Chevy’s Kyle Larson was looking for his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, but fell just shy of claiming that win and had to settle for a third-place finish. The scheduled 301-lap race was extended to 305 laps when the caution flag waived on lap 298. This set up a green-white-checkered finish; and several drivers ran out of fuel, which jumbled-up the finishing order.

Larson and the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS team put themselves in position to collect a top-five finish when they stayed out on old tires midway through the race, and caught an aptly timed caution flag. The Rookie of the Year contender never looked back and maintained the track position gained by his team. Larson now has four top-five finishes in 2014 and leads the Rookie of the Year standings over fellow Team Chevy driver Austin Dillon.

 

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"It was a really good day for the Target Chevy team," said Larson after climbing out of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet. "We ran up front all day long. We got to lead some laps there. Shine (crew chief Chris Heroy) made some bold calls on pit road to get us some track position and really paid off. It’s been a rough three weeks leading up to now. Just have to get back up there in the points. We were really good and then we had two DNF’s and then a bad race at Sonoma. Just got to get back to how we have been doing and that is consistent; all in all a really good day."

Ryan Newman, a three-time New Hampshire winner, was able to place his No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS in the fifth position when the checkered flag fell by capitalizing on the final green-white-checkered restart. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, quietly earned a seventh-place finish.

However, when the race ended, all eyes turned to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He and race winner Brad Keselowski (Ford) are now the only two drivers who have officially clinched berths in the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Although the 10th place finish at NHMS was not what the driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS was looking for, the solid effort locked NASCAR’s most popular driver into the upcoming 10-race Chase.

"You could say it (clinching a spot in the Chase) was an afterthought, but we worked hard to get to where we are to be able to run as well as we have and win some races," said Earnhardt, Jr. "It feels great. It’s an accomplishment. I’m proud of our team for that. Hopefully we can improve though before we come back here. This is an important race track so we need to run better than this and I know we will work hard to figure that out."

Series point leader Jeff Gordon rebounded from two laps down to running in the second position when the final yellow flag waived. Gordon and the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS team were in a position to potentially end the day in Victory Lane, until he ran out of fuel coming to the green-flag, which relegated the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion to a 26th-place finish. Gordon remains the series point leader by 12 markers over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Earnhardt, Jr.

Brad Keselowski (Ford) was the race winner, Kyle Busch (Toyota) was second and Matt Kenseth (Toyota) was fourth to round out the top five finishers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will return to action in two weeks at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 21st running of the Brickyard 400.


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