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Kasey Kahne wins Lenox Industrial Tools 301

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff  July 15, 2012 01:08 PM

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Race over: Kasey Kahne bolstered his bid for a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship with a victory in Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

It was Kahne's second victory of the season after a triumph at Charlotte and first of his career at New Hampshire, where he led the last 66 laps of the race to finish ahead of runner-up Denny Hamlin, third place Clint Bowyer, fourth place Dale Earnhardt Jr., and fifth place Brad Keselowski.

Lap 295/301: Hamlin continued to close the gap on Kahne, pulling within 1.032 seconds.

Lap 280/301: Kahne continued to lead, but Hamlin mounted a strong run to move into second, 3.031 seconds behind.

Lap 260/301: Kahne built a 0.610-second lead (about 10 car lengths) over Bowyer. But the most impressive sight was seeing Hamlin climb to fourth with 39 to go.

Lap 239/301: Restart. Kasey Kahne took the lead when the racing resumed. Clint Bowyer jumped out to second ahead of Earnhardt. Harvick ran fourth. Hamlin, who took four tires when the rest of the field took two, wound up dropping to 11th.

Lap 234/301:Caution No. 3: David Reutimann's No. 10 Chevrolet fielded by Tommy Baldwin Racing blew an engine coming out of Turn 2. It came after Kyle Busch had pitted under green and dropped back after sliding through his pit box. Jimmie Johnson, who also pitted under green and fell a lap down, regained the lap as the beneficiary of a free pass.
The top 5: 1. Kahne, 2. Earnhardt, 3. Harvick, 4. Bowyer, 5. Keselowski.

Lap 210/301: Hamlin built an impressive 2.311-second lead over second-place, Busch.

Lap 201/301: One hundred laps to go. Hamlin continued to lead. Twenty cars remained on lead lap, with Tony Stewart bringing up the rear in 20th, 9.911 seconds back of the leader.

Lap 196/301: Restart. Denny Hamlin wrested the lead from his JGR teammate, Busch. The top 5: 1. Hamlin, 2. Busch, 3. Johnson, 4. Kahne, 5. Earnhardt.

Lap 190/301: The leaders pitted under caution. Kyle Busch cycled to the front when he stayed out on the track. Hamlin wound up in second. The top 5: 1. Busch, 2. Hamlin, 3. Kahne, 4. Johnson, 5. Keselowski. There were 20 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 189/301: Caution No. 2 Debris in Turn 3 brought out the second caution of the race. Paul Menard got his lap back with the free pass.

Lap 180/301: JGR Toyotas continued to show their strength as Hamlin led with 180 complete. He continued to be chased by Hendrick's four-car stable, led by Kahne, Johnson, Gordon and Earnhardt. Tony Stewart dropped off the pace, falling a lap behind on Lap 173.

Lap 154/301: Hamlin pitted under green, sparking a series of cycle of green-flag stops by the leaders. He exited in seventh, then cycled his way back to the front on Lap 158. The top 5: 1. Hamlin, 2. Gordon, 3. Kahne, 4. Jimmie Johnson, 5. Marcus Ambrose.

Lap 150/301: NASCAR officials in flag stand showed the cross-flags, signifying the halfway point of the race. Hamlin continued to lead at the juncture.

Lap 146/301: Gordon finally pitted under green for four tires and fuel. He entered fourth and came out 21st, one lap down.

Lap 140/301: Hamlin led the race after 140 laps. He continued to be chased by the Hendricks' gang. Jeff Gordon, who briefly inherited the lead from Hamlin on Lap 90 when he stayed out on the track during a round of pit stops under caution, seemed to fall back, dropping to fourth.

Lap 130/301: Getting caught up after some connectivity issues at NHMS. Hamlin continued to lead the race, but Jimmie Johnson has moved into the second position ahead of Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon, who dropped back to fourth behind third-place Kasey Kahne. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran fifth at this juncture of the race.

Lap 100/301: Denny Hamlin led the race after 100 laps. He was trailed by Hendrick Motorsports' entire four-car stable, in order: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 94/301: Restart. Denny Hamlin overtook Jeff Gordon for the lead in Turn 2.

Lap 88/301: Caution No. 1: Debris in Turn 3 brought out the first caution. Race leader Denny Hamlin lead the field into the pits under caution. Jeff Gordon stayed out and inherited the lead, becoming the third different leader of the race.

Lap 72/301: Denny Hamlin took the lead after the first cycle of green-flag pit stops. It proved ruinous for Kyle Busch, who was hit with a penalty for entering pit road too fast. Busch wound up serving a pass-through penalty that relegated him to 22d place, 28.696 seconds behind his JGR teammate, Hamlin.

Lap 67/301: Race leader Kyle Busch is in the pits.

Lap 59/301: The lapped car of Landon Cassill started a cycle of green-flag pit stops when he was the first to make a green-flag pit stop. Cassill went two laps down to race leader Kyle Busch.

Lap 50/301: Kyle Busch has not wavered one bit in leading the first 50 laps of the Lenox 301. Top 5 after 50 laps: 1 Busch, 2. Kahne, 3. Hamlin, 4. Gordon, 5. Johnson.

Lap 40/301: Kyle Busch has led the first 40 laps. Dominant run in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota.

Lap 30/301: Broken record. Kyle Busch continued to lead the field. Kahne has moved back into second place. There were 33 cars on the lead lap. The running order: 1. Busch, 2. Kahne, 3. Hamlin, 4. Gordon, 5. Johnson.

Lap 20/301: Kyle Busch continued to lead the race. He's led all 20 laps. Kelly Bires, driver of the No. 79 Team Kyle/Bestway Disposal Ford, was the second driver to park it on Lap 19
Lap 13/301: With 13 laps complete, an interesting pattern has emerged. There are four pairs of teammates among the top 10 drivers: the JGR duo of Busch and Hamlin (1st and 2d), the Michael Waltrip Racing tandem of Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. (4th and 5th), the Hendrick Motorsports duo of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson (6th and 7th) and the Stewart-Haas Racing pair of Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman (8th and 9th).

Lap 10/301: Kyle Busch continued to lead the field, but his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin, passed Kasey Kahne to move into second place.

Lap 4/301: J.J. Yeley, driving the No. 49 Robinson-Blakeney Racing Toyota, was the first behind the pit wall after four laps.

Lap 1/301: Green! Green! Green! The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 has gone green and pole sitter Kyle Busch has led the first lap.

Pre-race Greetings from a steamy New Hampshire Motor Speedway where the starting command of ``Gentlemen, start your engines!'' has just been given and the drivers in the 43-car grid have complied, igniting their engines in a loud eruption.

Kyle Busch will start from the pole. Kasey Kahne will start from the outside pole.

The field has yet to roll off pit road to get the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at NHMS.

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