New Hampshire Sees Nationwide Series Milestone and a First for Stewart Haas Racing
Former Kansas Speedway winner Ryan Newman and his teammate/car owner Tony Stewart, a two-time Kansas Speedway winner, started first and second, respectively, in the Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, and that’s how they finished. It was the first time since June 2006 at Pocono that the two drivers (Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch) who started a race 1-2 finished in the same positions.
“We backed up what everybody said we couldn’t back up, and that was our qualifying effort on Friday,” said Newman. “We put it on them today. We don’t put it on them every weekend, so we need to relish this moment and figure out what we did right so we can keep doing it.”
Newman became the 13th different winner in the Sprint Cup Series in 2011, which means that just after the half way point in the season, the series has already tied the number of winners that won in the 2010 season.
Denny Hamlin earned a third-place finish and Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.
Kyle Busch entered the race on Sunday with the points lead but contact with the wall on lap 60 led him to a 36th-place finish and he dropped to fifth in the standings. Carl Edwards regained the points lead and he is currently seven points ahead of second place Jimmie Johnson. David Ragan and Tony Stewart currently hold the wild card positions.
Fans and media have wondered if Mark Martin’s 49 Nationwide Series wins record would ever be broken and now it’s just a matter of where. Kyle Busch, who seems to win at every level, tied Martin’s record with his 49th career Nationwide Series win this past weekend at New Hampshire.
Recognizing the accomplishment, Martin was one of the first to go to victory lane to congratulate him.
“Everyone forgets, he’s 26 years old. There are so many more (wins) out there for him.”
Busch also reached another milestone with the win, his 100th career NASCAR victory, which puts him in a very select group. David Pearson (106) and Richard Petty (200) are the only other drivers with triple digit series wins.
“It’s a personal milestone more than anything,” said Busch, who counts a Kansas Speedway win among the 100 victories. “It certainly feels good, it means a lot. To tie (Martin’s) record is pretty awesome as well. It’s been a great opportunity to race in this series and win that many. It’s so hard to pass out there. I wasn’t sure what would happen on those restarts, but I got a good one. Harvick was right there, but I beat him through turns 1 and 2, and held on.”
Kevin Harvick, was second, Kasey Kahne third with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Aric Almorola rounding out the top five.
Kevin Harvick Inc. driver Elliot Sadler leads Reed Sorenson by seven points in the Nationwide Series standings. Stenhouse is third Justin Allgaier is fourth and Almirola is fifth.