LOUDON, N.H. — In a race that already had one extra lap added on, Kyle Busch finished the Camping World RV Sales 301 wishing he’d had another.
Coming out of a caution for the final lap, there was a chance Busch could weave his way to the front of the pack and pick up his third win of the season, but he knew the chances were slim.
Brian Vickers had the lead on the outside and Tony Stewart was practically side-by-side with him.
As soon as he got the green-checkered flag, Busch made a quick move to the inside, flirting dangerously with the yellow line at the bottom of the track as they went into Turn 1.
But he didn’t kid himself about the odds.
“Oh, we didn’t have a chance,” he said. “Vickers taking the outside was going to be the car to beat.”
Stewart ran out of gas right in front of him coming out of Turn 2, and Busch had to swerve out of the way to avoid him.
“Almost wrecked with him,” Busch said.
But by then, Vickers was well out of reach.
Busch led 53 laps, took his 11th top-10 of the season and seventh in 17 career races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but left Loudon Sunday feeling a bit disappointed.
“Just wish the race was two laps longer,” Busch said. “Maybe Vickers would have run out [of gas] and we would have been able to win the thing.”
He had confidence in his car, which qualified fourth.
“I think we were the fastest car here today,” he said.
But when he got stuck in traffic with cars at the back of the field, he ran into trouble.
“We were out front, we were leading, we were doing fine,” he said. “We get to lapped traffic and I can’t turn anymore. I hate it because we had such great race here. This car was awesome today and these guys deserve to be in victory lane.”
Compared to his brother, his issues seemed small.
No one led more laps than Kurt Busch, who was out front for 102. At one point the brothers were running first and third, with Jeff Burton sandwiched between them.
“I was thinking he was going to ruin the Busch 1-2,” Kyle Busch said.
Kurt Busch was leading as late as Lap 195 before a four-car wipe-out ruined his day.
Just three laps after coming out of a caution on Lap 222, the older sibling found himself racing three-wide with Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman on Turn 2. Kenseth gave Busch a tap in the right rear fender that sent Busch and Newman into synchronized spinouts.
Kurt Busch had to peel his car off the wall, drag it to the garage and work frantically just to get it back on the track to finish 31st.
“I thought Kurt had a really, really good race car today,” Kyle said. “I don’t know what happened. I haven’t seen the replay stuff yet, but I know he got caught up in that deal. I hate it for those guys.”
His front driver’s side mangled, Newman took the brunt of it, even though he was mostly an innocent passerby.
“We just got whacked by a bunch of guys,” said Newman, who finished 39th. “The No. 18 [Kyle Busch] hit me first. The No. 2 [Brad Keselowski] hit me next, and then I guess it was Kurt that went underneath three-wide, passed the No. 20 [Kenseth], came and clipped us and knocked us into the fence and took himself out.
“That was the best I could tell. I don’t know . . . Just a lot of disrespect from a bunch of guys on restarts. What goes around comes around.”
Kenseth got away largely unscathed and finished ninth.
It was his 10th top-10 of the season, and it allowed him to hold steady at sixth in the points race, one spot ahead of Kyle Busch, who left the track with lingering thoughts off a checkered flag he felt he should have grabbed.
“Certainly we wanted to win here,” Kyle Busch said. “But we know what we need to do to work on our race car and definitely when we come back for the Chase.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.