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LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch had a fast car.
The No. 18 was quick enough to win Stage 2 of Sunday’s Overton’s 301. Perhaps it was too quick.
Busch was nabbed for breaking the 45 miles per hour speed limit on pit road twice. The first time was on Lap 238 during a green-flag run when Busch, then the leader, pulled off for four tires and a full tank of Sunoco. The second time was under caution on Lap 263 after Ryan Newman spun the No. 31 to bring out the yellow.
Busch shook off his first pass-through penalty to re-enter the top 10. But his second violation, for which NASCAR sent the No. 18 to the back of the lead lap, occurred too late for Busch to make up the time. Busch finished in 12th place.
The mistakes marred what should have been a good day for the No. 18. While Martin Truex Jr. led a field-best 137 laps, Busch was in front for 95 spins, second-most of any driver.
Busch is in third place in the standings behind Truex and Kyle Larson.
Erik Jones was the first casualty of the Overton’s 301. After the race’s first restart, the left front tire of the No. 77 went down and the car went straight into the Turn 3 wall. Jones lasted just 40 laps.
Jones’s problems started on pit road. After he peeled out of his stall, Jones got sandwiched between Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin. As they went three-wide, Jones clanged doors with Kahne’s No. 5, causing undetected damage to the tire.
Jones was uninjured despite tagging the wall hard. He is in 17th place.
“It’s going to be really tough to make the playoffs now,” Jones said.
Jones is in his first and final season with Furniture Row Racing. Jones will replace Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing next year. It is unknown whether Truex will have another teammate in 2018 or return to being Furniture Row’s single car.
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels served as Sunday’s honor pace car driver. McDaniels is a NASCAR enthusiast who had attended previous races at NHMS.
“This race falls in a real nice time for us,” McDaniel said. “We’re off from the middle of June until the 24th, 25th of July. Can’t come to the next one in September, but a lot of us have come to the race in the summer. Our family’s made it a yearly tradition.”
McDaniels tabbed Tom Brady, because of his competitiveness, as one of his charges he thought would be good in the cockpit of a Cup car. Conversely, McDaniels was quick to identify Rob Gronkowski as the player he would not like behind the wheel.
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