Smoked: Kyle Busch Victorious In Monster Energy Cup ISM Connect 300 At NHMS

Kyle Busch smokes up the front stretch at New Hampshire Motor Speedway following his victory in the Monster Energy Cup Series ISM Connect 300 Sunday (Photo: New Hampshire Motor Speedway)

LOUDON, N.H. – The record books at New Hampshire Motor Speedway are dotted in multiple divisions with previous outstanding performances by Kyle Busch.

Before Sunday Busch had 11 career NASCAR victories at the track between the Monster Energy Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series.

Sunday he became part of New Hampshire Motor Speedway trivia forever.

Who won the last Fall Monster Energy Cup event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway? Kyle Busch.

Busch led a race-high 187 laps on the way to victory in the Monster Energy Cup Series ISM Connect 300 at NHMS, the second race of the 10-event playoff stretch. The victory advances Busch to the second round of the playoffs.

Kyle Larson was second and Matt Kenseth third.

In victory lane Busch remembered legendary short track racer Ted Christopher of Plainville, who was killed in a plane crash on Sept. 16. 
“We’re remembering those that we lost,” Busch said. “Ted Christopher passed this week. Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

It was Busch’s third career Monster Energy Cup Series victory in Loudon, a track where he has 14 career top-10 finishes in 26 career series starts. He also has six career Xfinity Series victories and three Camping World Truck Series victories at the track.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway began hosting its July Monster Energy Cup Series event in 1993. The track has hosted it’s September Monster Energy Cup Series weekend annually since 1997. The September Monster Energy Cup event at NHMS will move to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next season, with the track left hosting a single mid-summer event in Loudon next year.

Busch is a Las Vegas native.

“This place is always exciting,” Busch said. “It always lends itself to exciting moments that’s for sure. We had one today. … You’ve got to give it to the track for putting on some great moments with other races here like the [American-Canadian Tour], the [Whelen Modified Tour], the [K&N East Series], the Trucks, the Xfinity cars. They plug this place full of opportunity to see some good race. I’m partial to the Vegas thing because I’m from there. That’s my hometown. … September though, I don’t know what’s hotter, today or what it’s going to be in Vegas next year. Either way it’s looking to be hot.”

For team owner Joe Gibbs, losing an event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway means saying goodbye to one race a year at a venue where his team has shined, greatly, especially in recent years.

Since 2000 Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have won 11 Monster Energy Cup Series events in Loudon.

Busch’s win Sunday completed the second season sweep of both series events in Loudon in the last three seasons. Denny Hamlin won this year’s July race.

Dating back to 2013, Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have won six of the last nine series events at NHMS.

“We’ve always enjoyed coming here,” Gibbs said. “… We’d love to have two races here. But we also know with our sport there’s a lot going on and a lot of decisions have to be made about what’s best for the sport. I’m not a part of that, but I can say that we love coming to Loudon. It’s been a great race track for us and a number of our drivers. You hate that. But I was thrilled today with the crowd and the way everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.”

Busch ended his day with a smoke show for fans down the front stretch, but it was getting through the smoke clean at the mid-point of the event that proved huge for him.

On lap 150 Kevin Harvick got turned off of turn two by Austin Dillon, creating a massive smoke cloud on the backstretch that began a collection of contenders in the wreck.

Busch somehow was able to squeeze between Harvick and the outside wall and avoid being collected in the mess. Martin Truex Jr., who had led 109 laps at that point, caught part of the accident.

“That was pretty intense,” Busch said. “That was some ‘Days of Thunder’ stuff over there. You couldn’t see anything. It was just a wall of smoke over there off of Turn 2. I was listening to my spotter and basically was told to stop, and I was like ‘Sounds like a good idea.’

“I just checked up as much as I could. Of course, I was trying not to get run into from behind. … But all in all, just a great day. We ran up front all day long, we executed, we did what we were supposed to do.”

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