Surprising and Not Surprising: New Hampshire Lenox Industrial Tools 301

After a week of debate on whether or not NASCAR drivers were athletes, thanks to Golden Tate at the EPSYs, as well as which driver was in desperation mode to make the Chase, 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup cars took to the Magic Mile in Loudon, New Hampshire.

Here is what was surprising and not surprising from the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.

[media-credit id=43 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Surprising:  Prior to the race, most of the drivers were praising the new tire that Goodyear had brought to the track. Yet, by the end of the race, several drivers had experienced surprisingly significant tire issues. One of those most affected was the point leader coming into the race, Kyle Busch.

Busch, behind the wheel of the unusually white No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, blew a tire and slammed into the wall at turn 3. Even worse than his 36th place finish was his fall from the top of the Chase standings leader board, from first to fifth.

“We blew a tire,” Busch said. “There was too much brake heat.”

“I had a pretty fast car and we were getting there,” Busch continued. “But the tire wouldn’t take it.”

Not Surprising:  With one driver dominating the race weekend, from winning his third straight Whelen Modified Series race to the Coors Light pole, it was not surprising to find Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 US Army Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, in Victory Lane.

And following right behind him, sporting a big smile, was his team owner and teammate Tony Stewart, who brought his No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, to the checkered flag in second place.

This was the first time that Stewart-Haas Racing had finished 1-2. They had also started the race in the same order in which they finished.

“I’m just really proud of this US Army team and all the people that help out,” Newman said. “It’s a big deal for us.”

“We had a great weekend at Stewart-Haas Racing and I’m really proud of everybody’s effort.”

“It was a perfect day for the organization for sure,” Stewart said. “This is big for everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing.”

Surprising:  In contrast to their Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch’s problems, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano both had surprisingly good days, even with the beating and banging going on at the Magic Mile.

Hamlin, driving the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, and Logano, behind the wheel of the No. 20 Home Depot, came in third and fourth respectively.

“It was a pretty physical race in the sense that guys were really banging into each other,” Hamlin said. “I was banging into guys.”

“It was one of those days where you just had to do the best you can to keep four fenders on it by the end of the day,” Hamlin continued. “We had three, but it was good enough to get us through and have a good comeback day finishing third.”

Not Surprising:  Four-time champion Jeff Gordon, driving the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, proved he had the mettle to face adversity and still salvage a decent day at the track. Gordon battled electrical issues for much of the race, describing his warning lights as “lighting up like a Christmas tree” at one point.

Because Gordon had to turn his brake blowers off due to the electrical issues, he had a tire failure at the end of the race, rolling slowing across the line to finish 11th.

“Oh my goodness,” Gordon said. “What didn’t happen today? It was a pretty crazy day for us.”

“We had a lot of obstacles thrown at us, but certainly we had a lot to smile about with how great our car was.”

Surprising:  With all the radio communications possible between driver, crew chief and team nowadays, it was surprising to see one team writing out instructions to their driver on a piece of cardboard during the race.

Jamie McMurray, driving the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker 1 Chevrolet, could not hear his crew so they resorted to old school style of communication. Even that did not help, however, and McMurray and company finished a tough 31st.

Not Surprising:  Similar to his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, in the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet, had a bad day but took it and made it better. Johnson and company had a lug nut issue and then spun, but still recovered to finish fifth.

“We’ve been working and we’ve been patient as a group trying to mature guys and get stuff ready,” the five-time champion said. “But we can’t have these mistakes anymore.”

“We are way too close to the Chase and we need to be right.”

Surprising:  While the Red Bull team has had it troubles, especially with the news that the team would be gone after the season, it was surprising to see teammates Kasey Kahne, in the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, and Brian Vickers, in the No. 38 Red Bull Toyota, wreck into each other.

Kahne was able to finish the race in sixth but Vickers, who was most affected by the collision, could only recover to place 34th.

Not Surprising:  It was not surprising to see the driver of the No. 99 Ortho Home Defense Ford, Carl Edwards, play the fuel mileage game to regain the points lead with his 13th place finish.

“We had fun,” Edwards said. “It is fitting we have Aflac for a sponsor because I feel like I was buying insurance at the end.”

“I was letting those guys go by one point at a time thinking that if we had a green-white-checkered, we could win this thing,” Edwards continued. “It is hard to back up like that but it worked.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


  1. You people sure do a lot of Kasey Kahne hating. Shouldn’t you guys be a little impartial? Professionalism and all…you know.


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