Jerry Markland, Getty Images for Nascar
LOUDON, N.H. — Kasey Kahne got his second Sprint Cup win of the season. Denny Hamlin and his crew chief had trouble communicating.
Kahne took the lead from Hamlin during a restart on the 240th lap of the 300-lap race at the one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday. The winner was helped by miscommunication between Hamlin, who wanted two tires changed, and crew chief Darian Grubb, who thought he wanted four.
That longer pit stop left Hamlin all the way back in 13th place, but he kept passing cars until only Kahne remained in front. Kahne stayed ahead and won by about 10 car lengths.
It was Kahne's 14th win of his career and first since May 27 at Charlotte. Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.
The win enhances Kahne's chances of qualifying for the Chase, the last 10 races of the season in which the top 10 drivers in the point standings win automatic berths. Two additional spots go to the drivers with the most wins who are ranked 11th to 20th in points. Kahne began the day in 16th place, but his two wins are more than anyone in the second group of 10.
"We've been pretty tough all year, but we just haven't finished 'em off a lot of the times," Kahne said. "From here on out, we need some more top 10s and top fives the rest of the way. It doesn't get us in the Chase yet, but it does help with a win today."
The turning point came when the third caution flag came out on the 234th lap for oil dropped on the track by David Reutimann.
Hamlin went into the pit, telling Grubb over the radio that he wanted tires. Grubb, who first planned to change just two, interpreted that to mean four. As Hamlin went back on the track, Grubb told him, "My bad, bud."
And after the race, Grubb took the blame: "That was 100 percent my fault."
Hamlin's Toyota was the best car in the race, which enabled him to pick off one car after another as he recovered from the error.
"It's such a team sport," he said. "We just had a slight miscommunication and that one little miscommunication will magnify it."
Kyle Busch, the pole-sitter, led the first 66 laps before his own costly pit stop. It took longer than usual as his crew had a problem with the right tire. Then there was more trouble — a drive-through penalty against Busch for entering pit road too fast. When he finally returned to the track, he was all the way back in 22nd place.
Sprint Cup points leader Matt Kenseth finished 13th and has won just once this year — in the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.
Race for the Chase
1. M.Kenseth, 707
2. D.Earnhardt Jr., 691
3. G.Biffle, 667
4. J.Johnson, 656
5. D.Hamlin, 628
6. K.Harvick, 622
7. T.Stewart, 618
8. M.Truex Jr., 617
9. C.Bowyer, 614
10. B.Keselowski, 613
11. C.Edwards, 567
12. K.Kahne, 547
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