Sprint Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski stormed to victory in the Sta-Green 200 last night at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, after he led a total of 148 out of the 200 laps, but he had to battle for it as fellow Cup Series driver Kyle Busch was always close by.
Fans of the sport always argue that with Cup Series drivers in the Nationwide Series race it ruins the race, but last night although the top four places were taken up by Cup drivers the race wasn't boring and there was always something happening even between the Cup drivers.
Behind Keselowski and Busch in the final standings came Matt Kenseth in the #20 car, who was making his 275th start in the Nationwide Series and a career that started in 1996, and behind Kenseth was Sprint Cup Series rookie Kyle Larson and the top five was rounded out by Nationwide Series driver Chris Buescher.
The fifth place finish for C.Buescher was more extraordinary after he managed to go 92 laps on his last can of fuel, whilst other drivers around him were running out of fuel and losing positions.
There was also a race within a race this week as four drivers, Regan Smith, Ryan Reed, Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements were battling for the Dash4Cash which gives the highest placing driver a $100,000 bonus. Smith finished 10th and grabbed this weeks bonus.
The race began with Keselowski on the pole, which could have been a bad position after every race in the 2014 Nationwide Series calendar has not gone on to win the race but that fact was diminished last night, and Busch on the front row and Busch took the lead out of turn two.
The first caution of the race was out on lap six after Trevor Bayne, who will have a full-time ride in the Cup Series next year, spun out after getting a flat left rear tire. The previous lap there had been contact between Bayne and rookie Kwasniewski after the rookie got loose and went up the track into Bayne.
As soon as the race got going on lap 11 there was a caution on the same lap as Josh Wise failed to get going and came to a stop on the back stretch. This was lucky for Bayne who got his lap back instantly.
Under the second caution there was a driver change as Jeffrey Earnhardt decided to call it a day as he is still nursing a recovering broken shoulder and Matt Dibenedetto took his place in his #4 machine. Brendan Gaughan was the only driver to pit to make repairs to the #62 car after contact with the wall under green.
On lap 35 Keselowski was back in the lead after lap traffic halted Busch's progress away from the driver in the #22 car. The biggest mover upto this point was rookie Ty Dillon in the #3 car after he had to start in 39th at the rear of field as his crew had to fix a broken spring and he had made his way into 16th.
At the quarter way mark in the race, lap 50, Keselowski was still out front by only 1.2 seconds over Busch and between them they had led all 50 laps in the books. Smith was the highest placed driver in the Dash4Cash in ninth position.
The first green flag pit stops of the race began on lap 77 as James Buescher was the first on pit road for his stop as he came down pit road with a flat tire. Lap 80 saw rookie Chase Elliott come in out of fuel and he was stalled on pit road for extra time whilst the team got the car re-fired.
Bayne became the third different leader on lap 84 as he was on an alternative cycle to the leaders, but one lap later Keselowski resumed his place at the top of the charts.
The third caution of the race was displayed on lap 92 for debris in turn two which once again bunched the field up and rid Keselowski of his lead he'd built up.
At the half way stage, lap 100, there had only been three leaders in the race and a total of three cautions, whilst Keselowski and Busch had dominated, Elliott Sadler was the highest placing Nationwide Series driver in fourth.
Lap 102 brought out the fourth caution of the race for debris on the front straight away, which came about after Paul Menard hit the wall and crumpled the right rear of his car after contact with Elliott.
The first big caution of the day came on the restart on lap 105 after Brian Scott got into Sadler which sent both of them spinning into the pack of cars. Dakota Armstrong, J.Buescher, Austin Theriault and Menard were all involved and sustained some damage.
On the restart on lap 112 Larson was the fourth leader of the race after avoiding the contact in the earlier caution. But further back in the pack drivers were battling back to be the lucky food in the field and this resulted in Reed and Dillon making contact which sent Dillon further into the field.
Lap 120 was the time when Keselowski went back on point after passing Larson. Smith was still the highest placed Dash4Cash driver in fifth position.
Only ten cars were left on the lad lap on lap 137 as Keselowski continued to out slower drivers one lap down on the track.
The sixth caution was displayed on lap 140 as there was more debris on the track, this time on the back stretch. Rookie Elliott was the beneficiary and was back onto the lead lap in 11th. A number of drivers were on pit road which enabled C.Buescher to become the leader as he stayed on the track.
With 50 laps to go Keselowski was back on point from Busch as Smith was still the highest Dash4Cash driver in ninth and C.Buescher was the highest placed Nationwide driver in fifth.
Two drivers who had had great drives with 38 laps to go were Bayne and Elliott who had recovered from early problems in the race to be in eigth and ninth respectively.
Keselowski only had a small advantage over Busch with 30 laps to go and the driver in the #54 car was reeling in the leader. But with 13 laps to go Busch began to get impatient with lap cars and hit the back of J.Buescher almost spinning the #99 car on the back stretch.
In the last five laps of the race two drivers ran out of fuel, firstly J.Biescher with four laps left slowed on the back stretch but made it to pit road and then Theriault slowed with three laps to go.
As the chequered flag was displayed Keselowski took the win and only his second win of the season in the Nationwide Series. As Busch came home in second after battling with the #22 driver for most of the race. Out of the 40 cars, 31 of them finished the race.
Keselowski became the first driver of the 2014 Nationwide Series season to win from the pole and told reporters: "It was hard at the end there, but this team did well to take advantage and make adjustments. It seems every time I driver the Hertz car I win, so I want to keep driving it."
Busch who was the runner-up told the media: "Hard fought battle at the end, but couldn't manouvere around and the car was acting erratic all day."
Smith who took home the $100,000 bonus after finishing 10th said: "I wasn't so much worried about the #16 (Reed who was 11th and almost won the Dash4Cash), more about why my car wouldn't run so well, so we have some work to do their."
Next weeks race at Chicagoland will be another late night race under the lights and the four drivers who will battle for the Dash4Cash there will be Smith because he took the bonus this week, C.Buescher after his fifth place finish, Sadler because he came home sixth and Scott because he finished in seventh.