Winless NASCAR drivers got a glimmer of hope of making the playoffs last week in Atlanta after Kurt Busch became just the 12th race winner of the 2021 season — and first first-time winner since Chase Elliott won the Circuit of the Americas on May 23.
The Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway presents the opportunity for a 13th unique winner to earn what should be an automatic berth in the playoffs; but NASCAR hasn’t seen consecutive first-time winners this season since Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch won at Talladega and Kansas on April 25 and May 2, respectively.
That said, there are five more races, Sunday’s included, to fill out four more winners for the 16-car playoffs. Every winless driver from here on out will have even greater pressure to make the playoffs, with time dwindling before the start of the postseason.
Denny Hamlin is the likeliest among that bunch to earn his first win on Sunday. The regular-season points leader — he has 10 points more than four-time winner Kyle Larson — still hasn’t won a race this season, despite 11 top-five finishes and 14 in the top 10. But he has enjoyed success at the NHMS, including three wins and six runner-up finishes.
Sporting News is tracking live updates and lap-by-lap highlights from NASCAR’s race at New Hampshire on Sunday. Follow for complete results from the 301-lap, 318-mile Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.
NASCAR at New Hampshire live updates, highlights from Foxwoods Resort Casino 301
All times Eastern
3:37 p.m.: Kyle Busch on the telecast said his day is done. “There’s no fixing that (car).”
3:32 p.m.: Red flag’s out.
3:29 p.m.: NASCAR is trying to keep the cars on the track but it looks like they might have to delay this.
3:28 p.m.: Kyle Busch is clearly frustrated; he was nudging the pace car from behind as he headed to pit.
3:26 p.m.: Caution 1 (Lap 6). And we have our first caution. Looks like Kyle Busch got some significant damage and Martin Truex Jr both got significant damage heading into Turn 1 due to slick conditions on the track (it’s raining out there). Hamlin and Ross Chastain were also involved in the crash but seemed to avoid significant damage.
3:23 p.m.: And there’s the green flag!
3:15 p.m.: Reminder: Stage 1 is 75 laps, Stage 2 is 110 laps (ending at Lap 185) and the final stage is 116 laps, ending on Lap 301.
3:11 p.m.: The cutest “Start your engines” ever?
2:26 p.m: For anyone curious about the lobster trophy at NHMS:
2:24 p.m.: Uh-oh. Michael McDowell, Quin Houff, Corey LaJoie, Ryan Preece and BJ McLeod are all sent to the rear of the starting lineup for failing pre-race inspections.
NASCAR start time today
The green flag for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is scheduled to drop at 3:18 p.m. ET.
NBCSN’s programming will begin at 2:30 p.m. with the “Countdown to Green” prerace show, followed by race coverage beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte will call the race and provide analysis. Marty Snider and Dillon Welch will be the pit reporters.
NASCAR starting lineup at New Hampshire
Here is the complete starting lineup for Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the Foxwoods Casino Resort 301.
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