Penske's Brad Keselowski led 131 laps of the FW Webb 200 Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon, but looked as though he would have to settle for second place after losing the top spot at the final start - only to have the race handed back to him when Kevin Harvick fell foul of lapped traffic with 22 laps to go.
"It was one of those days when things came together for us," said Keselowski after the race. "We had a good car and caught a little bit of a break."
Keselowski had successfully converted pole position to a lead for the first 37 laps, with Harvick swiftly moving up into the chase position in second while meanwhile Kyle Busch - the winner of the last three Nationwide races at Loudon - was dropping back badly with a fuel pressure problem.
A caution for debris from Travis Pastrana's car allowed everyone to come in for their first pit stops, Keselowski and Harvick dropping down several positions after opting for a four-tyre change allowing Kasey Kahne and Austin Dillon to take to the front with two-tyre stops.
Busch's crew fretted over the #54 and changed a carburettor in an attempt to fix the fuel pressure issue, but there was a sense of despair when they couldn't find any obvious problem to solve. Sure enough it was taken back to the garage minutes later for a fuel cell change, only coming back out when he was already 27 laps down.
The next caution was on lap 81, when a tyre going down sent Travis Pastrana into a hard hit into the SAFER barrier. Happiest to see the yellows come out was series points leader Elliott Sadler whose crew had gone the wrong way with changes in the earlier visit to pit lane and who had dropped out of the top ten s a result. Rickey Stenhouse Jr. was also relieved to see pit lane again to see if the team could do anything about his excessive wheel spin.
This time it was Keselowski opting to go for the two-tyre change in the pits and he duly reclaimed the lead for the restart alongside the only other driver on the lead lap to do likewise, Cole Whitt. Keselowski shot off in front while Whitt's pit strategy boost didn't last long under green and he soon fell away, leaving Sam Hornish Jr. in second ahead of a charging Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick in fourth place.
Whitt was the cause of the third yellow on lap 122 when he appeared to mistime his braking into turn 1, locked up and ploughed into the back of Danny Efland's car, turning the #4 around and sending it backwards into the SAFER barrier with enough force to see the rear of the car leap up into the air. Whitt himself sustained some serious front end crumpling in the process.
This time everyone at the front opted for a two-tyre pit stop which meant that Keselowski just managed to beat his Penske team mate Hornish out of pit lane, followed by Dillon and Harvick in an unchanged top four. Keselowski was again quick to get away, leaving the rest of them in a three-wide battle for second that was finally won by Harvick, while Dillon found his momentum cut off and he succumbed to Kasey Kahne as he was briefly shuffled down to fifth place.