NASCAR at New Hampshire race results: Aric Almirola win places pressure on playoff bubble drivers

By | July 18, 2021

Aric Almirola placed a little extra pressure on NASCAR’s drivers on the playoff bubble Sunday.

With a win in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, Almirola earned his third caerer victory in the NASCAR Cup Series — and became the 13th winner of the 2021 season, which qualified him for the playoffs. Winless drivers Kevin Harvick and Tyler Reddick, who are currently projected to fill the last two playoff spots, will need to win one of the four remaining races in the regular season, or hope there are no other first-time winners. (Points leader Denny Hamlin, also winless, would make the playoffs as the regular-season champion.)

There was more to Sunday’s race than playoff implications. It was wild nearly from start to finish, with pole-sitter Kyle Busch spinning out on a wet track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Lap 3, ending his day. (He was none too pleased). That caused a significant delay in the race, which later prompted NASCAR to impose a 10-lap shootout to the checkered flag because of darkness.

Almirola certainly earned his way to the winner’s circle, outracing Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski in the late stages of the race to take control before the race was reduced to just 10 laps. He entered Sunday’s race 27th in the regular-season points standings.

Sporting News tracked live updates and lap-by-lap highlights from NASCAR’s race at New Hampshire on Sunday. Check out the complete results from Foxwoods Resort Casino 301:

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NASCAR at New Hampshire live updates, highlights from Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

All times Eastern

8:13 p.m.: Almirola wins! Excellent racing by him, and you can hear the excitement in his voice on the radio: “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! … We’re going playoff racing. How about that?”

8:12 p.m.: Almirola leads on the final lap but has lap cars in front.

8:10 p.m.: Interesting. Almirola was stuck behind Austin Dillon for a lap and couldn’t get out from behind him before passing; Dillon, who doesn’t have a win this season, is on the fringe of the playoffs. A win by Almirola would place greater pressure on him in the last four races.

8:07 p.m.: NASCAR just called it: Only 10 laps remaining due to darkness. There will be no overtime attempts.

8:02 p.m.: And now DiBenedetto pits, leaving Almirola in the lead with 26 laps remaining.

7:59 p.m.: Interesting note on the NBC Sports telecast: The picture on your TV score is considerably brighter than what it actually looks like at NHMS. Scheduled time of sunset in Loudon is 8:23 p.m., meaning this race could finish earlier than that.

7:56 p.m.: Almirola is back in third place after pitting with the lead. Only DiBenedetto and William Byron lead him, and it’s likely they pit as well.

7:52 p.m.: LaJoie has some smoke and is forced to go high on the turn but the green remains out.

7:47 p.m.: Almirola overtakes Blaney for the lead on Lap 246, heading into Lap 247 with just 55 remaining in this rain-delayed race.

7:43 p.m.: Now Almirola has moved up to No. 2 in front of Keselowski and Harvick.

7:35 p.m.: Almirola and Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing teammates, are having a nice little battle for the third position as well.

7:28 p.m.: Blaney and Keselowski, Team Penske teammates, both are jockeying for the lead. Harvick’s right behind them.

7:23 p.m.: Blaney takes the lead out of the restart on Lap 199.

7:17 p.m.: Something to consider with an estimated 8:21 p.m. ET sunset in Loudon, N.H. (there are no lights at NHMS):

7:05 p.m.: Caution 6 (Lap 185). And there’s Stage 2. Your top 10:

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Ryan Blaney
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Aric Almirola
  6. Chase Elliott
  7. Kyle Larson
  8. Tyler Reddick
  9. Ross Chastain
  10. Kurt Busch

6:54 p.m.: More beef, this time between Almirola and Elliott.

6:52 p.m.: We’re back on Lap 156. Keselowski, Harvick, Hamlin, Aric Almirola and Blaney make up your top five out of the restart. Thirty-nine laps remain in the stage.

6:45 p.m.: Caution 5 (Lap 139). And there’s our fifth caution. Bubba Wallace gets loose off the corner and turns sideways heading out of the turn. Chris Buescher had nowhere to go, hitting him and sliding a good ways. Wallace drove off without too much damage but Buescher has significant damage to his front right tire.

6:30 p.m.: No love lost between Houff and Newman.

6:34 p.m.: Caution 4 (Lap 128). Quin Houff spins out into the wall off the turn. Might have had a little help from Ryan Newman.

6:30 p.m.: Hamlin has moved all the way up to the No. 3 position, roughly 3.5 seconds off Harvick’s lead.

6:11 p.m.: Harvick is your leader coming out of the restart on Lap 83.

6 p.m.: Caution 3 (Lap 75). And that’s Stage 1. Your top 10:

  1. Ryan Blaney
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Chase Elliott
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Tyler Reddick
  6. Christopher Bell
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Ross Chastain
  9. Matt DiBenedetto
  10. Kyle Larson

5:57 p.m.: A pretty good race between Blaney and Elliott:

5:44 p.m.: And they’re back on Lap 39. Cody Ware spins at the rear of the group but the green flag stays active.

5:36 p.m.: Caution 2 (Lap 32). Anthony Alfredo seems to have suffered some damage heading into the turn; he got a little loose and spun himself out on Turn 1, but didn’t hit any drivers. He was running 25th at the time. Bubba Wallace also heading to pit row.

5:32 p.m.: And we’re back on Lap 24! Kurt Busch takes the lead from Chase Elliott, followed by Christopher Bell, Bowman and Ryan Blaney in the top five, respectively.

5:14 p.m.: NASCAR is making Logano sit in his pit and serve his two-lap penalty now. Looks like there was some debris or rubber stuck under the hood of his car. It’s related to some work they attempted to do on the car under red flag conditions.

5:13 p.m.: Looks like Truex will actually attempt to race out there again. The cars are back on the track under caution on Lap 10. Joey Logano is also hit with a two-lap penalty for heading onto pit row while it’s closed. There must be something pressing enough for him to be willing to take that penalty.

4:56 p.m.: NASCAR drivers will report to their cars at 5 p.m.

4:49 p.m.: Things you love to see: Football.

4:23 p.m.: Good news:

3:37 p.m.: Kyle Busch on the telecast said his day is done. “There’s no fixing that (car).” Truex’s day is finished as well.

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

  • Time: 3 p.m. ET (TV time)
  • TV channel: NBCSN (TSN in Canada)
  • Live stream: | fuboTV ( 7-day free trial )

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.

Start pos. Driver Car No. Team
1 Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
2 Martin Truex Jr. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
3 Chase Elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports
4 Kurt Busch 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
5 Alex Bowman 48 Hendrick Motorsports
6 Denny Hamlin 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
7 Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske
8 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
9 Christopher Bell 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
10 Kyle Larson 5 Hendrick Motorsports
11 Brad Keselowski 2 Team Penske
12 Kevin Harvick 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
13 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
14 Matt DiBenedetto 21 Wood Brothers Racing
15 Joey Logano 22 Team Penske
16 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
17 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Racing
18 Bubba Wallace 23 23XI Racing
19 Chase Briscoe 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
20 Ross Chastain 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
21 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
22 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
23 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
24 Erik Jones 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
25 Ryan Preece 37 JTG Daugherty Racing
26 Corey LaJoie 7 Spire Motorsports
27 Anthony Alfredo 38 Front Row Motorsports
28 Ryan Newman 6 Roush Fenway Racing
29 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
30 Justin Haley 77 Spire Motorsports
31 Daniel Suarez 99 Trackhouse Racing Team
32 BJ McLeod 78 Live Fast Motorsports
33 Garrett Smithley 53 Rick Ware Racing
34 Cody Ware 51 Petty Ware Racing
35 Josh Bilicki 52 Rick Ware Racing
36 Quin Houff 00 StarCom Racing
37 James Davison 15 Rick Ware Racing