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NASCAR: Late strategy call gives Kyle Busch runner-up finish at N.H.

Jul 13, 2014, 4:48 PM EDT

Camping World RV Sales 301 Getty Images

Kyle Busch just made it to the finish in today’s Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as a late strategy call enabled him to take second place despite running out of fuel in sight of the checkered flag.

When the caution came out for debris at Lap 249, Busch was among a handful of drivers that stayed out on the track in a bid to finish on fuel. Things were looking good until Justin Allgaier found the wall with four laps to go and sent the race into Green-White -Checkered.

Two of the drivers that stayed out on the Lap 249 caution with Busch – Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick – ran dry leading up to the G-W-C restart. But Busch had just enough in the tank to climb into second in the final rush, and he was able to hold on to the spot.

After leading the first 62 laps today, Busch picked up his third consecutive runner-up finish at the Magic Mile.

“We just kind of fought turning in the center all weekend,” Busch told TNT. “I thought we were close at the start of the race. I thought they made good adjustments overnight and got us going there early, but every time here, about 40-50 laps in, I just didn’t have any more front turn.

“But the guys did a great job today. This Interstate Batteries Camry was good and we should’ve been anywhere between fourth or sixth. We made a gutsy call there to stay out and see if we can make it on fuel, and we just barely made it – ran out right at start/finish.”

Thanks to his win earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway, Busch is pretty much set on the Chase Grid. NASCAR’s postseason will feature New Hampshire again in September for the second Chase race.

But when asked about the most positive thing in his team’s favor going into that return visit, Busch said his job was simply not to screw up the momentum he and his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team have built up in Loudon.

“We’ve got good things going for us right now here,” he noted. “We’ve finished second [at New Hampshire] three times in a row…So, we’re close. No need to screw that up and finish worse than second.”