The Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway is in its opening laps, but already one of the Chase contenders has experienced more than his share of drama.
Kurt Busch's No. 22 Dodge failed pre-race inspection because of an issue with the rear-end housing of the car. The team was not allowed to roll the car to the grid until after the National Anthem had been completed. Busch, already one of the most-easilly agitated drivers in the sport, dropped an audible f-bomb towards a ESPN camera man on the network's pre-race show.
As for the race, Ryan Newman has led the opening 20 laps from the pole, with Kasey Kahne solidifying his second position after an early battle with teammate Brian Vickers. Jeff Gordon, Vickers, and Greg Biffle round out the top-five.
Kevin Harvick, the Chase leader entering the day, runs sixth ahead of five-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson. Tony Stewart, who won Monday's rain-delayed race at Chicagoland Speedway, has climbed to 14th after starting 20th. The race is early, but Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth - neither of whom can afford another poor result if they are to contend for the Sprint Cup title - are both shown outside the top-20.