Sylvania 300 2012: Drivers with the Most to Gain in New Hampshire

Steven GerwelContributor IIISeptember 23, 2012

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 25:  A general view of race action during the Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 25, 2011 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

With just nine races remaining in the Sprint Cup series, the importance of each race is becoming increasingly clear. 

On Sunday, September 23, the drivers will head to Loudon, New Hampshire to drive the one-mile oval in the Sylvania 300. 

The Sylvania 300 is the second round of the final 10 playoff races and will provide the drivers with a chance to increase their presence and narrow the lead between them and the leaders in the point standings. 

With so much at stake for some of the top drivers in NASCAR, how will the racers respond? 

Here are the drivers with the most to gain from the Sylvania 300 race. 


Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski is the current leader in points and has been remarkable as of late. 

The 28-year-old is sitting with 2,056 points and is just three points ahead of Jimmie Johnson, eight points ahead of Tony Stewart and 15 points ahead of both Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne. 

Keselowski has managed to pull off a top 10 finish in 10 of the last 11 races and will look to continue that success in New Hampshire. 

Historically, Keselowski has not been as productive in Loudon, but a win could do wonders for the young racer as he continues down the final stretch of the season. 


Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart won the Sylvania 300 in 2011 and is thrilled to be on a track he has had past success with, especially since he's still very much in the hunt to claim the leader's spot. 

At just eight points behind the leader and only five points behind second-place Jimmie Johnson, Stewart has a chance to make a dent in the standings. 

If Stewart comes up with a win, he'll be even more of a handful for Brad Keselowski down the stretch.

Stewart also has to worry about Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne sneaking up on him in the rankings, so a solid finish is almost a necessity. 


Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson has not won in Loudon since his 2003 victory, but at least he has some form of prior success on the track.

At just three points behind leader Brad Keselowski, Johnson could realistically become the new leader in the standings with a big performance. 

With a five-point lead ahead of third-place Tony Stewart, Johnson's second-place spot is safe for now as long as he has a solid finish. But if he wants to become the new leader, he'll need to impress.