One down, nine to go.
That's how the 10th edition of the Chase for the Sprint Cup looks as NASCAR heads into the second playoff race this Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Matt Kenseth won the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway this past Sunday. It took almost nine hours to complete the race, thanks to a five-hour, 10-minute, 21-second rain delay.
To its credit, NASCAR chose not to pull the plug early and come back to race again on Monday. Rather, the sanctioning body waited the rain out and Kenseth picked up where he left off when the rain started: in the lead.
He lost the lead shortly after the restart, but regained it just in time in the final laps to hold off Kyle Busch and earn his series-leading sixth win of the season.
As NASCAR heads to New Hampshire, the one-mile flat track that will play host to Sunday's race is somewhat deceiving. While it looks like an easy track to maneuver around, NHMS can actually be tricky at times.
Passing is at a premium, trying to go three-wide is hard enough (let alone some daredevil drivers try to risk going four-wide), and much like Bristol and Richmond, tire wear and particularly fuel conservation is at the top of every team's gameplan.
Guys like five-time champ Jimmie Johnson, four-time champ Jeff Gordon, 2004 Cup champ Kurt Busch and younger brother Kyle all have done well at NHMS in the past—and are likely to be near the front of the field this Sunday.
Here's how Sunday's Sylvania 300 shapes up:
Complete Preview of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sylvania 300—Sunday, September 22
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
Distance: 317.4 miles (300 laps)
Coverage of the race: Can be seen Sunday afternoon starting at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN and heard on Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90
Green Flag drops: Shortly after 2 p.m. ET
New Hampshire Motor Speedway Facts
Number of races: 37
Race winners: 22
Last Five Winners: Brian Vickers (July 2013), Denny Hamlin (September 2012), Kasey Kahne (July 2012), Tony Stewart (September 2011) and Ryan Newman (July 2011)
Most Wins by Active Driver: Jeff Burton (4)
Most Poles by Active Driver: Ryan Newman (6)
Youngest Race Winner: Joey Logano (06/28/2009—19 years, 1 month, 4 days)
Oldest Race Winner: Mark Martin (09/20/2009—50 years, 8 months, 11 days)
Best Average Starting Position by Active Driver: Ryan Newman (8.348)
Best Average Finishing Position by Active Driver: Denny Hamlin (8.800)
Races won from pole position: 5
Last Race Won From Pole: Ryan Newman (07/17/2011)
Most Cautions in One Race: 17 (07/10/1994)
Fewest Cautions in One Race: 2 (07/13/1997)
Race Record: Jeff Burton (117.134 mph, July 13, 1997)
Qualifying Record: Brad Keselowski (135.922 mph, July 14, 2013)
Most Laps Led by Active Driver: Jeff Gordon (1,316)
Most Laps Completed by Active Driver: Jeff Gordon (10,758)
Most Lead Lap Finishes by Active Driver: Jeff Gordon (31 in 37 starts)
Most Top 10s by Active Driver: Jeff Gordon (22 in 37 starts)
First Career Win at Track by Active Driver: Clint Bowyer (09/16/2007), Joey Logano (06/28/2009), Joe Nemechek (09/19/1999) and Ryan Newman (09/15/2002)
First Career Pole at Track by Active Driver: Brad Keselowski (09/19/2010)
Most DNFs by Active Driver (four or more starts): Joe Nemechek (15 in 37 starts)
Fewest DNFs by Active Driver (four or more starts): Mark Martin (0 in 30 starts)
Top 25 Driver Ratings at NHMS (over last eight years, minimum of four starts)
1 14 Tony Stewart 111.0
2 24 Jeff Gordon 109.4
3 48 Jimmie Johnson 105.1
4 11 Denny Hamlin 103.5
5 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 96.9
6 15 Clint Bowyer 96.2
7 39 Ryan Newman 93.1
8 31 Jeff Burton 92.8
9 29 Kevin Harvick 92.1
10 5 Kasey Kahne 92.1
11 18 Kyle Busch 91.9
12 78 Kurt Busch 90.9
13 14 Mark Martin 88.9
14 16 Greg Biffle 87.1
15 99 Carl Edwards 86.6
16 2 Brad Keselowski 86.2
17 56 Martin Truex Jr. 85.4
18 55 Brian Vickers 84.3
19 42 Juan Pablo Montoya 80.6
20 20 Matt Kenseth 80.6
21 83 David Reutimann 70.0
22 22 Joey Logano 69.0
23 91 Reed Sorenson 66.9
24 47 Bobby Labonte 66.3
25 1 Jamie McMurray 65.3
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