The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Loudon, New Hampshire, this week for the Camping World RV Sales 301.
New Hampshire is a one-mile oval race track that races like a short track. It is comparable to Martinsville because both race tracks have 12 degrees of banking in the corners. New Hampshire is twice the size of Martinsville, but the drivers who performed well in the STP 500 at Martinsville should perform well Sunday. The stats for the race at Phoenix should also be used when comparing drivers for the race this week.
The summer race at New Hampshire last season was one of the best races of the season. Brad Keselowski won the pole and led the first nine laps. The middle of the race was dominated by Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch. The brothers led 155 of the 301 laps. Tony Stewart led 84 laps before running out of fuel with only one lap left in the race. Brian Vickers took the lead and won his third career race in the Sprint Cup Series.
The race on Sunday will be one of the shortest races of the season. There will be a sense of urgency as soon as the green flag is waived. Track position will be very important this week. Teams will have to decide when to take two tires or stay on the race track under caution in order to gain track position. Teams with a savvy crew chief will win the race.
Racing for the Win
1. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has visited Victory Lane three times at New Hampshire. He should be the favorite to win Sunday. Johnson has a series-best average finishing position in the last four races at the raced track and the fourth-best driver rating. Johnson finished sixth at Phoenix and second at Martinsville. He has been great at the flat race tracks in his career.
2. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski is hard to pick against right now. He is having a better season than he did in his championship season of 2012. Keselowski has never won a race at New Hampshire, but he has finished five of his nine starts in the top 10. He is my pick to win the pole and chase Johnson to the checkered flag Sunday.
3. Jeff Gordon: Gordon has three wins at New Hampshire, but his last win came in 1998. That does not mean Gordon forgot how to get around the race track. Gordon has finished six of the last eight races at New Hampshire in the top 10. He has been one of the most consistent drivers in the series this season. Gordon will add his seventh top-five finish this week.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt has never won at New Hampshire, but he has finished 12 of his 29 races in the top 10. Earnhardt has been good this season on the flat race tracks. He finished second at Phoenix and third at Martinsville. He will be up front again this week.
5. Kevin Harvick: It would not surprise anyone to see Harvick show up with a fast race car and lead many laps in the race Sunday. That has been the story of his 2014 season. If he can avoid problems on pit road, he will have a great chance to win his third race of the season. Harvick finished seventh in this race last season.
6. Kyle Busch: Busch has the fifth-best driver rating in the last four races at New Hampshire. Last year, he finished both races in second place. It will be hard for him to keep up with the cars from Hendrick Motorsports and Penske Racing, but he has the driving ability to overcome the lack of horsepower. Busch will easily finish in the top 10 this week.
7. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has the sixth-best average driver rating and the sixth-best average finishing position in the last four races at New Hampshire. He needs a win to secure his place in the Chase. Do not be surprised to see Kenseth in Victory Lane Sunday. He won the race at New Hampshire last September.
8. Joey Logano: Logano won the first race of his career at New Hampshire in 2009. He has run well at the flat race tracks this season and should finish up front Sunday. Logano finished fourth at Phoenix and Martinsville in earlier this season. Expect Logano to have the same type of results Sunday.
9. Tony Stewart: Stewart has been very consistent at New Hampshire in his career. He has three wins and finished 17 of his 29 starts in the top 10. If you want a safe pick for your team Sunday, Stewart is your driver.
10. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has a series-best driver rating and the fifth-best average finishing position in the last four races at New Hampshire. In 2012, he finished both races at the race track in the top two. Last season, he failed to finish in the top 10. Hamlin will be a popular pick this week, but he has not dominated the flat race tracks this season like he did in the past. Hamlin is still a good pick for a top-10 finish Sunday.
11. Kasey Kahne: New Hampshire is one of Kahne’s best racetracks. He has one win and finished eight of his 20 starts in the top 10. He has not had great results on the flat race tracks this season, but Kahne has improved since the beginning of the season. He is a good pick for a top-15 finish this week.
12. Clint Bowyer: Two of Bowyer’s eight career wins came at New Hampshire. If you plan to use Bowyer for your team this season, this is the week to do so. Bowyer has the seventh-best average finishing position in the last four races at New Hampshire. He will have a good chance to finish near the top 10 this week.
13. Kurt Busch: Busch has been good at the flat race tracks in his career. He has three wins and finished 11 of his 26 starts at New Hampshire in the top 10. Busch won the race at Martinsville this year and should be a good pick for your fantasy team Sunday.
14. Carl Edwards: Edwards has never won a race at New Hampshire, and he only has five top-10 finishes in his 19 career starts. He has not been great at the flat race tracks this season. Edwards finished eighth at Phoenix and No. 13 at Martinsville. There are better race tracks to use Edwards on your team.
15. Ryan Newman: Newman would be a great pick to win the pole for the race this week. Newman has won seven career poles at New Hampshire. That is important because passing is difficult at this race track. If Newman qualifies up front, he would be a great pick for your fantasy team this week.
16. Brian Vickers: Vickers only has three career wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and one of his wins came in this race last season. He has not been very good this season on the flat race tracks. Vickers finished No. 25 at Phoenix and No. 16 at Martinsville. Do not expect Vickers to be in Victory Lane again Sunday.
17. Aric Almirola: Almirola has not been too bad this season on the flat race tracks. He finished No. 15 at Phoenix and eighth at Martinsville. Almirola has an average finishing position of No. 21 in his seven starts at New Hampshire. He is a good pick for a top-20 finish this week.
18. Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose had a great race at Martinsville earlier this season. He started No. 17 and finished fifth. It will be hard for him to repeat those results this week. Expect Ambrose to finish in the top 20 Sunday.
19. Greg Biffle: Biffle has been good at New Hampshire in his career. He won the race here in 2008 and has finished nine of his 23 starts in the top 10. Biffle finished third in the last race at the race track but has struggled this season on the flat race tracks. He finished the races at Phoenix and Martinsville outside the top 15.
20. Jeff Burton: Burton is scheduled to drive the No. 66 car this week for Michael Waltrip Racing. He will be a great pick for your fantasy team Sunday. Burton has four wins and finished 15 races in the top 10 at the race track. He will finish in the top 20 this week.
Trying to Stay on Lead Lap
21. Kyle Larson: Larson could easily surprise people and finish in the top five this week. He has been doing it all season. The more realistic prediction for Larson is for a top-20 finish. He finished No. 20 at Phoenix and No. 27 at Martinsville. There are better race tracks to use Larson on your team.
22. Austin Dillon: Dillon has never competed in a Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire, but he has back-to-back third-place finishes in the Nationwide Series at the race track. Dillon will find the competition more difficult this week. A top-25 finish would be good for the rookie driver.
23. Jamie McMurray: McMurray finished No. 10 at Phoenix and No. 42 at Martinsville. He has the possibility to finish up front if he can stay out of trouble. That is easier said than done for McMurray at New Hampshire. He only has five top-five finishes in his 22 career starts at the race track.
24. Paul Menard: Menard has never finished in the top 10 at New Hampshire. His average starting position is No. 20, and his average finishing position is No. 25. There are better choices for your team this week.
25. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has finished eight of his last 10 starts at New Hampshire outside the top 10. There are no signs that he will finish up front this week. Expect Truex to finish in the top 25.
Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing Picks
- Group A: Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon
- Group B: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin
- Group C: Austin Dillon, Jeff Burton
Fantasy Live Picks
- Jimmie Johnson
- Jeff Gordon
- Denny Hamlin
- Jeff Burton
- Reed Sorenson
Fox Fantasy NASCAR Picks
- Captain: Jimmie Johnson
- Driver 2: Brad Keselowski
- Driver 3: Kyle Busch
- Driver 4: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Driver 5: Tony Stewart
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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