The NASCAR Cup Series' longest break between races since May ends Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The drivers were handed a nine-day break between the July 23 competition at Kansas Speedway and the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. Seven races in August will finalize the playoff field, which already has 10 confirmed participants.
Pole-sitter Aric Almirola is one of the competitors still looking to lock into the postseason field. He has been one of the most consistent drivers lately with a run of top-10 finishes. However, it may be difficult for Almirola or others, like Kyle and Kurt Busch, to earn a victory in New Hampshire since Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin have performed well at the track.
Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Information
Date: Sunday, August 2
Start Time: 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports app or NBCSports.com.
Kevin Harvick: +350 (bet $100 to win $350)
Denny Hamlin: +400
Kyle Busch: +700
Martin Truex Jr.: +700
Ryan Blaney: +800
Brad Keselowski: +900
Chase Elliott: +1000
Odds via Caesars Palace.
Almirola comes into New Hampshire with the most points of any driver who has not won a race in 2020.
The No. 10 car driver has come close recently, owning eight consecutive top-10 finishes, with the first five of those being top-five placings. Finding a place in Victory Lane will be tough for Almirola on Sunday, though, since Hamlin starts alongside him in the front row.
Hamlin, who won his fifth race of 2020 at Kansas, was on the wrong end of a duel with Harvick a year ago at New Hampshire.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver revealed there is a mutual respect between the No. 4 and No. 11 cars amid their competition, per NASCAR.com:
"What you've seen from us in the last year with the 11 and the 4 is a lot of mutual respect. We race each other with a lot of mutual respect because we know it won't be the last time. We still have probably many years of battles ahead of us. We've been around the sport a long time. We butted heads early in my career. He's certainly a guy that I personally would like to model myself after."
Harvick, who starts seventh, has won three of the last five races at New Hampshire. Hamlin and Kyle Busch have won the other races in that span.
The Harvick-Hamlin battle should receive plenty of attention throughout the race, but there is another competition that will carry more meaning over the next month.
Fifty points separate the drivers from 14th to 19th place in the standings. At the moment, the six racers with no wins who have the most points will qualify for the 16-person playoff. William Byron is clinging to the final postseason place with a 10-point advantage over Tyler Reddick, who was drawn three positions ahead of the No. 24 car on the starting grid.
Byron also has to fend off Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, who fell three spots behind Reddick after a wreck took him out of the race at Kansas.
Johnson and Clint Bowyer are the only members of the group with wins at New Hampshire, but those occurred a decade ago.