Congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. who won his third race of the season on Saturday night in Kentucky with another dominating performance. Kyle Busch dominated the beginning of the race, but Martin’s car came to him later in runs and he caught and passed Kyle winning all three stages in the race for the second time this season. Late in the race there was no one in the field that was as good as him. Kyle Larson had a very fast car, but started at the back because he didn’t make it through inspection before qualifying and then got caught speeding on pit road after moving up to third and had to go to the back of the pack again. He made it all the way back to second, but Martin had a fifteen second lead on him before a late race caution sent the race to overtime. Truex got a great restart and made it to the overtime line before a crash behind him brought out the final caution and the race was over.
NEW HAMPSHIRE 301
It’s hard to believe we are now half way through the season and there are only eight races left before the playoffs begin. If Truex keeps up this torrid pace he is going to be tough to beat in the playoffs. He now has 28 playoff points. His nearest competitor right now is Jimmie Johnson at 16 points. Some of the drivers in the playoffs might now have any playoff points which means to knock Truex out of the playoffs they are going to have to make up those 28 points in each round of the playoffs because at the end of each round the playoff points get reset. If he continues on this pace he might have even more points over the next eight races. Those are the new rules NASCAR has installed in their series’ and now they have to live with them. Martin is doing exactly what he needs to do to win a championship so kudos to him.
This week the series heads to Loudon, New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This is a fairly flat slightly longer than one-mile asphalt track that the series visits twice a year. This will be the first race here this season. There are a bunch of active drivers with three wins here, so we will have a lot of good drivers to choose from to put in our lineups this weekend. This will be a big race for all playoff drivers as they will visit here once again once the playoffs are underway and they can learn some things about the track this week.
Matt Kenseth: Matt announced this past week that he will not be racing for Joe Gibbs next season. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to try to win races, make the playoffs, and win a championship this season. He has a lot of work to do if he wants to accomplish this mission and this week is the start of it. I think Matt wins his first race of the season this weekend. He has won two of the last three races run here and finished second in that other race. Since coming to Joe Gibbs, Matt has three wins and seven top ten finishes in his eight starts here.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin won the race here during the Chase last season and has finished in the top five in four of his last five starts at Loudon. He has also lead almost 400 laps in those five races and runs this track almost as well as he runs at Phoenix. I think he is going to give Matt all he can handle this week as he tries to win another race and add to his playoff points.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin is still looking for his first win at this track and his crew chief said they will win this week to keep people from talking about how good they are on the mile-and-a-half tracks. Martin ran very well here last year although his finishing positions don’t show that. He lead 164 laps in the two races here last season and started second and third in those races. Look for him to keep the pressure on all of the other drivers in each stage and at race end as he tries to rack up even more playoff points.
Kyle Busch: Kyle is sounding a little frustrated lately and who can blame him? He starts out with a great car, but they can’t seem to make it better during the races while his competition is getting faster and reeling him in. This is going to be a good weekend for him. He won this race two years ago and always seems to run well here. He has five top three finishes in five of his last eight starts at New Hampshire and has led laps here in seven of his last ten races.
Joey Logano: Joey has really been missing something lately and they need to fix it quick before the playoffs start. He is currently not in the playoffs because his win at Richmond earlier this year was considered ‘encumbered’ by NASCAR after they found an infraction with his car in post race inspection. If the modification they found really helped him get around Richmond then he is in trouble this weekend once again. If not he has a shot at picking up a win and qualifying for a playoff spot with this win. He has one win and four top five finishes in his last five starts at this track.
Kyle Larson: Let’s not forget about Kyle. He has been very fast each and every week no matter what track he has been at. He has only run six races here, but in his first two he finished second and third. He will be a contender once again this weekend and very well could pick up his first win here. Right now he has 13 playoff points, which is 15 behind Truex. He would love to win a couple of more races and a few stages to cut that gap down.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has three wins and twenty top ten finishes in his thirty starts at this track. However, he hasn’t won here since the 2010 season. Still, he has eight top ten finishes in the thirteen races he has run here since that last win and he is always a threat no matter where they are racing. I think this team will do some experimenting for the playoffs this week, but if they hit on something they are going to use it to pick up some playoff points.
Brad Keselowski: Brad’s lone win came here three years ago. He has finished in the top seven in nine of his fifteen starts at this track and needs to have a good finish pretty soon so this team gets their confidence back. He has been involved in numerous accidents on the track in the past few weeks, the latest coming Saturday night at Kentucky when he got loose on a restart and collected Jimmie Johnson ending both of their nights earlier than they would have liked.
Denny Hamlin: Denny has two wins and four runner-up finishes at Loudon in his career. He has qualified in the top ten in eight of his last ten starts here and has led 421 laps in those ten races, which resulted on one of those wins and two second place finishes. This team has been inconsistent during races this season where they are good for a certain portion of the race before falling behind on their adjustments. Denny has also been caught for speeding on pit road a lot this season which has really put this team behind the eight-ball. The latest coming last week at Kentucky.
Ryan Newman: Ryan has three wins and has sat on the pole seven times here in his career. He already has a win this year and would like to add more playoff points to his resume this year. He has completed every lap and finished in the top twenty in all six of his races with RCR since joining them in 2014. All of these teams struggled last week at Kentucky, but this is the type of track they have been good on all season. Look for them to rebound this week.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Matt Kenseth
- Kevin Harvick
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Kyle Larson
- Ryan Newman
- Kurt Busch
- Kasey Kahne
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Daniel Suarez
- Erik Jones
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Matt Kenseth
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Busch
- Kyle Larson
- Jimmie Johnson
Dark Horse: Kasey Kahne
Stay Away From: Clint Bowyer
Big 18: Matt Kenseth