The playoffs are underway and Martin Truex Jr. has picked up right where he left off in the regular season and won the race at Chicagoland Speedway this past weekend to propel him into the second round of the Chase with another 5 playoff points to add to his already impressive total. He has now won four of the seven mile-and-a-half races run this year with more to come, which gives him an advantage on the rest of the field. Chase Elliott finished second which will give this team a lot of confidence as the playoffs progress.
ISM CONNECT 300
For the second race of the playoffs the series heads back to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This is a slightly longer than one-mile oval track with very little banking in the corners or on the straightaways. Denny Hamlin won the race here in July and has been pretty good on the flatter tracks once again this season. There are nine drivers who are currently running in the Cup series that have multiple wins at this track and that should give us some good options for our teams this week.
Denny Hamlin: I will go with Denny to win the race this week and sweep the season here. Denny has been really good on the flatter tracks all season and will have a great setup under his car when they unload it from the truck this week. I look for him to practice well, qualify well and run well. The only concern I have for him this week is speeding penalties on pit road. He has gotten more speeding penalties this year than any other driver in the series and those penalties could spell doom at this track where it is tough to pass. Track position will be very important this weekend.
Jimmie Johnson: After a disappointing race at Chicagoland for this team they will look forward to being a contender this week at New Hampshire. Jimmie has three wins, ten top five and twenty-one top ten finishes in his thirty-one career starts at this track. I look for this team to rebound this week and have a shot at winning this race and moving into the second round of the playoffs.
Matt Kenseth: Matt is another driver with three wins at this track to go along with eleven top five and twenty top ten finishes in his thirty-five starts here. This team has been consistent lately and just needs to get a little better to actually contend for a win at the end of a race. I think they will have a shot to do just that this weekend just because of how consistent Matt has been here throughout his career. He could pick up his first win of the season here which would be huge for him.
Brad Keselowski: Brad knows that their cars aren’t as fast as those of the drivers who are beating them every week. He knows he is going to have to do something different if he wants to have a chance to win another race this year and this team is very good at doing just that. Brad has won here before and has finished in the top five six times and the top ten ten times in his sixteen starts. This is the type of track where speed isn’t necessarily what you need to win. With it being so flat, handling is much more important than speed. It is all about how you roll through the corners and get off them that matters in this race.
Kyle Larson: Kyle has only run seven races here and is still looking for his first win here. However, he has finished in the top five three times in those seven races and has been very consistent all season. They have run well on all types of tracks this year and should be able to do so again this weekend. They have a nice cushion in the point standings and really need to just stay out of trouble to move to the second round, but Kyle isn’t one to lay back. He will do everything he can to win every race he is in.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin has two wins, ten top five and eighteen top ten finishes in his thirty-three starts at New Hampshire. He looked good last week at Chicago and showed a lot of speed once again. This is something I was watching for in the playoffs due to the fact that this team wasn’t performing as well as most of us were expecting them to in the second half of the regular season. We know now good Kevin has been at Phoenix and this track is kind of the same.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has two wins, nine top five and thirteen top ten finishes in his twenty-five starts at this track. Once again last weekend he had a fast car and was dominating the race early when they had trouble on a pit stop when they didn’t get all of the lugs tight and had a loose wheel forcing Kyle to pit again. On that stop he got caught speeding and just never recovered. If they can eliminate the mistakes on pit road this team is a threat every weekend no matter what type of track they run on.
Kurt Busch: After having some issues with a vibration last weekend, this team finds themselves down towards the cut-off line to move to the second round. The good news is that Kurt has won three races at Loudon and has been running very well on this type of track lately. I look for him to rebound this week and come away with another top ten finish and maybe be in contention for the win late in this race.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin is looking for his first win at this track. He has never really been great here, he has really only been average. He finished in the top twenty in his last fourteen starts at this track. Now for the good news. Martin has run really well here in his last three starts, leading over one-hundred laps in each of those races. It will be interesting to see how this team approaches this race. Will they use pit strategy to win some stages or will they just continue to try and dominate the whole race and pick up yet another win?
Clint Bowyer: Clint has won two races here and finished seventh in his first race here with Stewart-Haas Racing back in July. I think they will have another good run once again this weekend and will have an even better handling car that they did back in July. Clint is my dark horse this week as I think he has a great chance to come away with at least a top ten finish if not even better. He might surprise a lot of people and win this race.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Denny Hamlin
- Martin Truex Jr.
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Kyle Larson
- Clint Bowyer
- Kurt Busch
- Ryan Newman
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Daniel Suarez
- Ty Dillon
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Denny Hamlin
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kevin Harvick
- Matt Kenseth
Dark Horse: Clint Bowyer
Stay Away From: Trevor Bayne
Big 18: Ryan Newman