Camping World RV Sales 301 Picks to Win the Race – New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Race: Camping World RV Sales 301
Date: Sunday July 14th, 2013
Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
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As predicted, Jimmie Johnson took home the checkers at Daytona on Saturday night. I really thought that we were going to get away without “the big one” by the end of the night since nothing too dramatic happened. Apparently, I was very wrong. Coming into turn 2 on the final lap, several drivers got caught up in a wreck, but NASCAR was letting the remainder of the field race to the checkers. With a smooth turn out of 4, Johnson rounded the corner and powered down the frontstretch to take the win. Little did he know behind him that the remainder of the drivers were busy wrecking. And when I say the “remainder”, I really mean the entire rest of the field. There were few drivers who left that track unscathed, which is a shame since this was a relatively clean race.

This weekend, we are headed north to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This track is just over 1 mile with 12 degree banking in the turns and 2 degrees on the straights. Both the frontstretch and the backstretch are 1500 feet, making it a very true oval design. It’s a bit of a cookie-cutter track if you will, but it still produces really great racing. Tires are a key factor here. Where we saw that track position was important at Daytona, despite a relative few tire issues on long runs, New Hampshire lends itself to drivers with fresh tires. It will be important to notice pit strategy and who takes 2 and who takes 4 tires and at what points during the race.

This is an interesting track when looking at the past winners. Kasey Kahne is the defending 2012 winner. Joining Kahne, we have Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Clint Bowyer just to name a few. There’s really no definitive dominant driver here like we see at other tracks. In fact, there’s really no dominant team. The closest we get to seeing dominance was during the early to mid 2000s when the Busch brothers took a significant amount of wins at this track, but that has diminished with the changes in cars, teams, and manufacturers throughout the years. When looking at the potential winners this weekend, I think that we have to look at our consistency throughout this season more than anything and also drivers who can dominant on this type of track. Defending champ, Kahne, is definitely going to be one to watch. He’s had awesome cars virtually week, and despite a few rough spots with crashes, Kahne has remained a contender during mostly every race. Another guy to watch is going to be Martin Truex Jr. Although he thrives on short tracks, we have to note his abilities on tracks like the Monster Mile at Dover. Not quite the same, New Hampshire Motor Speedway still lends itself to a strong run by Truex Jr. Let’s break down who you could see in victory lane this Sunday:

My Pick to Win the Race: Kasey Kahne
Middle of the Road Pick: Martin Truex Jr.
Dark Horse Pick: A.J. Allmendinger

One guy that’s also hard to ignore is Denny Hamlin. He generally runs well on these types of tracks. It’s hard to bet against him on his history and his ability on these styles, but with his year so far, it’s hard to bet for him also. He’s been involved in some pretty heavy hits, especially at Daytona last weekend, and he’s really been inconsistent since coming back from a hiatus after fractured vertebrae earlier in the season. That being said, definitely don’t count him out, but I really wouldn’t bet on him being in victory lane because of the adversity he’s fighting. Truex Jr. really has a shot with his record here and also his ability on these tracks. A.J. Allmendinger is always a solid C driver and has been fighting hard this year to make a valid name for himself in the Sprint Cup Series.
That being, let’s see how these guys have fared in the points since our race at Daytona on Saturday night:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Carl Edwards
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Kyle Busch
8. Greg Biffle
9. Kurt Busch
10. Tony Stewart
11. Martin Truex Jr.
12. Kasey Kahne

There were some big movers, with Kurt Busch moving up 5 spots and Tony Stewart up a whopping 6 into the top 10 in points. Stewart’s move is huge. He has definitely struggled this year, so seeing him gain some momentum and moving up consistently every week is a nice change of pace. Other drivers moving in the wrong direction include Joey Logano, who dropped 5 spots despite a strong run in Kentucky a few weeks ago. Jeff Gordon dropped 2 positions, and defending Cup champion Keselowski is still sitting in 13th spot. Those guys need wins.

For these big names to get back into the game, we are really going to have to see them bust out the wins. There’s no other way around it. The 11th and 12th spot mean nothing when you have no wins. That’s the only way that these drivers are going to be part of the Chase. That’s pretty crazy considering some of the titles that these guys have. We’ll have to wait and see if Sunday at New Hampshire can help some of these drivers out! Stay tuned for a great afternoon of racing in Loudon!