Race: Lenox Industrial Tools 301
Date: Sunday June, 28th, 2009
Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Time: 1:30 pm ET
New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a great little speedway located in Loudon. At just over 1 mile, it’s like the excitement of a short track with the ability to get a little more speed around the corners and down the straights. This is one of those tracks that all drivers love, young and old alike. New Hampshire boasts variable degree banking through the turns ranging from 2 to 7 degrees with the straights having minimal 1 degree banking. The front stretch and backstretch are each 1500 feet.
Although the drivers love this track, it is considered one of the most difficult to drive by most everyone in the garage. Because of the shortness of the track and also because of the variable turns, drivers are in for some surprises. It is extremely difficult to pull away from the pack here and even more difficult to pass. Passing here is like passing at Martinsville. There will be donuts on the side panels and there will be tempers flaring throughout the day. Although the drivers love the track, they still can’t resist that urge to just move someone over at a place like this. It’s a careful balance of skill and patience that most drivers lack in order to perform well here.
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I will tell you that the Roush drivers are very strong here as are Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, and Denny Hamlin. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch are going to be doing some battling on the race track this weekend. Both are strong-willed and determined drivers and both are willing to take risks that most other teams just won’t take. Busch has won here just once with big brother Kurt bringing in 3 wins. Look for Kurt to be a factor also if he can manage to stay out of someone else’s wreck.
Denny Hamlin has one win here as well, and I think that he’s itching for another. I don’t know if he’s got the equipment to hang up front all day though. I think that we are going to see a strong run from Roush driver Greg Biffle. His luck has been less than fortunate as well, but I think that he’s got the stuff to make a top-5 run this weekend.
My pick: Kyle Busch
He is cranky, tired of losing, and basically in the mode to win again. If he can mange to work together with his team instead of insulting someone every 5 minutes, I think that Busch can pull it off. This is a great track for someone with his talent and drive.
In case you haven’t kept up, here’s your current top 12 in the points:
1. Tony Stewart
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Kurt Busch
5. Carl Edwards
6. Ryan Newman
7. Denny Hamlin
8. Greg Biffle
9. Kyle Busch
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Mark Martin
12. Juan Montoya
With only 10 races left to get into the top 12, these drivers may be changing their strategies a little. I think that’s why we see guys like Jeff Gordon not making risks that we are used to seeing him take. He’s driving smart. He and several other guys are looking at the big picture. But you better believe that when that Chase rolls around, it’s game-on. Stay tuned for this weekend. After this, we’re headed to the big bad world of Daytona!