Sylvania 300 Race Preview and Pick to Win

Race: Sylvania 300
Date: Sunday September 19th, 2010
Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
Channel: ESPN

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Last weekend’s race at Richmond was a pretty good one but very little action compared to most short track races. I actually had the privilege of going to Richmond this weekend on a whim. It was a great race, though. Every NASCAR race is a great race! Denny Hamlin secured his spot as the leader going into the Chase. Accumulating some big bonus points for winning those races, Hamlin managed to edge out the top runner of Kevin Harvick and second place Jeff Gordon, who still has yet to win a race this year.

This weekend, we are headed to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which is just a little bigger than Richmond standing just over a mile at 1.053 miles. I think that this is another track that you have to watch Hamlin on. This track boasts a 1500 backstretch and frontstretch with 2 through 7 degree banking in the turns and 1 degree banking on the straights. As you can see, the turns have what is known as variable banking where the banking changes as the drivers move through the turns. This is where car setup and tires play a big role.

Historically, we see the Roush and Childress guys do well here, although the Hendrick drivers of Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin have won the last 2 races here. Denny Hamlin does have a win here from back in 2007. The Busch brothers make up 4 wins in the last 6 years. To be honest and based on performance, I say that Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin are the guys to watch.

What everyone has to realize is that the dynamic of racing has changed from here to the rest of the season. Now, it’s all about winning. These guys are all locked into those top 12 spots and all that really matters is getting those wins. That being said, it is very important that the guys are consistent. Winning this weekend and throwing it out there and wrecking for 43rd is not how you win the Chase. These guys need to be aggressive but take care of their equipment in the process.

Jimmie Johnson has been so successful in getting championships because of this reason. He manages to take care of his equipment throughout the race while still being competitive. Kyle Busch and teammate Hamlin have issues with taking care of their stuff. They tend to be on the too aggressive side, ending a streak of consistency and falling into a pattern of DNFs or bad finishes altogether.

This weekend, I am going with Jimmie Johnson. I think at this point, he is going to bring out the big guns and show everyone why he is the 4-time champion. He is going to start being more aggressive in getting wins, but his style of driving allows him to do that and take care of his cars along with everyone else on the track.

Here’s a peek at your current top 12 as they are now locked in after Richmond:

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Kyle Busch
5. Kurt Busch
6. Tony Stewart
7. Greg Biffle
8. Jeff Gordon
9. Carl Edwards
10. Jeff Burton
11. Matt Kenseth
12. Clint Bowyer

Although Harvick dropped 2 spots and Gordon dropped 6, I think that we will quickly see these guys come to the top with Johnson. Those are the 3 most consistent guys so far this year. Jimmie is least consistent out of that group, but he’s still smooth and still has the wins to prove that he’s got what it takes.

This weekend is the start of the final races of the season. Stay tuned for some seriously good racing as these guys try to drive for the ultimate championship in motorsports!