The Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is set for Sunday, July 18 at 3:30 PM. Tune in on NBCSN, PRN radio, or SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 to catch Saturday’s action.
The Cup Series is heading up north this weekend as they are in the small state of New Hampshire. Nicknamed "The Magic Mile", New Hampshire is a 1.058-mile asphalt and granite oval speedway. The track is flat, having variable banking from 2-7 degrees in the turns and 1 degree banking on the straightaways. This will be the last race before a two week break for the Olympics. After this race, there are only four races left in the regular season before playoffs begin. I expect drivers who are close to the cutoff line to change up their race strategy to help secure a win or get much needed stage points. Want some more motivation for this race? How about the trophy? The winner will take home Loudon the Lobster trophy, a real lobster that is usually eaten by the winning team and given to a taxidermist to have mounted. Only in NASCAR.
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Ryan Blaney (+104 FanDuel) vs. Chase Elliott- Both drivers had top 10 cars, but it was Blaney who was able to come out on top. Blaney finished 5th while Elliott finished 7th. Not a bad day for either driver by any means but Blaney was able to squeak out this matchup win.
Twitter H2H Matchup- Austin Dillon (+105 Scores and Odds) vs. Christopher Bell- Well this looked promising for 2/3 of the race. The start of the final stage didn’t pan out the way I thought it would as Bell really turned it on finishing 8th and Dillon finished 12th. Stinks, but we will move on.
Drivers to Look Out For
Denny Hamlin (+450 FanDuel)- He has an average finish of 5.67 the last three times here at New Hampshire with 2 top 5 finishes and a 13th place finish in 2018. The last two years he has finished 2nd, to Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. He has led the most laps here since 2018, 205, 9 more than 2nd place Brad Keselowski. He had the 2nd fastest car in last years race, only behind race winner Brad K. Hamlin is not a bad short track racer overall. He’s finished 4th or better in four of the last five short flat track Cup Series races. He always seems to bring a fast car and record fast laps. He’s put up 17 plus fast laps in each of the last five races at shorter flat tracks, and 38+ in all but one of those five. This could be the week that Denny records that much needed win and definitely lock himself into the playoffs.
Kevin Harvick (+1700 FanDuel)- I know Harvick isn’t having his type of year, but this weekend is not the time to sleep on him. Sure Stewart Haas Racing and Ford in general haven’t had their usual speed, but this guy is a top performer when it comes to New Hampshire. Harvick had back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019, and finished 5th last year. If you are wondering the math on average finish, make that 2.33. That is impressive. Since Harvick’s New Hampshire record speaks for itself, let’s look at some comparable tracks. He finished 6th at Phoenix, recording 11 fast laps and was running 8th at Richmond with 20 laps to go when he blew a right rear tire and slammed into the wall. Harvick ended up finishing 24th in that race. He has shown top 5 potential at short flat tracks this year and with his New Hampshire stats, I love him in this spot.
Martin Truex Jr (+550 FanDuel)- Even though he has never won here, can’t look past this great short track race car driver. Last time Truex Jr finished outside the top 10 was back in 2016. In the last six races here, Truex Jr has only finished outside the top 5 twice. His 2021 short track record is pretty good as well. He won at Phoenix earlier in the year, posting 52 fast laps (the most) and finished 5th at Richmond a few weeks later. In his Richmond performance he had 74 fast laps, 2nd to his Joe Gibbs teammate Denny Hamlin. JGR always bring solid cars to the short tracks and I would expect the #19 to be strong
Best Value Bet
Joey Logano (-102 FanDuel) vs. Chase Elliott- This is going to be a close matchup. Both drivers have top 5 and above potential. I love getting Logano in an underdog role at a track that’s using the 750 HP package. In the last six races that are this track type, Logano has an average finish of 2.7 compared to Elliott’s 6.5. More specifically, Logano’s finishes are 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, and 1st. For the six races that used the 750 HP package, Logano has an average finish of 6.5 compared to Elliott’s 7.0. In the last three trips to New Hampshire, Logano has an average finish of 7.3 (4th, 9th and 9th). He does have a win here, all the way back to 2014 where he led 73 laps. Elliott has an average finish of 14.33 (9th, 29th and 5th) and has led 24 laps in the seven N.H. races in which he has participated. Since 2018, Logano has won this matchup 2/3 times. This is a strong track type and car package for Team Penske in general. With the official news of Brad Keselowski leaving Penske after this year, how much time and effort is taken away from Keselowski and given to Lagano who now becomes the main face of the team? Not a lot of tracks I would choose Logano over Elliott, but I like him here. Let’s see if we can cash this matchup with the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang!