NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301
New Hampshire Motor Speedway Distance: 318.46 miles (301 laps)
Sunday, July 17 1:30 p.m. ET TV: NBCSN, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR XFINITY Series AutoLotto 200
New Hampshire Motor Speedway Distance: 211.6 miles (200 laps)
Saturday, July 16 4 p.m. ET TV: NBCSN, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby
Eldora Speedway Distance: 75 miles (150 laps); Segments of 40-50-60 laps
Wednesday, July 20 9 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 8:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR Pinty’s Series the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto
Toronto Exhibition Place Temporary Street Course Road Course Length: 1.755 Mile
Saturday, July 16 4 p.m. ET TV: Tape Delayed TSN, 3:50 p.m. ET
Toronto Honda Indy weekend
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
Keselowski Goes For Third Consecutive Win
Brad Keselowski has asserted himself as the hottest driver in NASCAR this summer after winning the last two consecutive races (Daytona and Kentucky). Dating back to his May 1 win at Talladega, the No. 2 Ford driver has recorded three wins, six top fives and eight top 10s in his last nine starts. His four wins this season lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Keselowski will attempt to become the fourth driver in the Chase era to win three consecutive races in Sunday’s New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Joey Logano and Kyle Busch both logged three straight wins last season, becoming the first pair of drivers to achieve the feat since Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin in 1993. Jimmie Johnson strung together four consecutive victories in the 2007 Chase on his way to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and won three races in a row in the 2004 Chase.
Parity Abound At New Hampshire
New Hampshire is not a track where a handful of drivers dominate and rack up all the wins.
Dating back to July 2008, 14 different drivers have won in the last 16 races at New Hampshire: Matt Kenseth (2015-2), Kyle Busch (2015-1), Joey Logano (2014-2), Brad Keselowski (2014-1), Kenseth (2013-2), Brian Vickers (2013-1), Denny Hamlin (2012-2), Kasey Kahne (2012-1), Tony Stewart (2011-2), Ryan Newman (2011-1), Clint Bowyer (2010-2), Jimmie Johnson (2010-1), Mark Martin (2009-2), Logano (2009-1), Greg Biffle (2008-2), Kurt Busch (2008-1).
Four drivers share the active lead at New Hampshire with three victors each: Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart.
Logano Leads NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Youth Movement
Only 26 years old, Joey Logano has already established himself as one of the superstars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 15 career wins and a series-leading six victories last season. Experienced for his age (competing in his eighth full season), Logano virtually guaranteed himself a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with his victory at Michigan, and currently sits fifth in the points standings.
The Middletown, Connecticut, native returns to his home track – New Hampshire Motor Speedway – in search of his second win of the season in Sunday’s New Hampshire 301. He became the youngest winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history when he visited Victory Lane in The Granite State on June 28, 2009 (19 years, 1 month, 4 days).
Following Logano’s lead are a bevy of young stars adding excitement to series. These include Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Chase Elliott, 20, and Ryan Blaney, 22, who can become the first, and only, rookie drivers since Denny Hamlin (2006) to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. More experienced rising stars include Austin Dillon, 26, who’s on pace to make his first Chase, as well as Kyle Larson, 23, who has been tabbed the future of the sport by many of NASCAR’s best. Elliott, Blaney, Dillon and Larson are all still searching for their first win – a feat active drivers Logano, Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer all achieved at New Hampshire.
At Michigan in June, Logano (first), Elliott (second) and Larson (third) combined to form the youngest top 3 in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history.
Don’t forget about Kyle Busch, 31, and Brad Keselowski, 32. Both drivers likely haven’t reached their prime yet, but boast 37 and 21 career wins, respectively.
* While Logano is in his home area, he’ll hold his third annual charity fundraiser for his Joey Logano Foundation Thursday, July 14, in Plantsville, Connecticut – the Joey Logano Driving Hope Home Golf Tournament, Dinner and Auction. Since 2013, The Joey Logano Foundation has distributed nearly $1 million in grant funding in 26 states supporting more than 100 organizations.
Teams Hunt For Third New Hampshire Sweep
The New Hampshire Motor Speedway races have been swept by a single organization the last two seasons. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano won both races for Team Penske in 2014, while Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth won the events at The Magic Mile in 2014.
Team Penske has won three of the last four races, while a Joe Gibbs Racing driver hasn’t visited Victory Lane since Kenseth triumphed at Dover six races ago. JGR’s eight New Hampshire wins rank second on the track’s all-time list to Hendrick Motorsports’ nine.
8 To Go: Only Five Chase Berths Remain With Eight Races Left Until NASCAR’s Playoffs
The pressure is mounting for drivers to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with only five of the 16 playoff berths remaining with a mere eight races left in the regular season.
A visit to Victory Lane gets a winless driver into the Chase as long as he/she is in the top 30 of the points standings.
The drivers who would get into the Chase if the season ended today are: Brad Keselowski (4 wins), Kyle Busch (3), Carl Edwards (2), Jimmie Johnson (2), Kevin Harvick (1), Kurt Busch (1), Joey Logano (1), Martin Truex Jr. (1), Matt Kenseth (1), Denny Hamlin (1), Tony Stewart (1), Chase Elliott (69 points ahead of Trevor Bayne on the cutoff line), Ryan Newman (+34), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (+32), Austin Dillon (+31) and Jamie McMurray (+10). The first four out are Bayne (-10), Kasey Kahne (-16), Ryan Blaney (-24) and Kyle Larson (-27).
Newman, Kahne, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle are the only currently winless drivers who have visited Victory Lane at New Hampshire.
Below are the remaining tracks after New Hampshire and winless drivers who have visited Victory Lane at them:
Indianapolis: Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman
Pocono: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman
Watkins Glen: AJ Allmendinger
Bristol: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne
Michigan: Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne
Darlington: Greg Biffle, Regan Smith
Richmond: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Outlook
Nine races remain until the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. Since only three series regulars have wins, points are at a premium.
The three drivers who have already clinched berths in the Chase via victories are Erik Jones (2 wins), Daniel Suárez (1) and Elliott Sadler (1). All three get three bonus points per win for the first round of the Chase.
The winning trio is tailed by the 4 through 9 drivers, who have hefty leads above 13th-place Ross Chastain on the cutoff line: Ty Dillon (+164), Brendan Gaughan (+123), Justin Allgaier (+118), Brandon Jones (+105), Brennan Poole (+100) and Darrell Wallace Jr. (+76).
In right now on the bubble are the 10 through 12 drivers: Ryan Reed (+24), Ryan Sieg (+17) and Blake Koch (+14).
On the outside looking in are Ross Chastain (-14), Jeremy Clements (-37) and Dakoda Armstrong (-44).
The NASCAR XFINITY Series takes the track next in Saturday’s AutoLotto 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (4 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
Smooth Sailing For Suárez
Daniel Suárez kept his standout sophomore season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series going with a third-place finish at Kentucky Speedway – the top showing among circuit regulars. He has upped his performance recently with three top-five finishes in the last four races.
Currently, Suárez leads the series points standings where he sits nine markers ahead of second-place Elliott Sadler. Once the Chase starts though, regular season points will be eschewed except for the three bonus points for each win.
The next closest driver to Suárez is third-place Ty Dillon (-19 points).
On the season, Suárez has one win, seven top fives and 13 top 10s (tied with Sadler for the series lead) in 16 starts.
Suárez finished fifth at his lone career start at New Hampshire last season.
Jones Tries To Tally Another Win Following Kentucky Disappointment
Erik Jones finished a “disappointing” fourth at Kentucky after losing the lead late in the race because he failed to maintain speed on a caution.
The 18-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing driver will try to turn his luck around at New Hampshire where he’s never made a NASCAR XFINITY Series start. Jones finished seventh in both of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at The Magic Mile.
A threat to win every race, Jones leads NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars with two victories, nine top 10s, 207 laps led and a 107.5 driver rating.
Wallace On The Move
Darrell Wallace Jr. started the season off slow, but he is gaining momentum after registering a fifth-place finish at Kentucky for his third top 10 in the last four races.
He now sits ninth on the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Grid – a hefty 76 points ahead of 13th-place Ross Chastain on the cutoff line.
In his only series start at New Hampshire last season, Wallace finished eighth. He placed runner-up in his lone NASCAR Camping World Truck Series appearance at the 1.058-mile track in 2014.
Cool Poole: No. 48 Chip Ganassi Racing Driver Continues Consistent Season
Brennan Poole is quietly putting together a strong first full-time season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
The No. 48 Chip Ganassi Racing driver ranks eighth on the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Grid – a comfortable 100 points ahead of 13th-place Ross Chastain on the cutoff line.
In 16 starts, Poole claims one top five, seven top 10s and an average finish of 12.8.
He placed 10th at New Hampshire in his lone series start there last year.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES
Bluegrass Bullet: Byron Captures Fourth Win, KBM’s Record 51st Victory At Kentucky
William Byron led a race-high 70 laps on his way to his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series-high fourth victory of the season in last Friday’s Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Byron’s triumph was the 51st NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win for Kyle Busch Motorsports, which surpassed Roush Fenway Racing (50) for the most wins in series history.
Now 224 points ahead of 31st-place Jennifer Jo Cobb, Byron officially owns a berth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase. He leads the series standings by 13 points over Matt Crafton and has 12 bonus points (three for each win) for the first round of the Chase.
Byron has three wins in his last four races, KBM has visited Victory Lane in the last four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series contests (Texas: Byron, Iowa: Byron, Gateway: Christopher Bell, Kentucky Byron).
Only 18 years old, the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion paces the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in wins (4), average start (5.6), average finish (9.0) and driver rating (113.7). He ranks second to two-time series champion Matt Crafton in fastest laps (182, Crafton has 212), and laps led (357, Crafton has 398).
Byron’s performance through the first 10 races compares favorably to last year’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Erik Jones, a fellow Kyle Busch Motorsports driver, whose crew chief was also Rudy Fugle. Jones had one win, six top fives and seven top 10s through the first 10 races, compared to Byron’s four wins, five top fives and six top 10s. Although he didn’t have to navigate the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, Jones finished his season strong with at least a top-10 finish in the last 15 races.
Six races remain until the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase. Currently, five drivers are virtually guaranteed berths since they have won a race, but that could change if there are more than eight winners. The berths would then be determined by wins, then points.
Through the first 10 races, the Chase Grid is as follows: William Byron (4 wins), Matt Crafton (2 wins), Johnny Sauter (1 win), John Hunter Nemechek (1 win), Christopher Bell (1 win), Daniel Hemric (43 points ahead of Ben Kennedy on the cutoff line), Timothy Peters (+43) and Tyler Reddick (+14).
The following drivers are on the outside of the Chase Grid looking in: Ben Kennedy (14 points behind Tyler Reddick on the cutoff line), Ben Rhodes (-16), Cameron Hayley (-23), Spencer Gallagher (-24) and Cole Custer (-26).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday, July 20 for the Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby (9 p.m. ET on FS1).
Hemric Hauls To High Finish, Draws Rave Reviews From Keselowski
Daniel Hemric hauled his No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford to a third-place finish at Kentucky, tying his career best (three times).
If the regular season ended today, Hemric would make the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase. He sits sixth on the Chase Grid – a comfortable 43 points above Ben Kennedy on the cutoff line – on the strength of four top fives and a series-high-tying eight top 10s.
Hemric’s truck owner Keselowski praised him the day after the Kentucky race.
“I think the interesting thing about Daniel is he’s one of those guys I think will be a better Cup racer than he is a Truck racer just with his style, his technique, his demeanor, his enthusiasm and thoughtful approach,” Keselowski said. “Sometimes we look at the Truck Series and the XFINITY Series and we compare them to the collegiate level sports. If I was to do that, I’d say Daniel is one of those guys that reminds me of a Tom Brady. He might not have the glorious college numbers, but he’s a guy who has amazing potential at the Sprint Cup level. Making moves that he’s making and doing the things that he’s doing show to me that he’s capable of being an elite level guy at the top of the sport. Sometimes that doesn’t always get a lot of highlights or a lot of praise in the second or third tier of this sport, but I see a lot of that in him and I’m really proud of him.”
Dirt Aces Prepare For Eldora With Kings Royal
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers Christopher Bell and Rico Abreu will both compete in the 33rd annual Kings Royal sprint car races (Friday – Saturday) at Eldora Speedway prior to next Wednesday’s Aspen Dental Dirt Derby at the Tony Stewart-owned track.
Bell ranks fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase Grid and is virtually guaranteed a spot in the playoffs by virtue of his win at Gateway. He claims one victory, four top fives and six top 10s in 10 starts this season. The No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports driver will pilot a sprint car owned by Tony Stewart in the Kings Royal. He is the defending winner of the Aspen Dental Dirt Derby.
At 14th on the Chase Grid (54 points below the cutoff line), Abreu essentially needs to win to get into the Chase. Eldora could be the spot as the two-time defending Chili Bowl Nationals champion is one of the best dirt racers in the world.
Both Bell and Abreu developed in racing as open-wheel dirt standouts.
In 2015, Bell tallied six POWRi Midget wins, two USAC National Midget wins, one USAC Silver Crown win and his second career World of Outlaws Sprint Car victory. In 2013, he was the 2013 USAC National Midget champion.
Abreu’s dirt highlights include: 2015 and 2016 Chili Bowl Nationals winner, 2015 Pepsi Nationals winner, 2014 USAC Midget National champion, 2013 and 2014 Johnny Key Classic winner, 2013 4 Crown Nationals Winner at Eldora Speedway, and 2013 and 2014 Belleville Midget Nationals winner.
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR