Denny Hamlin would battle it out with Brad Keselowski, down to the last handful of laps for the win at Kansas. And would best Keselowski by just over 0.50 seconds, in the victory. Keselowski just continues to churn out very consistent showings, and it certainly has paid off this season. Keselowski currently holds down second place in the point standings. However, he is nursing just a three-point cushion on fellow Penske driver Ryan Blaney. With this win, Hamlin breaks the deadlock with Harvick in most series wins this season. This is also his 42nd all-time visit to victory lane, in the cup series. Martin Truex Jr., Harvick, and Erik Jones would round out the top five.
We now leave the mid-west and travel out to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. The track known by many race fans as the “The Magic Mile”, is a 1.058-Mile asphalt oval speedway and holds 76,000 spectators. The track is in fact, famed for having hosted the longest-running Motorcycle racing event in America. The 97th annual Loudon Classic, which will be run in late August.
Looking towards Sunday, it will be Aric Almirola starting on the pole, opposite Hamlin. So without further ado, let’s delve into the driver options for this upcoming Cup series event. I’ve broken down the selections between dominator and value play. Best of luck to everyone with their lineups this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr (12,200 FD 10,700 DK)
It was a nice response from Truex last Sunday, after having finished with a sorry 29th place result the week prior at Texas. He has been a little frustrating to be sure this season, in that he will have that odd hiccup every handful of races. However, for the most part, Truex has churned out successful finishes. He currently ranks seventh in the standings and has earned himself nine playoff points so far.
In his last six races at New Hampshire, Truex Jr has been right up there among the best drivers when it comes to performance. Consider, in his past six attempts here, he has finished well within the top 10. And while he has produced great numbers, Truex does have one blemish. Which, is he has not won at this track in his cup career. Quite surprising I know, given that he has an average finish of 4.50 over the last four attempts. Which is best among current series drivers.
One glaring advantage he has shown here in the last number of seasons has been in laps led. Keep in mind that, Truex has led at least 80 laps or more in five of the past six races. He’ll be slated to start in the 11th position, and should have enough speed in which to find himself in among the top handful of driver early on in the event. He will no doubt show up here, hungry for his first New Hampshire win.
Kevin Harvick (14,200 FD 11,600 DK)
When it comes to New Hampshire, Harvick has indeed been one of the pure dominators over the last number of seasons. Consider, that in the past two New Hampshire races, it’s been Harvick that has hit pay dirt. Also when it comes to performance on 1-mile flat tracks, there is no one better in cup today. At 1-mile flat tracks, Harvick not only leads all drivers with an average finish of 8.3 but all-time points with 3,096.
As stated in the article previously, Harvick comes off a fourth-place finish after having sat on the pole. He currently holds a commanding grip on first place in the cup standings and leads second-place driver Keselowski by a sizable 97 points. He continues to be very fundamentally sound, In fact, since back in early June, Harvick has not finished outside the top 10. Slated to start seventh in-line for Sunday, Harvick will be well within striking distance early. Harvick offers potential points, through laps led, fastest laps, and place differential. Sinking a fair chunk of your bankroll this week into the No. 4 driver, might not be a bad investment. As I like him to bring back a fair return.
Matt Kenseth (8,000 FD 7,600 DK)
Kenseth has shown some glimpses of the old Kenseth, since his return to cup racing. He would have a strong debut, but would then struggle for several races before picking it back up once again. Kenseth would have two solid runs at Pocono, and would then top that off with a runner-up finish the next week at the Brickyard. Kenseth’s run 15 of the 19 starts this season, and in those races has been able to finish 98.2% of the laps driven.
While it is fair to say time has moved on a bit for Kenseth, he has been absolutely sound at New Hampshire over his last number of attempts. His last visit here would result in a top 15 place finish. However, in those previous half a dozen appearances, Kenseth would rack up five top-fours, along with back to back victories. Kenseth is currently ranked fourth among cup drivers in average finish.
When you look at his performances on 1-mile flat tracks, Kenseth has an average finish of 12.3. Which is ranked fifth among current cup drivers. With Kenseth having qualified in the 21st spot, he should be able to earn you some useful bonus points through place differential. I like the No. 42 driver to be a sneaky little play this weekend, as I do believe him to be a strong challenger for a top 10 or better result.
Ryan Newman (7,400 FD 6,600 DK)
Newman has not picked up another top 10 since, his return from that wild crash at Daytona. However, he would rack up a top 13 finish, two races ago at Texas. Currently, Newman sits 26th in the point standings and could use a strong finish this Sunday, to help jump-start his season. To Newman’s credit, this does happen to be one of his better tracks. His last two visits to New Hampshire, have been back to back top-seven finishes. Not to mention, Newman has eight of his career wins on 1-mile tracks.
Slated to start in the 22nd position, he will have the opportunity, for numerous bonus points through place differential. I do not think it’s unreasonable to consider Newman, as a potential top 14 finisher. Newman could make for a nice bookend selection, as you look for ways to save money. I would strongly consider taking a flyer on the No. 6 driver.
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