New Hampshire Handicaps

Jimmie Johnson- Johnson won both New Hampshire races last year and has top 10 finishes in three of his four Cup starts at the track.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.- Earnhardt had two top 6 finishes at NHIS last year which account for two of his three top 10 finishes here in nine Cup starts.

Jeff Gordon- There was a time that the two Jeffs, Gordon and Burton, ruled the roost here but that's a long time gone. While Gordon has three wins here and eight top 5 finishes in just eighteen starts, he hasn't finished better than fourteenth here since he was the runner up in this race in 2001, five events ago, the last of seven straight top 5s here in the way-back era for Gordon. Gordon dominated in this race last year leading 133 laps but finished 24th due to poor pit strategy. Sorry, Mr. Gordon, there's some new kids in town.

Tony Stewart- Stewart won here in 2000 and would have had another win here in 1998 but he ran out of gas. (For trivia buffs, Stewart then stormed away from the track cursing without comment, our first glimpse of his bad temper in Cup racing. Time marches on.) Stewart has top 5 finishes in half of his ten Cup starts here, but like Gordon he's hit a bump in the road here lately with just one finish better than twentieth in the last four NHIS races.

Matt Kenseth- Kenseth has three consecutive top 10 finishes at NHIS heading into this weekend including a strong third place run in this event last year. Also wrecked while leading the race late back in 2002 the day (or one of the days) the track surface fell apart.

Bobby Labonte- Labonte may not be a big favorite of track owner Bob Bahre since his comment in that 2002 race when the track tore up saying, “They should give everyone their money back for impersonating a race.” The track hasn't been too kind to Labonte either. He has four top 5 finishes in eighteen starts here with a best result of second back in the fall race of 2000.

Elliott Sadler- Sadler scored his best ever NHIS finish last year in the second race finishing eighth. That's one of two top 10 finishes he's managed in ten starts here. His average finish at this track is slightly worse than 20th. This one could be a speed bump on the road to the Top 10 playoff thing for Sadler.

Kevin Harvick- Harvick was runner up in this race last year. Oddly enough while he has top 10 finishes in all three of the first NHIS races he's run, he's typically finished poorly in the three fall races he's competed in.

Kurt Busch- Busch was the runner up in this race in 2002 but that was one of just two top 10 finishes he's managed in six starts here. You'd think a driver from Las Vegas would run very well in New England because they're both places most of us wouldn't want to live.

Ryan Newman- Newman won his first ever career Cup race here in the rain shortened second race of 2002. He has top 5 finishes in three of his four career Cup starts here and top 10 finishes in all four of those races. (Oh and he's won two poles in those four starts here.)

Jeremy Mayfield- Loudon hasn't been good to Mayfield. In sixteen Cup starts here he has no top 5 finishes and just one top 10 result. (Eighth in this race in 2000.) All ten of the laps he's ever led at NHIS were during that race.

Dale Jarrett- Jarrett won this race in 2001 and typically runs pretty well here. In eighteen career starts he has thirteen top 10 finishes and seven of those finishes were within the top 5. Prior to crashing out of last fall's race Jarrett had seven consecutive top 10 finishes here.

Jamie McMurray- McMurray finished tenth in the second NHIS last year.

Kasey Kahne- Kahne finished ninth in the 2002 Busch race, the only race he's run here to date.

Mark Martin- While Martin has never won here he has finished second three times in eighteen starts. He has a total of seven top 5 finishes in those eighteen starts but has missed the top 10 in the last four NHIS Cup races.

Casey Mears- Mears finished sixteenth and seventeenth in the two Cup races here last year as a rookie. Oddly enough he also finished seventeenth in his only Busch start here.

Rusty Wallace- Wallace won the inaugural NHIS Cup race back in 1993. He has a total of eleven top 10 finishes in eighteen starts here but he's been very inconsistent at NHIS as of late. In his last eight starts here he has four finishes of sixth or better offset by four finishes of fifteenth or worse.

Michael Waltrip- To be kind Waltrip has struggled mightily here with an average finishing spot of around 26th in his eighteen Cup starts here. Six of his last nine Cup finishes have been worse than 26th. The heck with not betting the farm, I wouldn't bet an ailing piglet on Waltrip this weekend.

Sterling Marlin- Marlin has just one top 5 finish at NHIS (second in the fall of 2001) and a total of four top 10 finishes in eighteen starts. He's finished outside the top 20 in the last three races here.

Brian Vickers- Vickers finished fourth in last year's NHIS Busch race.

Other to Watch

Jeff Burton – Burton has won here four times and has seven top 5 finishes in eighteen starts. He led all 300 laps in the ill-considered 2000 Loudon restrictor plate race. If not here, where? If not this weekend, when? Burton's career is beginning to hang in the balance.

Joe Nemechek – Nemechek won his first ever Cup race at Loudon in 1999. He also finished third here in last year's fall race.

Related Topics:

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2004

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