Driver Handicaps: New Hampshire

This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 301. To help you make your fantasy racing picks, RacingOne brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 301-lap event.

Who's HOT at New Hampshire
• Denny Hamlin leads all drivers with a 7.2 average finish.
• Tony Stewart has one win and four finishes of eighth or better in his last eight starts.
• Jeff Burton leads all drivers with four wins.
• Two-time winner Jimmie Johnson has finished in the top 10 in six of his last seven starts.
• Jeff Gordon leads all drivers in top fives (12), top 10s (15) and laps led (1,141).
• Martin Truex Jr. has the best average finish (4.8) in the four races with the new car.
• Defending race winner Kurt Busch posted a 3.5 average finish in the two races last season.
• Greg Biffle won last year's September race for his fourth top five.

Keep an Eye on at New Hampshire
• 2006 September winner Kevin Harvick has a 10.0 average finish in his last five starts at NHMS.
• Mark Martin will be driving the same car that won at Phoenix.
• Two-time New Hampshire winner Ryan Newan will be making his first track start in a Stewart-Haas Chevrolet.
• Kyle Busch has one win and three top fives at New Hampshire.
• Matt Kenseth has recorded 10 top 10s in the last 13 races at NHMS.
• Carl Edwards has posted an average finish of 6.0 in the last five races this season.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. has led 176 laps and posted two top fives in the four races at New Hampshire with the new car.

Qualifying Tidbits
Patrick Carpentier, who will attempt to qualify the No. 36 Toyota into Sunday's race, is the defending pole winner. Carpentier captured the pole in his first start at NHMS and 17th career Cup start. Ryan Newman leads all drivers in poles at the track with four. Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin are the only other multiple pole winners. Four New Hampshire races have been won from the pole, the most of any other starting position at the track. Newman holds the qualifying record at the track of 133.357 mph set in qualifying in 2003. Last September, rain washed out qualifying for the fourth time. Past Pole Winners | Starting Positions of New Hampshire Winners

Top 10 COT Performers at New Hampshire (Based Off Average Finish)
Driver
Starts
Avg. Finish
Avg. Start
Win
Top Fives
Top 10s
Laps Led
Martin Truex Jr.
4
4.8
9.2
0
3
4
47
Jimmie Johnson
4
5.5
10.0
0
2
4
108
Jeff Gordon
4
7.2
13.8
0
2
2
37
Denny Hamlin
4
8.2
10.8
1
1
3
46
Tony Stewart
4
9.0
14.0
0
1
2
172
Jeff Burton
4
10.2
21.8
0
1
2
0
Carl Edwards
4
11.2
13.0
0
1
1
63
Kevin Harvick
4
12.2
7.2
0
0
2
54
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4
12.2
8.5
0
2
2
176
Kurt Busch
4
13.2
12.8
1
1
2
20

All Drivers' COT Stats at New Hampshire

Best Average Finish at New Hampshire
Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Kurt Busch
3.5
Four Races
Martin Truex Jr.
4.8
Six Races
Denny Hamlin
7.2
Eight Races
Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart
9.8
10 Races
Jeff Gordon
9.5
* - The best average finish is based off a driver who has competed in every race during that time span.

New Hampshire Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2008)
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Tony Stewart
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Jeff Gordon - 7.5
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Denny Hamlin - 9.2
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Tony Stewart
3. Tony Stewart - 9.9
4. Jimmie Johnson
4. Mark Martin
4. Kevin Harvick - 10.2
5. Jeff Burton
5. Matt Kenseth
5. Jimmie Johnson - 10.7
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 2142
1. Jeff Gordon - 261
1. Tony Stewart - 115.6
2. Jimmie Johnson - 1979
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 238
2. Jeff Gordon - 106.7
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1899
2. Jimmie Johnson - 232
3. Denny Hamlin - 103.6
4. Tony Stewart - 1883
4. Tony Stewart - 229
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 103.1
5. Kevin Harvick - 1791
5. Denny Hamlin - 223
5. Jimmie Johnson - 102.8

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


For a complete look at all the loop data statistics for New Hampshire Motor Speedway Click Here to view RacingOne's LENOX Industrial Tools 301 pre-race eBook.

Season Loop Data Leaders
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Mark Martin
1. Jimmie Johnson - 9.0
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Tony Stewart
2. Tony Stewart - 10.0
3. Mark Martin
3. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kurt Busch - 10.4
4. Kyle Busch
4. Carl Edwards
4. Jeff Gordon - 11.7
5. Kurt Busch
5. Denny Hamlin
5. Kyle Busch - 11.8
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 3878
1. Kurt Busch - 917
1. Jimmie Johnson - 107.5
2. Tony Stewart - 3750
2. Jimmie Johnson - 855
2. Tony Stewart - 103.3
3. Kurt Busch - 3634
3. Juan Pablo Montoya - 840
3. Kyle Busch - 102.4
4. Jeff Gordon - 3614
4. Matt Kenseth - 804
4. Jeff Gordon - 102.3
5. Mark Martin - 3579
5. Denny Hamlin - 788
5. Kurt Busch - 99.9

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


RacingOne Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Tony Stewart
Pete Pistone: Denny Hamlin
Rachael West: Jimmie Johnson
Kym Opalenik: Kurt Busch

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

1. Tony Stewart: In 20 starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Stewart has two wins (most recently in the 2005 July event), 10 top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. Stewart, who has led in 11 races for 936 laps, led a combined total of 388 laps in the two races he won. His worst finish in the last seven races came in the 2006 July event when he finished 37th after a tangle with pole-sitter, and now teammate, Ryan Newman early in the race. This weekend, Stewart will make his first track start with his Stewart-Haas racing team in the same car (chassis No. 535) that finished second at Phoenix.

2. Jeff Gordon: Gordon is the leader among all drivers in top fives (12), top 10s (15) and laps led (1,141) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. His last of three victories at NHMS came from the pole on August 30, 1998. Gordon's worst finish (25th) in the last 12 Loudon races came in the 2005 July race when he suffered a late race problem when his brakes gave out less than 15 laps from the checkered flag. In the last five races at NHMS, Gordon has posted an average finish of 6.4.

3. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson, who swept both races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2003, has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts. His only finish (39th) outside the top 15 came in the second event in 2006 when Johnson's No. 48 experienced engine problems early, got caught in a chain reaction accident on lap 80, and ended up in the wall. Although Johnson has yet to win a pole at NHMS, his starting average of 8.9 ranks second among all active drivers. This weekend, Johnson will be driving a new car (chassis No. 543) in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301.

4. Kurt Busch: Busch scored his third win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in this event last year after leading 10 laps up until rain called the race. The victory was his first of two top 10s in six starts at NHMS with Penske Racing. In 2004, Busch swept both races at NHMS after leading a combined 265 laps. This weekend, Busch will pilot the same car (chassis No. 576) that finished third at Phoenix in April.

5. Carl Edwards: Edwards has recorded an average finish of 12.9 in nine starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. His best finish came in the 2006 July race when he took the checkered flag in second. Edwards has completed all but one of the laps he has attempted at the one-mile speedway. Despite that fact, his third-place finish last September was only his second top 10. This weekend, Edwards will return in the same car (chassis No. 647) that finished 26th at Richmond in May.

6. Ryan Newman: New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the site of Newman's first career Sprint Cup victory. The win came after he won his first of his series leading four poles at the "Magic Mile" in the 2002 fall event. His second victory came again in the fall race, in 2005, after leading 66 laps from the 13th starting position. Newman has led in all but three of his 14 Loudon starts for a total of 520 laps. This weekend, Newman will race the same car (chassis No. 536) that most recently led 45 laps en route to a fourth-place finish at Richmond.

7. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin leads all drivers with a 7.2 average finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. His win in the 2007 June race is one of five finishes of ninth or better. This weekend, Hamlin will look to continue his success on the flat tracks by driving the same car (chassis No. 238) that finished second at Martinsville in March.

8. Greg Biffle: Biffle is coming off his first win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after leading 58 laps last September. Biffle has five top-10 finishes and six finishes of 21st or worse, including two DNFs, in 13 starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This weekend, Biffle will be driving the same car (chassis No. 610) that finished 28th at Martinsville in April.

9. Kyle Busch: Busch won the 2006 July race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after leading 107 laps from the fourth starting position. It marked his second of three top-five finishes in eight starts at the track. Busch's finishing average (15.7) is hindered by two finishes of 27th and 38th in the 2005 and 2006 fall races after coming together with two separate drivers in each incident. Last year, Busch finished 25th and 34th, respectively, in his first track starts with Joe Gibbs Racing. This weekend, Busch will drive the same chassis (No. 229) that he won with at Las Vegas in March.

10. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth's finishing average (12.6) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway took a hit last September after a crash relegated him to a 40th-place finish. Ten of his 11 top 10s have come in the last 13 races.

11. Mark Martin: This weekend, Martin will be making his 25th start, and first since 2006, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Sunday's start will also be Martin's first start at the track with a team other than Roush Racing. In his career at New Hampshire with Roush, he scored 13 top 10s and led 396 laps. Martin will be driving the same Hendrick Motorsports car (chassis No. 538) in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 that won at Phoenix in April.

12. Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has posted an average finish of 22.8 in four starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Montoya’s best start came during his rookie year when he qualified fifth, and his best finish came last September when he crossed the finish line in 17th place. This weekend, Montoya will drive the same car (chassis No. 818) that finished 24th at Phoenix in April.

13. Kasey Kahne: This weekend will mark Kahne’s 11th career start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. His worst non-DNF finishes at the track have come in the three of the four Car of Tomorrow events in 25th, 20th and 30th place. Kahne's last of four top 10s came in the June 2006 race.

14. David Reutimann: Reutimann has yet to finish in the top 10 in four starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. His 15th-place run last September was his best finish and it lowered his average to 24.5.

15. Jeff Burton: On no other track has Jeff Burton scored more victories than New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He has claimed four victories at the "Magic Mile", one each year beginning in 1997. His last win there was on September 17, 2000, and he started second and went on to lead all 300 laps of the race. In his third win at the track, Burton won from the furthest back of any NHMS winner after he started 38th and led for only two laps. The track is sentimental as well for one other reason, as it was the site of his Sprint Cup debut in 1993. He has started in every race at the track since, with a total of eight top fives, 13 top 10s and has led a total of 694 laps. Burton has posted an average finish of 10.3 in his nine starts at NHMS with Richard Childress Racing. This weekend, Burton will be driving the same car (chassis No. 255) that most recently finished third at Richmond in May.

16. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer's only top-10 finish in six starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway came in the 2007 when he led 222 laps en route to a win. His only other finish inside the top 20 came last year in the September race when he finished 12th. This weekend, Bowyer will be back in the same car (chassis No. 218) that most recently finished 18th at Richmond.

17. Brian Vickers: Vickers finished 16th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in this event last year for his best finish in three starts at the track with Team Red Bull. Prior to 2007, Vickers competed in six races with Hendrick Motorsports, capturing one top 10, a fifth-place finish in the 2006 September race.

18. Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose will be making his first Sprint Cup start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. However, he does have three combined starts in the Truck and Nationwide Series at the 1-mile oval. Ambrose's best finish came in last year's Nationwide race when he took the checkered flag in 14th.

19. Jamie McMurray: McMurray has competed in six races with Roush Fenway Racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. His best finish with the team came in the 2007 September race in 11th. Last year in this event, McMurray recorded his first DNF at NHMS with the team after a crash relegated him to a 41st-place finish. McMurray's first six starts came with Chip Ganassi Racing, where he posted three top-10 finishes. This weekend, McMurray will race the same car (chassis No. 635) that finished 11th at Phoenix in April.

20. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt Jr. has posted two top fives and has led 176 laps in the four races with the new car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Last September, Earnhardt Jr. made his second start at NHMS with Hendrick Motorsports and finished fifth. In his 17 track starts with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Junior scored four top fives and seven top 10s. This weekend, Earnhardt will pilot the same car (chassis No. 541) that finished 27th at Richmond in May.

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