Driver Handicaps: New Hampshire

New Hampshire

Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart combined to sweep New Hampshire in 2011. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Lenox Industrial Tools 301.

Who's HOT at New Hampshire
• Tony Stewart finished second and first, respectively, last season.
• Ryan Newman, who is the defending race winner, combined to lead 181 laps in both races last season.
• Jimmie Johnson, winner of this event in 2010, leads all drivers in top 10s (8) in the 10 races with the COT chassis.
• Jeff Gordon leads all drivers in average finish (7.1) with the COT chassis.
• Clint Bowyer, who the 2007 and 2010 September race, leads all drivers in laps led (451) with the COT.
• Denny Hamlin leads all drivers with a 9.0 average finish.

Keep an Eye On at New Hampshire 
• Kevin Harvick (10.8) is ranked fourth in average finish in the last four races at New Hampshire.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Regan Smith, Bobby Labonte and Paul Menard each participated in the Goodyear tire test at New Hampshire. Brand new tire codes will be run in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.
• Jeff Burton, who is coming off his best finish of the season at Daytona, leads all drivers with four wins at New Hampshire.
• Kurt Busch's 8.0 average finish is the best among all drivers that have competed in the last eight races at New Hampshire.
• All of Joey Logano's top 10s at New Hampshire have come in this event the last three years, including a win in 2009.
• Sam Hornish Jr., who finished 10th in his last New Hampshire start in 2010, will be back in the No. 22 Dodge this weekend.
• Juan Pablo Montoya has scored two poles and two top 10s in his last five starts at New Hampshire. He will be racing the same car that finished 11th and 12th, respectively, at Phoenix and Richmond.
• Series points leader Matt Kenseth is coming off his first top 10 (sixth) at New Hampshire in his last eight starts.
•  Brian Vickers, who will be back behind the wheel of the No. 55 this weekend, finished fifth in his last start at New Hampshire.
• Greg Biffle has finished in the top 10 three times in the last seven races at New Hampshire, including a win in 2008.
• Kasey Kahne will make his first New Hampshire start with Hendrick Motorsports in the same car that he finished fifth with at Richmond.
• Martin Truex Jr. recorded his first top 10 at New Hampshire with Michael Waltrip Racing last year in this event.
• Brad Keselowski, a three-time winner this season, is coming off his first top five at New Hampshire in second.

New Hampshire Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Ryan Newman - 6
1. Ryan Newman - 8.2
Pole - 5 times
2. Jeff Gordon - 3
2. Jeff Gordon - 10.2
Top Five - 10  times
3. Juan Pablo Montoya - 2
3. Jimmie Johnson - 10.8
Top 10 - 18 times
Ken Schrader - 2 4. Tony Stewart - 11.8
Top 15  - 25 times
5. Seven drivers with 1 5. Martin Truex Jr. - 12.4
Worst - 38th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.

*Best Average Finish at New Hampshire

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Tony Stewart
1.5
Four Races
Jeff Gordon
6.2
Six Races
Jeff Gordon
7.0
Eight Races
Kurt Busch
8.0
10 Races
Jeff Gordon
7.1

* - 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 (2005-2011)

*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. Jeff Gordon
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Tony Stewart - 9.0
3. Jimmie Johnson
3. Clint Bowyer
3. Jimmie Johnson - 10.3
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Jeff Gordon
4. Denny Hamlin - 11.4
5. Kurt Busch
5. Mark Martin
5. Jeff Burton - 11.9
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 3741
1. Jeff Gordon - 503
1. Tony Stewart - 114.1
2. Tony Stewart - 3437
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 474
2. Jeff Gordon - 109.0
3. Jimmie Johnson - 3365
3. Tony Stewart - 473
3. Jimmie Johnson - 104.6
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 3103
4. Jimmie Johnson - 464
4. Denny Hamlin - 98.1
5. Ryan Newman - 3060
5. Kurt Busch - 449
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 96.5

*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 look at all the pre-race Loop Data for New Hampshire download the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Pre-Race eBook by clicking here.

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Matt Kenseth - 8.2
2. Kyle Busch
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Greg Biffle - 8.5
3. Mark Martin
3. Kasey Kahne
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 9.9
4. Denny Hamlin
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Jimmie Johnson - 10.4
5. Matt Kenseth
5. Greg Biffle
5. Denny Hamlin - 11.1
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 4579
1. Brad Keselowski - 1251
1. Jimmie Johnson - 106.7
2. Jimmie Johnson - 4350
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1209
2. Matt Kenseth - 106.2
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 4294
3. Kyle Busch - 1189
3. Greg Biffle - 104.9
4. Greg Biffle - 4251
4. Marcos Ambrose - 1065
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 101.0
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 4129
5. Matt Kenseth - 1020
5. Denny Hamlin - 97.5

*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.


MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Denny Hamlin  
Pete Pistone: Clint Bowyer  
Ricky Hamber: Ryan Newman
John Singler: Tony Stewart

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings
(All stats/notes are in regards to New Hampshire unless noted)

Matt Kenseth: Coming off first top 10 (sixth) in last eight starts; 12 top 10s and an average finish of 14.0 in 24 starts; Has yet to lead a lap in last nine starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 802) that he finished third with at Dover International Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Three top 10s and a 15.1 average finish in eight starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Last of six top fives in 25 overall starts came in the 2010 September race; Combined to lead 108 laps in his first two track starts with HMS; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 721) in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.

Greg Biffle: Coming off seventh top 10 (third) in 19 starts; Winner of the 2008 September race; Has only led two laps since leading 58 en route to the win; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 778) that he finished 18th with at Richmond International Raceway.

Jimmie Johnson: Scored third win in 20 starts in this event in 2010; Second among all drivers in average finish (10.8); Has finished ninth or better in eight of his last 10 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 715) that he finished sixth with at Richmond International Raceway.

Tony Stewart: Finished second and first, respectively, last season; 8.0 average finish and 244 laps led in six starts with Stewart Haas; Posted two wins in previous starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 710) that he led 118 laps with at Richmond International Raceway en route to a third-place finish.

Kevin Harvick: Winner of the 2006 September race; Has led 55 laps in 10 races since the win; Finished fifth in both races in 2010; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 320) that he finished 19th with at Martinsville Speedway.

Denny Hamlin: Leads all drivers with a 9.0 average finish; Coming off worst finish in 29th; Has finished third or better in three of the last five races; Will have the same crew chief that helped guide Tony Stewart to a 1.5 average finish in both races last season; Has yet to lead a lap in last four starts.

Martin Truex Jr: Eighth-place finish in this event last year was fifth top 10 in 12 starts; 16.5 average finish in four starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Best finish (third) came in this event in 2007 with Dale Earnhardt Inc. after leading 46 laps.

Brad Keselowski: Second-place finish in last year's September race was first top five on five starts; 17.4 average finish; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 810) that he finished 15th with at Darlington Raceway.

Clint Bowyer: Two-time winner of the September race; Last win in 2010 was last of four top 10s in 12 starts; Combined to lead 399 laps en route to the two victories; Will make first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing driving a new car (chassis No. 718) in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.

Carl Edwards: Coming off third top 10 (eighth) in 15 starts; 13.9 average finish; Best finish came in this event in 2006, in second; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 801) that he finished 10th with at Richmond International Raceway.

Kyle Busch: Won this event in 2006 with Hendrick Motorsports; 17.3 average finish in eight starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Last of six top 10s came in the 2010 September race in ninth; 15.9 average finish in 14 overall starts.

Paul Menard: Has yet to finish inside the top 20 in 10 starts; Coming off best finish in 20th; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 349) that he finished 26th with at Martinsville Speedway.

Joey Logano: Winner of this event in 2009 (rain shortened); All three of his top 10s have come in this event the last three seasons; 16.6 average finish in seven starts.

Ryan Newman: Defending race winner after leading 119 laps from the pole; Won the pole and led 62 laps last September en route to a 25th-place finish; 12.7 average finish in six starts with Stewart Haas; Scored two wins in previous 14 starts with Penske Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 645) that he won with at Martinsville Speedway in April at New Hampshire last year.

Kasey Kahne: Finished sixth in this event last year; Finish was sixth top 10 in 16 starts; Will make first track start with Hendrick Motorsports in the same car (chassis No. 663) that he last finished fifth with at Richmond International Raceway.

Jeff Gordon: Three-time winner; Has finished sixth or better in four of last six starts; Combined to lead 97 laps last season; 10.8 average finish and 1,304 laps led in 34 starts.

Jeff Burton: Leads all drivers with four wins; Best finish in 15 starts with Richard Childress Racing came in the 2008 September race in fourth: Led 89 laps and finished 12th in this event in 2010; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 382) that he finished 33rd with after engine issues took him from a top-five run.

Marcos Ambrose: Led four laps and finished ninth in this event last year: Finish is only top 10 in six starts; 20.8 average finish; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 754) that he last finished 10th with at Dover International Speedway.

Jamie McMurray: 18.8 average finish in last four starts with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; Last of four top 10s (third) in 18 starts came in the 2010 September race; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1210) that he finished 20th with at Martinsville Speedway.

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