NASCAR Notes: Repeat Performance?

Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski became the 13th consecutive different winner at New Hampshire in July. Could he end that streak this weekend? (Photo: Getty Images)

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Could Brad Keselowski be a trendsetter?

Keselowski, who has won that past two NASCAR Sprint Cup races, comes to New Hampshire Motor Speedway as the track’s most recent winner - the 13th consecutive different winner there, dating back to 2008.

Could he break that string of different winners this weekend based on how dominant he was in his July victory?

Jimmie Johnson, who last won at New Hampshire in 2010, says it’s possible.

“He had so much more pace than the rest of the field,’’ Johnson said of Keselowski. “It’s hard to believe that everybody would be able to cover that gap and get back to him. Then we went to Richmond (two weeks ago) ... and they had that form there, too. I’d definitely say those guys are tough to handle.’’

The different drivers who have won the last 13 races at New Hampshire are: Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Brian Vickers, Matt Kenseth and Keselowski.

Keselowski also is looking to become the third driver to win the first two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Biffle finished third in the points after winning the opening two Chase races in 2008. Stewart won the championship in 2011 after winning the first two Chase races.

Work Remains

Kyle Busch’s seventh-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway marked his best result since late July but still left him searching for more.

“We have to make better adjustments,’’ Busch said after last week’s race. “I feel like we are kind of getting ourselves off base sometimes during the race, but we always seem to rally back, but the rally back is always too late.’’

Busch started on the pole at Chicagoland and fell to 10th just past halfway before   gaining three spots by the end. At Richmond, Busch started 20th, was 21st shortly after halfway before finishing 14th. At Atlanta, Busch started eighth, was 20th with less than 100 laps to go and finished 16th.

This has been an issue throughout the season. Among the 16 Chase drivers, Busch ranks 13th in average running position. His driver rating of 89.8 is his lowest since driver ratings were instituted in 2009.

New Hampshire could be a good place to turn the trend around. Busch has finished second at this track each of the past three Cup races.

Baby Duty

Matt Crafton is on standby this weekend for Clint Bowyer, whose wife is expecting the couple’s first child. Crafton, the points leader in the Camping World Truck Series, is in New Hampshire with that series.

Sponsorship News

Car owner Joe Gibbs said that with this week’s announcement that Stanley will be the primary sponsor on Carl Edwards’ car next season for 12 races, Edwards’ sponsorship status is about set. Previously, Arris announced it would be on Edwards’ car for 17 races next season. Gibbs said announcements on the remaining races should be coming soon.

               

 

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