New Hampshire Fantasy Racing Preview

New Hampshire

Kyle Busch, who is seeking his first win of the season, has finished in the top 10 in four of the last five races at New Hampshire, including a win in this event in 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Driver Averages | Laps Led Leaders | Driver Ratings | Past Race Winners

MRN's Pete Pistone gets you ready for Sunday's Overton's 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a look at some of the drivers in the field for the 19th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season.

Who’s Hot in New Hampshire
 
Martin Truex Jr.: Don’t look for a Kentucky runaway like last week for the Furniture Row Racing driver but Truex Jr. will have some extra pep in the step after his effort in the Bluegrass State. He’s been solid at Loudon over the last five races with an average finish of 11.0. He combined to lead 264 laps in both races last season, including 123 in this event last year until a broken shifter took him out of contention.
 
Joey Logano: He has the best average finish over the last five New Hampshire races of 4.4, including a win back in 2014. The Team Penske driver needs a win to lock himself into the playoffs and what better place for that to come for Logano than at his home track in Loudon.
 
Kevin Harvick: A first and fourth was what Harvick put on the board at Loudon last year. He’s always a threat at “The Magic Mile” and a flat track specialist at places like Loudon and Phoenix where he always spectacular.
 
Kyle Busch: Still looking for his first win of the season, Busch brings a string record of Loudon success into Sunday’s race. He has four top-10 finishes in his last five New Hampshire starts including a win in the 2015 season.
 
Kyle Larson: You can’t discount Larson any week of the season even at New Hampshire where his numbers aren’t eye-popping. Larson was second two years ago but his last four outings have resulted in finishes no better than 10th last season. But this year is different for Larson, who is strong on a near weekly basis.
 
Who’s Not
 
Chris Buescher: Last year’s Cinderella story in the playoff race is close to having the clock strike midnight this year. Buescher only has eight more shots in the regular season to replicate the win he had at Pocono last season and his two New Hampshire finishes are 29th and 30th.
 
Trevor Bayne: The Roush Fenway Racing driver is trying to join his teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the winners list this year and also make the playoffs. He’ll have to overcome an average Loudon finish of 27.3
 
Danica Patrick: New Hampshire has seen Patrick have a few flashes of running well during his Cup career but overall her track record isn’t the greatest. Her last five starts have averaged a 23.0 finish.
 
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: A two-time Cup winner this year, Stenhouse Jr. will have work to do this weekend to right the ship at New Hampshire where he’s struggled in recent years. Last season the Roush Fenway Racing driver posted finishes of 10th and 24th.
 
Paul Menard: He’s square in the discussion about plans for 2018 but the Richard Childress Racing driver needs to focus on finishing up the regular season on a strong note. His New Hampshire record includes a 19.6 average finish dating back to the 2014 campaign.
 
Who to Watch in New Hampshire
 
Clint Bowyer: He has past success at New Hampshire including a pair of wins when he was a member of Richard Childress Racing. However in the past five races, Loudon has been a challenge for Bowyer with an average finish of 24.0. He looks to turn that around in his first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing.
 
Kurt Busch: The Daytona 500 win seems like a long time ago for Busch, who like his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Bowyer has enjoyed past success at New Hampshire. He did have a top-five run in Loudon last fall.
 
Aric Almirola: He’s back behind the wheel of the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 ride this week after recovering from back injuries suffered in a Kansas accident two months ago. Almirola did finish sixth at Loudon in 2014.
 
Matt Kenseth: Now that he’s officially out of Joe Gibbs Racing at season’s end it will be interesting to watch Kenseth down the stretch of his final season with the team. He’s always strong in New Hampshire and has finished first or second in the track’s last three races.
 
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: He didn’t race at New Hampshire at all last season, missing both races with his concussion injury. Earnhardt Jr. needs to find a way to Victory Lane in the remaining eight races to make the playoffs. He has a top-five at Loudon in 2015.

MRN.com Staff Picks

Pete Pistone: Kevin Harvick
Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Busch
Robbie Mays: Martin Truex Jr.
Tyler Burnett: Kyle Busch
John Singler: Denny Hamlin

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