The NASCAR Cup Series will return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday for the running of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
New Hampshire will see the return of the 750 horsepower package with reduced downforce for the fourth time this season, and first since June 10 at Martinsville Speedway where Martin Truex Jr. went to Victory Lane.
"I feel pretty good with how we have raced with this package in the few races so far this season," said Truex Jr., who will start 11th Sunday. "We’re starting to come up on some more tracks here in the second half of the season with this package, so it’s important that we learn what we can this week and try to keep carrying that momentum as we head towards the playoffs."
See Also: New Hampshire Race Info and Lineup
Kevin Harvick has won the last two New Hampshire races and is seeking to break a tie with Jeff Burton for the all-time win lead at the 1.058-mile track if he can score a fifth win.
"This place has been really good to us, and I think Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and I probably feel like we should have – could have – won them all," Harvick said. "But it’s been a racetrack that has been really good for us from a performance standpoint."
New Hampshire Loop Data Stat Leaders
Since 2017 – Four Races
|Average Running Pos.||Laps in Top 15|
|1. Kyle Busch – 4.1||1. Kyle Busch – 1,168|
|2. Martin Truex Jr. – 5.7||2. Ryan Blaney – 1,127|
|3. Ryan Blaney – 8.6||3. Martin Truex Jr. – 1,126|
|4. Denny Hamlin – 8.7||4. Brad Keselowski – 1,054|
|5. Brad Keselowski – 9.4||5. Kevin Harvick – 1,048|
|Fastest Laps Run||Driver Rating|
|1. Kyle Busch – 225||1. Kyle Busch – 128.3|
|2. Martin Truex Jr. – 157||2. Martin Truex Jr. – 119.1|
|3. Denny Hamlin – 91||3. Denny Hamlin – 108.3|
|4. Kevin Harvick – 79||4. Kevin Harvick – 104.2|
|5. Kurt Busch – 66||5. Matt Kenseth – 99.2|
Denny Hamlin, who is coming off his series leading fifth win of the season at Kansas, is a three-time winner at New Hampshire and battled Harvick for the win last year. Sunday he will start second alongside Aric Almirola, who drew the pole.
"It just seems like the flat tracks, flat short tracks, I have always been really, really good at," Hamlin said. "With the way this team has performed this year and New Hampshire fitting my driving style, I think we can add another win to the year this weekend."
Only seven races remain in the regular season and the battle at the bubble for the final playoff spot is heating up with William Byron holding a 10-point advantage over Tyler Reddick.
Reddick, who leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, has posted an average finish of 8.2 in the last four races this season, including three top 10s.
"I am leaning a lot on my crew chief, Randall Burnett, to prepare for the race," Reddick said. "He always does a great job at these tracks were I’m not as comfortable and setting up our No. 8 Feeding America Chevrolet to be as strong as possible off the truck."
Kyle Busch heads to New Hampshire where he is a three-time winner still in search of his first victory of the season. Busch is 12th in the standings, 120 ahead of the cutoff, and he recorded his first playoff point last weekend at Kansas en route to an 11th-place finish.
"We’ve been kind of the car to beat, one of the guys to beat there for – I think about, I don’t know – the last two, three, four years, maybe," said Busch, who drew the fifth starting spot. "Sometimes guys really, really hit on it and they’re better than us and we’re just always consistently good there, so hopefully we can keep that pattern going, at least, and be consistently good there again, but maybe we can hit on it better than somebody else and try to win."
PRN will have live coverage of Sunday’s race. MRN will return next weekend at Michigan International Speedway and Road America.