Note: PRN has the radio broadcast of today’s race.
Keep your eyes on these stories during Sunday‘s running of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Keselowski‘s Summer Blues
The last few weeks have been a struggle for Brad Keselowski who comes into Sunday‘s race after finishes of 39th and 20th at Daytona and Kentucky, respectively. The Team Penske driver ended his pole drought in qualifying earning his first number one starting spot since 2017. He‘ll have the best seat in the house when the green flag flies on Sunday in pursuit of win number four of the season.
Back to the Front
On the other side of the spectrum are William Byron, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman, all forced to backup cars after problems in Friday and Saturday‘s practice sessions. They will all drop to the rear of Sunday‘s field. “It‘s a backup for a reason,” said Hamlin, who will have a long way to go in trying for a fourth career New Hampshire win. Bowman went through two cars and is on his third of the weekend, which happens to be the backup of teammate Jimmie Johnson.
Even with a liberal amount of PJ1 traction compound applied to the racing surface, most drivers are predicting a difficulty in making on track passes because of the aerodynamic impact of the 2019 rules package. Restarts and pit road look to be the best opportunities to gain spots, which will again be focal points this weekend.
Harvick Not Happy
Kevin Harvick is third in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series point standings despite still being winless in 2019. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver is not alone in being shut out of Victory Lane this season and Harvick believes it will be a rough and tumble affair on Sunday because of the necessity of blocking for position. “Heck if you drove like this ten years ago, you‘d have had a fist in your mouth,” Harvick said.
Only seven races remain in the regular season and there are a group of drivers bunched up around cutline of the point standings trying to make the post season. Of course a win in the next seven races would advance any of these drivers but it should be quite the battle among the likes of Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to get in.