NASCAR Fans It’s not What You Know, it’s What You Don’t Know. This week the Sprint Cup is at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the 5-hour ENERGY 301. This track will also host the second race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. It is also the first time that NASCAR will visit a track that is in the Chase when some drivers knew with some degree of certainty they are locked in or all but locked in. Could this be a Chase test session? If not that, could the envelope be extended a bit?
The teams will never admit it. They will never admit they threw away a race in order to learn something. It happens; it has to happen because how can you explain weird tire failures and multiple ones. It has happened with Jimmie Johnson’s team last year. It is hard to believe they made such a huge mistake in car set up that their tires only failed during the race and multiple times. As fans we will never know. I would even say we don’t want to know except it really messes up our fantasy racing picks.
This brings us back to New Hampshire. Which teams will over push the envelope? Will any get crazy? The prize in the Chase for the Sprint Cup is worth it. I’d do it if I had a good plan. This is why we watch; the unknown things that make it exciting.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at last year’s top ten. Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were killing them last year but not on the list but when it came to the Chase our top ten was Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brian Vickers.
This week I think there will be two camps of drivers. Those pushing the envelope (or testing it) and those who need to just perform and will be all business. Don’t get me wrong all teams push the envelope every week. Those teams I’m talking about are really taking chances because they can.
Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch’s teams will be pushing the envelope. If it works out the other teams might as well just park. The Penske teams of Joe Logano and Brad Keselowski will push also but will not be so bold.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is getting used to his crew chief. He is all business now at the track they won’t be pushing just executing. The Ganassi teams of Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson will be all business. The Joe Gibbs Racing teams of Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards will be all business trying to get Kyle Busch into the top 30. The Richard Childress teams will also be taking care of business.
Jeff Gordon has not been on a tear this year like last year. He needs to solidify his Chase chances. He will be the guy who is all business trying to get his win. His run this week will more reflect his historical statistics for this race.
I expect to see another race where those teams that have been dominating all year struggle and those who have not shine. Kind of like the story of the tortoise and the hare. Good luck with your fantasy picks remember we don’t really know what is going on that’s why we watch.
If you cannot get to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the 5-hour ENERGY 301 it will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Net Sunday July 19th at 1:30 PM ET.
Feature Photo Credit: 299887Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Top 16 Driver Statistics
|Rank||Car||Driver||Team||Avg. Finish||High Rating||Avg. Rating|
|2||14||Tony Stewart||Bass Pro Shops / Mobil Mobil 1||10.9||149.2||106.9|
|3||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Freight||10.5||149.2||103.2|
|6||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||MOUNTAIN DEW||13.4||131.6||97.1|
|7||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite||11||145.7||95.6|
|8||15||Clint Bowyer||5-Hour Energy||14.5||150||95|
|9||18||Kyle Busch||M&M’s Crispy||14.1||141.1||94.7|
|10||4||Kevin Harvick||Jimmy John’s/ Budweiser||13.8||148.9||93.1|
|12||5||Kasey Kahne||Great Clips||18.1||131.5||91.3|
|13||41||Kurt Busch||Haas Automation||17.5||123.2||88.1|
|14||78||Martin Truex Jr||Furniture Row/Visser||14.4||122.5||86.3|
|15||19||Carl Edwards||COMCAST BUSINESS||13.7||120.3||85.9|