Tag Archives: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

NASCAR is Not Going to Give Kyle Busch a Pass on the Top 30 Rule

Kyle Bush has now won three of the last four NASCAR races after coming back from an injury in the Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR gave Busch a waiver to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup without starting every race leading up to the Chase. He still has to make it up to the top 30 in points to be eligible for the Chase after winning a race.  NASCAR will not waive the top 30 point rule!

Why should NASCAR waive this rule? They shouldn’t! Kyle Busch is showing that he is Chase worthy all on his own.  Think about it. Only Jimmie Johnson has more wins than Busch this season with four.  Kyle Busch is making a huge statement.  He is saying, I’m back and I’m worthy.

NASCAR cannot waive this rule because the old time fans, those who already hate the Chase, will be even more disenfranchised. These fans think that a championship needs to be won by racing all the races and scoring top finishes.  They are not wrong but there should be a balance between racing at all cost and racing to win. That is what the Chase is all about. Kyle racing like he is just shows what that thinking is all about.

Kyle Busch is doing everything possible to make his Championship run this year worthy for the fans and NASCAR should be very happy. He is 58 points behind 30th well within striking distance of making the top 30 in points. It’s going to happen!

I don’t think any of us would have. This is such an awesome win and such an awesome comeback. I just can’t say enough about everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, the work that they’ve put in. Our cars are a lot better than what they were last year. It’s so much fun to win these races and to win with this group of guys – Adam Stevens (crew chief) and this bunch, all my pit crew since 2008, they deserve all this.”  Kyle Busch added. “Can’t say enough about Interstate Batteries – Happy Birthday Norm Miller – and M&M’s Crispy, Toyota, Sprint. This Camry was awesome today. Of course the fans, this is a crazy sport and you never know how it’s always going to turn out, but that coming to pit road I thought I had a tire going down and there was oil on the track. Luckily I got back to the lead lap before the yellow came out, but that saved us right there.

If Kyle Busch should not get into the top 30 he should be very proud of his season this year in the Sprint Cup Series. If he should then the other competitors need to watch out. He is a changed man and on a mission for a championship.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 310713 Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images


NASCAR Fans It’s not What You Know, it’s What You Don’t Know

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?

Photo Credit: 299884 Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images
Photo Credit: 299884 Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images

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.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 299887Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Top 16 Driver Statistics

Rank Car Driver Team Avg. Finish High Rating Avg. Rating
1 24 Jeff Gordon 3M 10.7 131.5 107.3
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
4 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s 11 134.8 102.1
5 42 Kyle Larson Target 2.5 99.1 99.1
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
11 31 Ryan Newman WIX 15.2 140.2 91.8
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


Tony Stewart is Running Out of Time and New Hampshire Might Help

Tony Stewart is 20th place in the standings for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. With only eight races left, his only hope to get into Championship contention is to win. It is lucky for Stewart that NASCAR is returning to one of his better tracks; the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a one mile short track, 1.058 miles to be exact. There is 2-7 degrees of banking in the corners and 1 degree in the straight-aways but this is considered to be flat.  The race is 301 laps, or 318.46 miles. The track is unlike others in that it is a true oval. It is very hard to pass at this track so qualifying will be more important than it is at other tracks. 52.6% of the races have been won from a top ten starting position and 73% from a top fifteen starting position.

The well worn out adage that “when summer comes Tony Stewart gets hot” may have some truth to it but this year he better live up to it. Stewart is in 20th place, 30 points out of making the last spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup on points. That is almost one full race. He won’t make it unless he leap frogs the others by winning a race.

Now that we have left Daytona behind we can go back to looking at driver ratings to see how the drivers fare at New Hampshire. Tony Stewart leads all active drivers with a great rating of 111 followed by Jeff Gordon 109.2 and of course everyone’s nemesis Jimmie Johnson at 105.8. Putting any one of these three time New Hampshire winners on your fantasy team would be a good plan.

Other drivers to watch would be Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman, also three time winners.

This is one tough track and Tony Stewart knows how to get it done.

It’s a big motor deal. With the corners being so tight, you’ve got to put a lot of gear in the car to get it up off the corner. Forward bite is always an issue there too, so it’s hard to get up off the corners.” Stewart added “Then you’ve got long straightaways where you can kind of relax a little bit. Coming into the corners, you use a lot of brake, and it’s hard to not only get the car stopped, but to get it to turn. Then you go through that challenge all over again.

Tony Stewart will have Hendrick power under the hood so he has the “big motor deal” covered. With wins in 2000, 2005, and 2011, he seems to adapt well to winning in different cars and has won on this track in all different types of Sprint Cup cars. Look for Tony Stewart to adapt again and get to victory lane this Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

If you cannot get to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Camping World RV Sales 301 it will be broadcast on TNT starting at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 288074 Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Top 10 Driver Rating at New Hampshire
Tony Stewart……………………….. 111.0
Jeff Gordon………………………… 109.2
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 105.8
Denny Hamlin………………………. 102.9
Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 97.3
Clint Bowyer…………………………. 95.0
Kyle Busch…………………………… 93.1
Ryan Newman……………………….. 92.5
Kasey Kahne………………………… 92.4
Kevin Harvick………………………… 91.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.