By David Morgan, Associate Editor
The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season rolls on as they head from last weekend’s thrilling race on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway to the flat, one-mile oval that is New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Sunday’s running of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.
First joining the Cup Series circuit in 1993, the 1.058 mile oval that has progressively banked turns from two to seven degrees is one of the more difficult tracks on the schedule as the flat nature of the track makes track position key with passing at a premium.
Once again this year, the track will apply traction compound in certain sections of the turns to try and help make passing easier, but the real wild card is how the new 2019 aero package will race at the track.
By the Numbers
What: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race No. 20 of 36
Where: New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Loudon, New Hampshire (First race: 1993)
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network, 3:00 pm ET / PRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Channel 90
Track Size: 1.058-mile oval
Banking: 12 degrees in turns, 2 degrees on straightaways
Race Length: 301 laps, 318.46 miles
Stage Lengths: First two stages: 75 laps each; Final Stage: 150 laps
Fuel Window: 75-80 laps
July 2018 Race Winner: Kevin Harvick – No. 4 Ford (Started 14th, 12 laps led)
Track Qualifying Record: Brad Keselowski – No. 2 Ford (27.090 seconds, 140.598 mph – 09/21/2014)
Top-10 Highest Driver Ratings at New Hampshire:
- Denny Hamlin – No. 11 Toyota – 102.7
- Kyle Busch – No. 18 Toyota – 101.4
- Jimmie Johnson – No. 48 Chevrolet – 100.2
- Kevin Harvick – No. 4 Ford – 97.4
- Brad Keselowski – No. 2 Ford – 97.3
- Chase Elliott – No. 9 Chevrolet – 95.6
- Martin Truex, Jr. – No. 19 Toyota – 94.8
- Kyle Larson – No. 42 Chevolet – 91.1
- Kurt Busch – No. 1 Chevrolet – 89.9
- Ryan Newman – No. 6 Ford – 88.4
From the Driver’s Seat
“New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a place that you struggle with the lack of banking, but the braking zones are so rough,” said Daniel Hemric. “I feel like that is one aspect of the track that is not talked about enough, it is extremely rough under braking at New Hampshire.
“To have a car that is really good, you have to be able to get through that entry zone into the corner, carry a ton of speed and then you get to the actual part of the racetrack where you struggle with the lack of banking. That is where you have to lean on your crew chief and team for your race car to be good there.”
Last Time at New Hampshire
As the laps wound down in last year’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire, Kyle Busch held the lead, but over the course of a long green flag run, Kevin Harvick was closing the gap between the two rapidly.
On lap 293, Harvick finally caught up to Busch and laid the bumper to the 2015 series champion a handful of times, but Busch didn’t budge and held steady in the lead. Two laps later, Harvick took more aggressive action, using the bump and run in Turns 1 and 2, sending Busch up the track and skating by to take over the lead.
Busch was unable to catch Harvick again to try and retaliate, allowing Harvick to take home his sixth win of the season.
“We were just running out of laps and I knew that I might not get to him again,” Harvick said. “As hard as both of us were pushing, we were chattering the rear tires, front tires and I got to him. I knew that I needed to take my opportunity and felt like I needed to try and get him up out of the groove and I got him up out of the groove and was able to get by.
“Winning is important and you’ve got to try to take every opportunity you can. I felt like my car was better. He was in the lane that I needed to be and as you get to the end, as you saw at Chicago, you’ve got to be aggressive and do what you’ve got to do sometimes to win these races. It’s one of those deals and we want to win. Points are everything and getting a “W” is what it’s all about.”
Weekend Schedule (All Times Eastern)
Friday, July 19
- MENCS Practice (12:05 pm to 12:55 pm – NBC Sports Network)
- MENCS Qualifying (4:35 pm – NBC Sports Network)
Saturday, July 20
- MENCS Practice (10:05 am to 10:55 am – CNBC)
- MENCS Final Practice (12:35 pm to 1:25 pm – NBC Sports Network)
Sunday, July 21
- MENCS Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (3:00 pm – 301 laps, 318.46 miles – NBC Sports Network)