The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the 28th race of the 2012 season, the Sylvania 300. NASCAR expert Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke to NASCAR contacts to provide you the most accurate fantasy preview of Sunday’s race.
When: Sunday, September 23, 2012; 2:15 p.m./et.
Weather: Chance of rain with high around 64; wind out of the W at 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
The Track: New Hampshire MotorSpeedway
NHMS is a 1.058 mile flat-oval. It has 12 degree banking on the corners with 2 degree banking on the straight-aways. Ryan Newman has been great at NHMS during his career. He earned his first career Nextel Cup victory at the track and has won two additional races at NHMS. Kasey Kahne, Newman, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Clint Bowyer have won the past eight races at the track.
Key to Race: THAT ISONE BIG PAPERCLIP
NHMS is basically a big version ofMartinsville. It is a mile long paperclip configuration with two long straight-aways with tight corners at the ends. This race is always hard on brakes and tires. The team that can figure out a setup that allows them to keep the brakes and tires fresh will have a big advantage. Look for Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch to have strong runs in Sunday's race.
47 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. If the first practice is run, but qualifying is unable to take place, the starting lineup will be based on speeds from the car's fastest lap from the first practice, with top-35 cars in owner points no longer segregated from the non-top 35 cars. Previously, the top 35 cars lined up in front of all other eligible car owners.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won the July 2007 race at NHMS and has finished in the top 10 in nine of his last 13 Cup races at the track. He is an excellent pick on Sunday.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has 14 top five finishes, including three wins, in 27 career starts at NHMS. He has brought one of the best cars in the field the last few races in the Granite State and is a terrific option.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski finished second last fall at the Magic Mile and fifth this summer. He is a good shoe to gamble on this weekend.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne won in July and has been fast the past few visits to NHMS. He is a good option this weekend.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has finished in the top 15 in all but three of his 21 career Cup starts at NHMS. He won at the track in June of 2010 and is a great pick on Sunday.
6 to 10
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 10 in 10 of the last 19 races at NHMS. He tested at the track this spring and should notch five this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Between 1997 and 2001 Gordon was easily the top driver at NHMS, but then the Rainbow Warrior went into a serious slump at the track. He has worked hard at his race setups at the Magic Mile and is once again a great option to take the checkers.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: In 20 Cup starts at the Magic Mile, Newman has 13 top 10 finishes, including three wins. He is a solid pick in most fantasy leagues.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle was fast in five of the past eight NHMS races. He should be blazing again this weekend.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has 11 top 10 finishes in 23 career starts at NHMS. He won the September 2006 race at track and should crack the top 10 again on Sunday.
11 to 20
No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano won his first career Cup race at NHMS. This is his home track and he has a lot of speed at the Magic Mile.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Carl has had one of the better cars at NHMS the past few years, but it hasn’t translated to a win. He will flirt with another top 10 finish this weekend.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has cracked the top 10 four times in the past 12 races at NHMS. He will be back near the top 10 this trip up Route 106.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has been terrible in three of the past five races at NHMS. He should finish just barely outside the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has dominated three of the last nine races at NHMS. If he can bring a similar setup to the track this weekend he will be fast again.
No. 31 JeffBurton: Burtonhas an impressive history at NHMS. In 33 starts at the track he has won four races. He is a safe pick to finish inside the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has five top eight finishes in the last 11 races at NHMS. This is the weekend to use the No. 56 driver.
No. 51 Kurt Busch: Busch has three career wins at NHMS including the July 2008 rain-shortened race. With his past success at the track he is worth taking a gamble on.
No. 10 David Reutimann: Reutimann cracked the top 20 in seven of the last nine races at NHMS. He will finish inside the top 20 again this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has averaged a 20th place finish at NHMS during his career. He will finish right around his track-average on Sunday.
21 to 30
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose averages a 21st place finish at NHMS. Based on how he has run this season, he should cross the finish line just a little faster this visit.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola has run plenty of laps at NHMS during his career. He should have the No. 43 inside the top 25 when the checkers fly in the Granite State.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray appeared to finally figure out NHMS’s tricky configuration during the September 2011 race. He will be a decent option.
No. 22 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has been okay behind the wheel of the No. 22. He is not a terrible pick.
No. 27 Paul Menard: NHMS has never been kind to Menard. He isn't much of a fantasy option this weekend.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan has been very inconsistent at NHMS. He should just make the top 30 again this weekend.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Labonte cruised to a seventh place finish at NHMS during the June 2010 race. He is a great sleeper pick.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers has averaged a 22nd place finish the past five years at NHMS. He will finish just a little slower than his average this weekend.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith should have the No. 78 inside the top 30 once again.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has had limited past success at NHMS. We don’t like his chances to help your fantasy team this weekend.
No. 32 Mike Olsen
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 33 Stephen Leicht
No. 83 Landon Cassill
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 49 Jason Leffler
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 91 Reed Sorenson
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 79 Kelly Bires
No. 37 J.J. Yeley
No. 19 Jeff Green
No. 23 Scott Riggs
No. 26 Josh Wise
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Tony Stewart
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Kasey Kahne
1. Mike Olsen
2. David Reutimann
Bust of the Week: