Tony Stewart finished seventh in Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301, but still finds himself outside of Chase contention. He currently sits 19th in the points’ standings, 22 markers behind the current cutoff.
Stewart has built a reputation for surging during the summer, but he admitted to reporters this week that he is not 100% after last year’s injury. The next three weeks will showcase races on the flat tracks of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, and the road course of Watkins Glen International. He has been strong on these tracks, so his fans should not worry yet. Fantasy players will want to take a more cautious approach to starting him, however.
Clint Bowyer quietly remained with the leaders for most of the Camping World RV Sales 301 and crossed under the checkers in sixth.
Bowyer spent approximately 145 laps in the top five on Sunday and earned the fourth-best average running position of 7.003. After finishing 13th at Phoenix and ninth at Martinsville earlier this season, he will be a driver to watch during the next flat track race in two weeks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Camping World RV Sales 301 was not uniformly smooth for Ryan Newman, but a late-race surge on his part and failed fuel mileage gambles by other drivers elevated him to a top-five finish. He improved from his 24th-place qualification effort to finish fifth on Sunday.
Newman’s average running position of 15.538 was only the 17th best in the field, which will make him a difficult driver to handicap when the series returns to New Hampshire this fall. Fantasy players should watch for signs of strength on the flat tracks of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway in the next two weeks to help make their decision.
Matt Kenseth finished fourth in the Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and is still searching for his first victory of 2014.
With 11 unique race winners so far this season, five drivers currently will make the race based on their position in the points. Kenseth’s fourth-place on Sunday elevated him to fourth in the standings and while he is not yet mathematically safe, he should qualify for the Chase. Much more troublesome for fantasy players, however, is that the No. 20 team still has not regained their 2013 form.
In the Camping World RV Sales 301, Kyle Larson narrowly missed matching his career-best finish. With a dramatic green-white-checkered finish, he crossed under the checkers third behind Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. His best career finish is second in this March’s Auto Club 400. This was his fourth top-five in 2014.
More importantly, Larson ended a three-race slide that saw him finish 28th at Sonoma, 40th at Kentucky, and 36th at Daytona. His third-place finish elevated him to 14th in the standings and puts him back in Chase contention based on points. With 11 unique winners this year, only five positions remain open for drivers near the top of the points’ standings.
Kyle Busch stretched his fuel mileage in the closing laps of the Camping World RV Sales 301 and earned his third consecutive second-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
In terms of laps in the top-five and -10, Busch had the second-most dominant car behind the No. 2 or Brad Keselowski. That will make him one of the drivers to watch when the series returns to New Hampshire in September for the second race of the Chase for the Championship.
Brad Keselowski led 138 of 305 laps on Sunday to win the Camping World RV Sales 301. This was the first time in the history of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a driver swept Victory Lane in the Nationwide and Cup series.
Keselowski dominated both races, leading 138 laps on Sunday and 152 of 200 on Saturday. He did so by mostly adopting a four-tire strategy while those around him took two.
James Bickford, in just his seventh NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race, passed former champion Greg Pursley with four laps to go in the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 at State Line Speedway to go en route to capturing his first career win.
Bickford, who turned 16 in March, is the cousin of four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. His previous best finish was a fourth-place run at Iowa Speedway in May.