Denny Hamlin took the checkered in Loudon, New Hampshire, but this season is dominated by the same tune of Three Amigos.
Repeats in New Hampshire
We have a secret to tell you. The race we’re about to talk about— The Foxwood Resorts Casino 301, known commonly as the New Hampshire 301—has never been won by two drivers: Martin Truex Jr. or Kevin Harvick.
Gasp, we know.
But we have another secret to tell you. There’s one driver we’ve mentioned a lot this season who has been dominating this 1-mile oval track.
Both Kyle and Kurt Busch took the checkered at the track before. Twice actually. Kyle in 2006 and 2015 and Kurt in 2004 and 2008.
Denny Hamlin, last year’s victor, also won at the 318-mile race twice. His other victory was in 2007.
So any guess at the dominating driver?
Yep. It’s actually Kyle Busch. Not only did Busch take the pole on Friday, but he also is the last of any of the drivers to win at New Hampshire. He took his third season win in 2017 in Loudon during the ISM Connect 300. Of his 41 NASCAR Cup Series victories, three of them come at New Hampshire.
July on the East Coast
While Truex Jr. won last week in Kentucky and Harvick finished fifth, neither are the Vegas favorite on the East Coast this week. However, don’t count Truex Jr. out. He has had a stellar season and that’s on top of a third-place finish at this same track last year.
Not only did Busch take the pole on Friday, but he also is the last of any of the drivers to win at New Hampshire. He took his third season win in 2017 in Loudon during the ISM Connect 300.
When the No. 18 last suited up for racing in Loudon, Busch took the pole, led 187 laps and then won. In his 26 stars, he has an average finishing position of 13.2. Fourteen times, he’s finished in the Top 10. (Plus he’s finished in the top 3 in six of the last 10 races at NMHS.)
And while Hamlin took it all last year, a sleeper pick for you may be Kyle Larson, who finished second last season and does well at the 301-lap event.
And if you’re looking for a guy just to finish in the Top 5, then Harvick is definitely that guy. Especially with five wins already this season. He’s running and racing well, but he can’t win ‘em all.
But one thing to account for is that the race normally comes later in the season. Normally the 20th race of the season is the Brickyard 400 in Indiana.
Could that New Hampshire summer heat up the asphalt or provide a nice breeze in mid-July?
Teams or Manufactures or Drivers? The Choice is Yours.
For the last three years, one team and one manufacturer dominates the top spot at New Hampshire: Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota.
Know what Kevin Harvick drives? A Ford. Know for who? Stewart-Haas Racing.
And Martin Truex Jr.? A Toyota, actually. But he races for Furniture Row Racing.
But there is another driver who drives a Toyota and drives for Joe Gibbs and has won the race before: Yep. Kyle Busch. (Big brother Kurt drives a Ford for Stewart-Haas.)
So if you’re one to bet on teams and manufacturers more than drivers, now you know.
The Triple Force
So it’s plain and simple. As much as we love to see another guy take the checkered, the three-way battle between Busch, Truex Jr. and Harvick have accounted for all but five wins this season. We could see this being a week where an underdog comes through, but mostly we just see it being an extension of NASCAR 2018. Basically at this point, we’re wondering if the whole season is having deja vu.