Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Kyle Busch is the 5/2 favorite to win at Pocono

KYLE BUSCH
Three In A Row at Pocono?

Kyle Busch has won all three of his Pocono races in last four starts.
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (July 22, 2019) – Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, is nicknamed “Tricky Triangle” for a reason. The only three-turn track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit presents drivers and crew chiefs with the most unique setup challenges in their efforts to get their racecars to make it around the 2.5-mile circuit quickly and efficiently.

For Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), the Tricky Triangle has been much less tricky of late with three victories in the last four Cup Series races there, including the most recent two – last August and this past June.

As the 2015 Cup Series champion heads into Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 NASCAR Cup Series race, he’s hoping the return of the Skittles scheme will be just what he needs to help him earn a sweep of the 2019 Pocono events and make it three wins in a row there. It would make Busch just the third driver to win three races in a row at Pocono – the other two being Bobby Allison in 1982 and 1983, Tim Richmond in 1986 and 1987.

In addition to getting his third consecutive Pocono win, Busch is also looking to become only the eighth driver since NASCAR began racing in the Pocono Mountains in 1974 to sweep both races at Pocono in a season, joining Bill Elliott in 1985, Bobby Labonte in 1999, Jimmie Johnson in 2004, Denny Hamlin in 2006, Dale Earnhardt Jr., in 2014, and Allison and Richmond.

Busch’s fortunes have recently made a turn for the better at the 2.5-mile Pocono oval. After narrowly missing a victory in June 2017, Busch returned in late July looking for his first Cup Series win there. He bring home his first career Pocono Cup Series win behind some clever strategy by crew chief Adam Stevens, as well as his own smart driving. While the top competitors headed to pit road for their final scheduled  fuel-and-tire stops late in the race, Stevens elected to leave Busch out longer than the rest. The others were clearly faster on newer tires, but Busch took advantage of a clean track to make up time and, when he was finally called to pit road, he had much fresher tires than his fellow competitors for the closing stages of the race. He eventually drove by Kevin Harvick for an impressive first Pocono victory.

Busch will find plenty of encouragement this week during his usual pre-Pocono visit to Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S. headquarters in Hackettstown, New Jersey. There, the Skittles driver will have the opportunity to meet with hundreds of Mars Wrigley associates, many of whom will make the one-hour drive to Pocono Sunday to cheer for Busch and his Skittles Toyota.

In addition to the good fortune at Pocono, the Skittles brand has been red hot in recent years when it’s adorned Busch’s No. 18 Toyota, with wins so far this season at ISM Raceway near Phoenix and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in the familiar Skittles colors, and six wins in all since 2015 with Skittles on board.

So, as the series heads back to the Pocono Mountains, Busch, crew chief Adam Stevens and the entire Skittles team will aim for three in-a-row at Pocono as teams head toward the end of summer and into the homestretch of NASCAR’s regular season.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Skittles Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
Do you feel like you have a good notebook with the new car configuration that you can take back to Pocono and be successful with it?

“I’d like to think so. We were pretty good there last time. There were a couple of guys who were as fast as we were. It was kind of hard to pass in certain situations. There were some unique opportunities on restarts that didn’t really seem to present themselves like we all expected them to. Past all that, for as good as we were, we’re not going back with the PJ1 being sprayed on lane two in all three corners or lane two and three in all three corners, so that’ll be a different variable than we’ve had there in the past, and we’ll just have to play it all out and see what happens when we get there. Typically at those places, and like any mile-and-a-half that we go to where you have to get out of the gas just a little bit, it seems like us – the 18 – all the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) cars, we can run OK with those guys. But anywhere that we go that you have to run wide open all the way around, like Kansas or Chicago, we sort of struggle and there are some other teams that are better than us. Like California, we were super-fast because you had to get out of the gas and play with it some, and then Pocono was that same way, so we were really fast there. So I feel good about that, at least, going back with our Skittles Camry.”

How do you think the PJ1 will affect Pocono?

“I don’t know if it will. You would like to think that it’s going to present more opportunities to just get out of the wake of the guy in front of you. I think what we’re expecting it to do is, if you go off into the corner and you follow somebody, you have to lose ground to them in order to maintain the same line that they’re running. You can’t gain on them following them. You have less downforce. You’re just not going to make that time. If you can offset yourself wider than them, you can at least maintain that gap and you can come off the corner kind of with a little bit of a momentum from the high side that it typically gives you. Then you can make a run on the straightaways and you have a chance to be able to race with the guy you’re following and you don’t just have to be stuck behind him. That’s the theory, anyway. We’ll see how that works.”

What’s the trickiest part about racing at Pocono?

“Trying to pass people is the trickiest part because it’s so finicky there after getting your car setup to run by yourself in practice, but also getting it good for the traffic during the race and being able to out-corner guys out there. Having a lot of horsepower is important there, as well. Hoping we can have all of those things go right for us this week with our Skittles Toyota. We won this race last year with a good car and some good calls by Adam Stevens up on the pit box. Mars Confectionary U.S. is just down the road and I know we will have a lot of Mars associates out at the track rooting us on. We’d like to get another win there in their backyard.”

Since the track is unique, where is the best place to make a pass at Pocono?

“Most of your passing is going to be done probably through turn one and off of turn one and getting into turn two, and if somebody can get a good run off of turn two, get back up high and get in line to get on that patch, getting into turn three. Besides that, in turn one, we just can’t get the cars to turn down there because there’s so much load on the bump stops from going 210 mph down the front straightaway and then trying to slow it down to about a ‘buck-40’ (140 mph). Turn two is kind of bumpy and kind of rough. There are different areas where you’ve got to maneuver through the tunnel turn to get your car right. If you miss it just by a little bit, you tend to knock the wall down off the corner, so it’s tight.”

Odds to win 2019 Gander RV 400 at Pocono Raceway

Kyle Busch has won three of the past four Pocono races.

WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERBOOK
ODDS TO WIN 2019 GANDER RV 400
POCONO RACEWAY
SUNDAY, JULY 28, 2019 - 3:15 PM ET 

Kyle BUSCH 5/2
Brad KESELOWSKI 5/1
Martin TRUEX JR 5/1
Kevin HARVICK 5/1
Denny HAMLIN 10/1
Joey LOGANO 14/1
Chase ELLIOTT 16/1
Ryan BLANEY 20/1
Kyle LARSON 20/1
Erik JONES 20/1
Kurt BUSCH 25/1
Clint BOWYER 25/1
Aric ALMIROLA 40/1
Daniel SUAREZ 40/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 50/1
Alex BOWMAN 50/1
William BYRON 80/1
Ryan NEWMAN 200/1
Austin DILLON 200/1
Ricky STENHOUSE JR 200/1
Paul MENARD 500/1
Chris BUESCHER 500/1
Matt DiBENEDETTO 500/1
Daniel HEMRIC 500/1
Ryan PREECE 1000/1
Michael McDOWELL 2000/1
Ty DILLON 2000/1
Darrell WALLACE JR 2000/1
David RAGAN 5000/1
FIELD (all others) 1000/1

Thursday, July 18, 2019

New Hampshire Betting Preview: 2019 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

Kyle Busch has won three Cup races at New Hampshire.
Joe Gibbs Racing has won 10 of the 19 races this season, including five of the six races using this week's race package that feature engines with 750 horsepower and no aero ducts. They've also won five of the last seven races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway's flat 1.058-mile layout.

So it should come as no surprise that the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook posted Kyle Busch is a massive 5/2 favorite to win Sunday's Foxwoods Resorts Casino 301 followed by Martin Truex Jr. as the 4/1 second choice.

Busch has been amazing at New Hampshire in all fazes of his career in all series. He's won three times in the Cup Series, six times in the Xfinity Series and three times in the Truck Series. Obviously, he has a good understanding of what it takes to be successful on the layout.

“Loudon is a Martinsville-like short track, but it’s just over a mile," Busch said. "It’s a little more spread out, but there's some rooting and gouging going on because it’s a one-lane track and everybody fights for that particular groove. To be fast at Loudon, you have to have good brakes and you have to roll the center really well and get that good forward bite off the corners and make sure it sticks."

The Martinsville comparison angle is interesting because both are paperclip shapes and flat, but I've always done much better by using results from Phoenix and Richmond's flat layout as a comparison due to the distances and set-ups being similar and also because the same drivers that do well on one always seem to do well on the other. In some years drivers will win on all three in the same season.

But added to the mix this season to use as a comparison when handicapping is the new race package which hasn't seen as much passing as the other package seen on the larger tracks with engines producing 550 horsepower. Look at the Martinsville race in March with Brad Keselowski leading 446 of the 500 laps. He's the only non-JGR driver to win with this package but doesn't have a top-five finish in the other five races using it. 

“I’d say the most important thing at Loudon is track position, just because it’s hard to pass," said three-time New Hampshire winner Kevin Harvick. "You want to be upfront and on the right strategy no matter what you do. If the caution flag falls in the wrong spot and you lose track position, it usually becomes a longer day than it could have been.”

Harvick is the driver to halt JGR from winning seven straight at New Hampshire, winning last season and also in 2016. He's also one of the examples of being good on one track and having it translate to the other two during a season. In 2006, he won at Phoenix twice, won at Richmond and won at New Hampshire. He hasn't won a race yet this season but is listed at 6-to-1 odds this week just because these type of tracks are his deal, forever.

Kyle Busch won at Phoenix in March in the debut of this race package and led a race-high 177 laps. Truex was second and Ryan Blaney was third. Blaney is a driver you may want to take a shot with at 20-to-1 odds. He led 94 laps at Phoenix and was the leader with 17 laps to go. He's desperate for his first 2019 as well, situations I like betting on with quality teams because the driver will fight for every spot and not settle. Blaney has four top-fives driving this package.

Truex would come back and win at Richmond leading a race-high 186 laps for his first short track win in his Cup career. He's never won at New Hampshire, but the fact that he's won the last three races using this race package has my attention.

Another unique aspect with Truex is that he has multiple New Hampshire wins between the K&N Pro Series and Xfinity Series. His father won at New Hampshire in the K&N Series and so did his brother Ryan, twice. How he hasn't won there in the Cup Series yet is a mystery. He's finished in the top-five of his last three starts there and he's led a third of the laps there over his past five starts.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Kevin Harvick is 6/1 to win 2019 Foxwoods 301 at NHMS

KEVIN HARVICK
‘I’d Like To Order a Win, With a Lot of Passes on the Side’

Kevin Harvick won at New Hampshire last year.
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 17, 2019) – Kevin Harvick has won three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, including the 2018 race. His other victories came in September 2006 and 2016.

Those three victories put him in a tie for second in all-time wins at the 1.058-mile oval.

If Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer / National Forest Foundation Ford Mustang for Stewart Haas Racing (SHR), is able to score his fourth New Hampshire victory in Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, he would move into a tie with Jeff Burton for most wins all-time at the track known as the “Magic Mile.”

Is it possible to make a lot of passes before the checkered flag? Because that would be ideal.

Busch Beer is not only continuing its efforts to get people outside, it’s giving fans even more of a reason to root for Harvick’s No. 4 Busch Ford Mustang. That’s because Busch is giving away one “America the Beautiful” pass – an all access pass to National Parks and Forests across the country for one year – for each green-flag pass Harvick makes Sunday at New Hampshire.

In addition to the “Every Pass Unlocks a Pass” giveaway, Busch, as part of its ongoing partnership with the National Forest Foundation, will donate funds to the foundation to plant the equivalent of 80 trees in a National Forest – the amount an America the Beautiful pass costs in dollars –for each of those passes Harvick’s National Forest Foundation-inspired car makes during the race.  

For a chance to win an “America the Beautiful” pass from Busch, fans can Tweet using the hashtag #BuschPass4Pass and #sweepstakes.  

In addition to his three wins, Harvick has 11 top-five finishes, 19 top-10s, one pole and has led a total of 718 laps in his 35 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at New Hampshire. His average start at New Hampshire is 12.9, his average finish is 13.1 and he has completed 10,181 of 10,389 laps of competition – 98 percent.

He’s been good there in other NASCAR series, too.

Harvick has 12 career starts in the Xfinity Series at New Hampshire and has scored one win, nine top-fives and 11 top-10s and three poles. He scored his victory in June 2007 after starting on the pole. And, in six Truck Series starts at New Hampshire, Harvick has finished in the top-15 each time and has three top-three finishes.

His goal this week, though is to score a win – hopefully with a lot of green-flag passes, as well.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer / National Forest Foundation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
What are your thoughts on Busch Beer and the National Forest Foundation working together?

“I’m excited to give back to my fans and to the National Forest Foundation, and there’s not a better way I could think of doing it. They told me every pass I make in the race gives another fan a free pass for an awesome getaway. I’m hoping to give away 300 of them.”

What makes the fans in Loudon so intense and so loyal?

“I’ve had a little bit different of an experience and I’ll go outside of Loudon a little bit. I was fortunate to go up and experience the Oxford 250 in Oxford, Maine, and that’s really where you see those grassroots fans. I went up there in 2007 and, to this day, I still see a lot of those competitors and people who come by and say hello at Loudon. It’s just fun to be able to have met those people. We were fortunate – looking back on it now, it was fortunate – but we might not have thought it was fortunate at the time, but to sit around in the rain for two days and talk to the folks, see where they were from and find out what they’re about was a pretty cool experience. It’s a great region for us in terms of fans and competitors, and really a big racing community.”

What does it take to be successful at Loudon?

“I’d say the most important thing at Loudon is track position, just because it’s hard to pass. You want to be up front and on the right strategy no matter what you do. If the caution flag falls in the wrong spot and you lose track position, it usually becomes a longer day than it could have been.”

Denny Hamlin is 10/1 to win 2019 Foxwoods Resorts Casino 301

Denny Hamlin has three wins at New Hampshire.
Denny Hamlin
#11 FedEx Express Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing

Race Info:

Race: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301
Date/Time: July 21/3:00 p.m. ET
Distance: 301 laps/318.4 miles
Track Length: 1 mile
Banking: 7 degrees
Track Shape: Oval
2018 Winner: Kevin Harvick

Express Notes:

Press Kit:
Download the 2019 FedEx Racing press materials at www.fedexracing.com/presskit, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Chris Gabehart and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights and statistics.

Kentucky Recap: A fast FedEx Freight Toyota helped Denny Hamlin battle back from a penalty to score a top-five finish at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night. The #11 team had a car capable of winning – leading laps and running in the top five for much of the race – but once again had to overcome a pit road penalty that sent the team to the back of the pack. The race-changing penalty came late in Stage 2. Hamlin had been running second before pitting for two tires and fuel and subsequently incurring a penalty from NASCAR for an uncontrolled tire. After completing his pass-through penalty, he sat in 22nd and a lap down to the leader. After getting the “Lucky Dog” pass to return to the lead lap, Hamlin spent Stage 3 gradually picking off positions until he returned to the top five – including leading five laps before having to peel off to pit. A late-race caution led to a green-white-checkered overtime finish, but Hamlin stood his ground in the top five and crossed the line in fifth as Kurt Busch scored the win.

New Hampshire Preview:
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be heading to New England for 301 laps of action at New Hampshire Motor speedway on Sunday, July 21. With Hamlin and team incurring costly penalties the last two races, Denny and team will be looking to improve their race execution and hoping for their third win of the 2019 Cup Series season.

Hamlin New Hampshire Statistics:
Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Races: 25
Wins: 3 (2007, 2012, 20170
Poles: 0
Top-5: 9
Top-10: 14
Laps Led: 549
Avg. Start: 10.2
Avg. Finish 10.2

Hamlin Conversation:

You’ve had success at Loudon; what will your team need to repeat in New Hampshire?


“I’ve been fortunate to have had some good races at New Hampshire, but every year is different, and it’s a tough group of drivers who are battling every week for the win. I am confident in our team’s ability, but we will need to be at the top of our game to get the win this weekend at Loudon.”

Penalties have continued to be an issue with your team this season; what will your team need to adjust and improve upon to put yourselves in the best position to win every week for the remainder of the season?

“We’ve had fast FedEx Toyotas this season, but the penalties have definitely hurt us. In these races, we have been able to rally because we had a fast car and fought our way back up to the front. I’m proud of the speed we bring to the track every week, but we still need to work on our execution in order to run a complete race.”

FedEx PYMA Along for the Ride at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
For the Foxwood Resort Casino 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the FedEx #11 will proudly feature the letters PYMA on its B-post to recognize team members for exceeding performance goals in FY19 for FedEx First Overnight and FedEx Priority Overnight service.

Alex Bowman is 35/1 to win 2019 Foxwoods 301 at NHMS

Bowman was runner-up at Dover using 750 HP package.
Alex Bowman on New Hampshire:
“New Hampshire is a really tricky place to go. The track is sort of awkward, but very unique compared to anywhere else we go. I have struggled there in the past, but last year we were able to unload with a ton of speed, which was great.”

Bowman on the playoffs:
“With seven races to go in the regular season, we are really focused on the points. Getting the win in Chicagoland locked us into the playoffs, which was what we have been looking to do all season. Now, we are looking at getting the most amount of points that we can during a race to get ourselves in a good position when we head to Las Vegas in September.”


BEST AVERAGE FINISH: Over the last nine events in the NASCAR Cup Series, Alex Bowman is tied for first with Kyle Busch for the best average finish. The Chicagoland Speedway winner has an average finish of 9.89 since the event at Dover International Speedway on May 5.

AXALTA ON BOARD: This weekend marks the eighth of 12 events in which the Axalta colors will adorn Bowman's No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings will be on board this weekend in New Hampshire and then again at Watkins Glen International, Michigan International Speedway and ISM Raceway later this season. Axalta unveiled a new Axalta Racing website last year that includes plenty of behind-the-scenes content, photos, and videos. Check out Bowman's page here.

BOWMAN STATS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: Bowman is set to make his eighth Cup Series start at New Hampshire this weekend. The Tucson, Arizona, native earned his best start (eighth) and best finish (11th) at the track last season. In 2016, he made his first start behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet at New Hampshire when it was announced that he would take over for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 10 events. Bowman has two starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the 1.058-mile oval track with an average finish of ninth. Back in 2011, the driver made two starts at the track in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where he completed 100 percent of the total laps run and also had an average finish of ninth.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CAREER NUMBERS: Since Bowman's first start at New Hampshire in 2016, the driver has made 65 starts and has two pole wins (Phoenix in 2016, Daytona 500 in 2018). Three weeks ago, he claimed his first Cup Series victory at Chicagoland. The driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has claimed seven top-five finishes, 20 top-10s and 453 laps led with Hendrick Motorsports in that span.

NEW HAMPSHIRE CREDENTIALS: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the seventh time at New Hampshire this weekend. The Bark River, Michigan, native’s resume includes one top-five finish, two top-15s and 10 laps led. In 2013 and 2014, Ives was a crew chief at JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. His drivers earned an average start of fifth and an average finish of eighth at the Loudon, New Hampshire, track. From 2006-2012, the crew chief was a race engineer on the No. 48 team with Jimmie Johnson. During that time, the team had one win (2010), six top-five finishes and 11 top-10s at the venue.

EYES ON THE POINTS: Since the 600-mile event at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, Bowman and the No. 88 team have captured 225 points, which are the fifth-most earned in that span in the Cup Series. The driver is currently ninth on the list of drivers who have earned the most stage points since that May 26 race, collecting 47 points in total.

Chase Elliott is 10/1 to win 2019 Foxwoods 301 at NHMS

Chase Elliott had his best finish at Loudon last year.
Chase Elliott on New Hampshire:
“New Hampshire is always an interesting one, for sure. Very easy to miss that balance in the setup there, I feel like. It doesn’t really compare to anywhere else – it’s kind of its own animal. Only going there once a year now is a bit of a challenge, as well, because you don’t see it twice like you used to. It’s always tough.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media on Friday, July 19, at 3:15 p.m. local time in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway media center.

GRANITE STATE STATS: Chase Elliott is set to make his sixth NASCAR Cup Series start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Last season at the 1.058-mile oval, he had one of the top three best running averages (4.03) and led 23 laps en route to a career track-best finish of fifth. Based on average running position, the Loudon, New Hampshire, track is one of Elliott’s best with an 8.75 average in his previous five events. The driver also has two starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the track. In those Xfinity starts, he collected a pair of top-10 finishes.

KELLEY BLUE BOOK RETURNS: This weekend at New Hampshire, the navy, white and gold colors will return to the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Each week, the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book Trade-In Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new and used cars. KBB extended its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports prior to the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season.

GUSTAFSON AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson will call his 27th Cup Series race at New Hampshire from atop the pit box this weekend. In his previous 26 races calling the shots for five different drivers at the venue, Gustafson has collected two wins – in 2006 with Kyle Busch and 2009 with Mark Martin. The crew chief has also accumulated one pole award, seven top-five finishes, 12 top-10s and 488 laps led.

BRINGING CHEVROLET VICTORIES: Since the beginning of the 2018 season, Elliott has garnered the most wins of any Chevrolet driver with four. The driver of the No. 9 Chevy has taken the checkered flag at Watkins Glen International (August 2018), Dover International Speedway (October 2018), Kansas (October 2018) and Talladega Superspeedway (April 2019).

BIG IN THE LAST SEVEN: Elliott ranks in the top 10 for the most stage points collected in the last seven races (seventh, 50 points). The 23-year-old driver has also led at least one lap in five of the last seven events of the season.

CUT TO THE CHASE: In March, Kelley Blue Book launched its 2019 video series “Cut to the Chase” on Twitter. In the final video of the three-part series, Elliott is once again called upon to give some car buying advice via Kelley Blue Book in a lighthearted manner. The previous two videos were released in March– around KBB’s first primary race of the 2019 season – and in May.

HOME SWEET HOME: Two members of the No. 9 team consider New Hampshire Motor Speedway their home track. Engine tuner Tony Bove hails from Burlington, Vermont, approximately 167 miles northwest of the track. Interior mechanic Scott Honan is from Norwalk, Connecticut, approximately 200 miles southwest of the oval.
 

2019 Season

  • 8th in standings
  • 19 starts
  • 1 win
  • 2 pole positions
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 7 top-10 finishes
  • 409 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 132 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 6 pole positions
  • 39 top-five finishes
  • 66 top-10 finishes
  • 1,652 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 5 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 24 laps led
 

Daniel Suarez is 40/1 to win 2019 Foxwoods 301 at New Hampshire

DANIEL SUÁREZ
Playoff Pressure Is Mounting

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 17, 2019) – Daniel Suárez and the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head north to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon for a Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Granite State facility.
At Kentucky Speedway in Sparta last weekend, the Mexico native earned the pole position. It was the second of his Cup Series career with his first coming at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway last July. A speed of 184.590 mph earned him the prime starting position for last Saturday night’s 400-mile race at Kentucky. The pole award notched Suárez’s eighth top-10 starting spot in 2019.

Suárez led 52 laps at Kentucky but was forced to overcome an unscheduled green-flag pit stop for a flat tire, and a speeding penalty that eventually sent him three laps down. A fast No. 41 Ford, along with calls made by crew chief Billy Scott, enabled Suárez to get back to on the lead lap and finish eighth.

In his junior Cup Series season, Suárez has accumulated two top-five finishes and seven top-10s, along with a total of 105 laps led. The Mustang driver has an average start of 15.8 and an average finish of 15.3 this season.

The Haas driver is currently 18th in the Cup Series standings, separated by 10 points from 14th-place teammate Clint Bowyer to round out the four-driver SHR contingent. The top 16 drivers after the 26 regular-season races will earn a spot in the Cup Series playoffs. If Suárez captures a playoff position, it will be the first of his Cup Series career. Last year, all four SHR entries secured at least one regular-season win and a playoff spot.

The 27-year-old Suárez is making his fourth Cup Series career start at New Hampshire, where he has two top-10 finishes, along with an average starting position of 16.0 and an average finishing position of 12.0.

In the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the “Magic Mile,” Suárez started third and finished fifth in 2015 and started fourth and finished fourth during his series championship season of 2016.

At Kentucky last weekend, Suárez wore special skeleton-printed gloves as part of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s “Driven to Give Gloves” initiative benefitting Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The race-worn gloves are now available for bid via nascarfoundation.org/dalejr.

SHR has four victories at New Hampshire – by team co-owner Tony Stewart and former SHR driver Ryan Newman in 2011, and Suárez’s current teammate Kevin Harvick in 2016 and 2018.
Daniel Suárez: Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You seem to really gel with Billy and the guys on the crew. Why do you think that is?

“I think a lot of that credit goes to Billy. Billy built this team. All of these guys have been together for a while with Billy as the crew chief, and they were all together before I came here. I’m the new person to the group. We all like being around each other, even when we aren’t at the track. We like to hang out together and go and do different things outside of the racetrack.”

There seems to be a noticeable difference in your confidence this year. Why is that, or what’s different this year from previous years?

“I think it’s a combination of things. I feel really good about our communication and we are all very clear with each other. If I’m struggling, I know what my teammates have and they’re good about sharing information. As a whole at SHR, we are all very open with each other and I think that’s why you see us running near each other most of the time, but it makes me feel good knowing that all four of our cars and teams are on the same page.”

Jimmie Johnson is 35/1 to win at New Hampshire

Jimmie Johnson has won three times at New Hampshire.
Jimmie Johnson on New Hampshire:
“Loudon is one of the scrappiest tracks that we race at, great long straightaways, tight turns. The traction compound does seem to offer us some options but it seems to wear off during the race – it’s a tough little track.”


LOBSTER TROPHIES: In his storied career, Jimmie Johnson has found Victory Lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway three times including a sweep of the 2003 events when the NASCAR Cup Series raced there twice a season. The seven-time Cup Series champion also has one pole position at the venue, which he scored in 2016. His three victories tie him with eight other drivers for the second-most at the Loudon, New Hampshire, track, behind only Jeff Burton's four.

RACKING UP TOP-10 FINISHES: Of the 33 starts Johnson has made at New Hampshire, he has finished in the top 10 an impressive 22 times. That total marks the second-most all-time at the "Magic Mile" behind only NASCAR Hall of Famer and former teammate Jeff Gordon. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 owns 22 or more career top-10 finishes at four additional tracks – Texas Motor Speedway (22), Charlotte Motor Speedway (22), Martinsville Speedway (24) and Dover International Speedway (24).

LAST TIME UP NORTH: The last time Johnson was in New England was for a different kind of race. In April, the 19-year NASCAR veteran completed the famed Boston Marathon by running the 26.2-mile course in 3:09, which qualified the 43-year-old for the 2020 event. He documented his journey through a series of videos with longtime partner Gatorade.

HOMETOWN RETURNS: New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the home track claimed by two members of the No. 48 team. Engine tuner Steven Legendre hails from Danville, Vermont. Legendre is a second-generation driver who used to frequent White Mountain Motorsports Park’s quarter-mile racetrack while racing late models at the local short tracks in the northeast. As he got older, he advanced to the Pro All-Star Series North and then the PASS South series before moving to North Carolina to attend school at Rowan Cabarrus Community College. No. 48 team engineer Ben Lynch is from Derry, New Hampshire. He played ice hockey in high school in at Pinkerton Academy and went to college at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte studying mechanical engineering.

VOTE FOR HELMET OF HOPE: Voting for Johnson’s 2019 Helmet of Hope is now open and will take place until July 19. The five charitable organizations that receive the most votes during that time will each receive a $25,000 grant and an ice cream party, and will have their logo featured on Johnson’s helmet during the Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway on October 20. Visit helmetofhope.org for more information.
 

2019 Season

  • 15th in standings
  • 19 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 8 top-10 finishes
  • 78 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 634 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 36 pole positions
  • 227 top-five finishes
  • 360 top-10 finishes
  • 18,781 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 33 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 10 top-five finishes
  • 22 top-10 finishes
  • 323 laps led
 

Kyle Busch is 5/2 favorite to win 2019 Foxwoods Resorts Casino 301 at New Hampshire

KYLE BUSCH
Going Green

Kyle Busch has 3 wins at NHMS.
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (July 16, 2019) – Kyle Busch will be going green this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon when he returns for the fourth of six races with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) founding sponsor Interstate Batteries’ familiar green-and-white striped Toyota Camry.

Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for JGR. heads into Sunday’s Foxwoods Casino Resort 301 looking to continue his torrid pace this Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season by adding yet another notch to the win column at one of his most successful tracks. Interstate Batteries’ colors are already in the win column in 2019 via Busch’s March victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, which also happened to mark his 200th career victory in NASCAR top three touring series. Busch has four Cup Series wins so far this season, a number matched only among Cup Series competitors by JGR teammate Martin Truex Jr.

The New Hampshire track affectionately dubbed the “Magic Mile” has certainly lived up to its billing for Busch. In 2015, he and his team used hard work and a little bit of luck to bring home what would be his second of three Cup Series wins in a row during a summer hot streak that would ultimately springboard him to that year’s Cup Series championship.
 
The 2015 New Hampshire victory was Busch’s second Cup Series win on the 1.058-mile oval, the first coming in just his third start there in July 2006, and in dominating fashion as he led 107 laps. After that 2006 win, the Las Vegas native left with plenty of confidence that he could get multiple New Hampshire wins as his career progressed. As it turned out, he was winless there over the next 17 races, which included a number of near-misses.

Still, the driver of the Interstate Batteries Toyota posted five top-five finishes in those 17 starts between New Hampshire wins, including three runner-up finishes in a row in 2013 and 2014 before breaking through for the aforementioned 2015 win, and then adding his first playoff victory at the track in September 2017 after leading 187 of the 300 laps in an impressive performance. In all, Busch has 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s in 27 starts at New Hampshire.

This part of the season happens to be the hottest for Cup Series competitors with many race venues seeing higher July temperatures, which is also the case for race fans heading out on their vacation road trips. The summer months can be taxing on both man and machine, whether it’s on the highway or at the track. Caring for the latter is one of the ways JGR founding partner Interstate Batteries leverages its NASCAR program, reminding consumers to have their batteries checked during the hot summer months at a local dealer prior to their summer road trips.

So, as NASCAR’s top series heads to the Northeast for Sunday’s 301-mile race, Busch will look to rekindle the magic he last enjoyed during this time of year in 2015. There will be plenty of Interstate Batteries distributors and dealers across New England cheering him on as he looks to add yet another New Hampshire win to his resume.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
Do you expect New Hampshire to be similar to Phoenix in how difficult it is to pass?

“It’s going to be hard to pass. It’s always hard to pass at New Hampshire, so I don’t know how it will be much better or much worse. I’m not certain if they’re spraying (with chemicals to enhance traction). I imagine they are for that top groove and that bottom groove, so the middle is left undone. Since doing that, that’s kind of livened up the racetrack, I feel like, the last couple of years. It’s actually made it a bit more racey, especially on restarts and such, where you’re not just so tense and on-edge and feeling like you’re on ice to not slide into the guy around you. We’ll work on getting a good starting position with our Interstate Batteries Camry there, would like nothing more than to celebrate with all the Interstate dealers and distributors around New England if we can get back to victory lane there.”

Was the racing any different at New Hampshire last year since it’s no longer part of the playoffs?

“It didn’t seem to be much different. I think that Loudon sometimes is a more challenging racetrack to pass people on, but we’ve had a lot of success there and think we will again this weekend with our Interstate Batteries Toyota. There is more time or opportunity for slipping and sliding and contact being made, being a short track, being a flat track. So maybe guys won’t care as much, I guess, because it’s not in the playoffs and they don’t really need notes to help them try and run better there when it comes to playoff time. We’ll see.”

What does it take to be successful at New Hampshire?

“Loudon is a Martinsville-like short track, but it’s just over a mile. It’s a little more spread out, but there’s some rooting and gouging going on because it’s a one-lane track and everybody fights for that particular groove. To be fast at Loudon, you have to have good brakes and you have to roll the center really well and get that good forward bite off the corners and make sure it sticks. The biggest thing about Loudon is, you keep losing front turn-in and that’s why the brakes go away, just because the corners are longer and more sweeping than you need to keep those front tires around you.”

The New Hampshire race is one of the shortest on the circuit. How do you approach that race knowing you might have a little less time to get to the front at the end?

“Essentially, at Loudon, you’re looking at how good your fuel mileage is and you have to look at when you have to make your last pit stop since that’s what everyone looks at. You end up running it almost like a road-course race because you do want to be the first guy on the last round of pit stops to pit. You want to get in there, get your tires and fuel, and then stay out the rest of the race and keep your track position since it’s so important there. It’s just a challenging race because it’s so hard to pass there. You can be two-tenths faster than a guy and not be able to pass him because everyone typically runs the same speed. You’ll have it where the leader might be a tenth better than the second-place guy, but everyone is separated by so little that it takes a mistake on someone’s part in order to pass them there.”

When you make a mistake at Loudon, does it cost you a little bit more because you have less time to recover?

“You don’t because you’re always on edge there. You’re trying to go as fast as you can into the corners, as deep as you can into the corners while rolling as much speed, or just a bit higher than everyone else so you are able to get back to the gas sooner. You’re going harder than everyone else in order to make the straightaway a little bit longer and get your momentum built back up. It’s definitely a challenging racetrack – not one of my best racetracks, I’ll admit that. I’ve won there twice so, if we get a good car – I guess I’ll need to have a really good car, apparently – then we might have a shot to win there.”

Aric Almirola is 25/1 to win 2019 Foxwoods 301 at New Hampshire

ARIC ALMIROLA
Redemption in Loudon 

Aric Almirola had best New Hampshire finish last year.
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 17, 2019) – Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang, returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 looking to better last year’s performance at the 1.058-mile oval in which he led a career-best 42 laps. 

Last year’s race at Loudon was a thriller for Almirola. The Smithfield driver battled adversity from the beginning of the race when an issue with the right-front tire demoted him to 28th place in Stage 1 before he was able to battle his teammate Kevin Harvick for the lead in Stage 3. A caution period on lap 257 sent him to the pits for four tires and fuel. He restarted third and that’s where he finished the race. 

“I was extremely disappointed,” Almirola said. “Even though we earned a top-five and our best finish of the year, we had the fastest car, hands down. I’m excited to go back to Loudon because the Smithfield No. 10 team and I have some unfinished business to take care of.” 

The Smithfield Ford driver has two top-five finishes and three top-10s in 16 Cup Series starts at Loudon. In 19 Cup Series starts this year, Almirola has one pole, one top-five finish, 10 top-10s and has led 100 laps. In 299 career starts, Almirola has two wins, two poles, 16 top-five finishes, 59 top-10s and 457 laps led. 

Almirola has qualified on the front row six times this season – one pole and five outside-front-row starts. 

He has one NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Loudon, which he started and finished in the top-five. The Ford driver has also made five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts as the “Magic Mile” with two top-10 finishes.

Almirola is ranked 10th among Cup Series drivers in his last 10 starts at tracks less than 1.5 miles in length, with four top-10 finishes, three top-fives and 91 laps led. 

This weekend’s event at Loudon marks the 18th points-paying event during which the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang this year. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its eighth season with Almirola and its second with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.

Also, fans can now get VIP, behind-the-scenes access in following “Aric ‘Beyond the 10’” by subscribing to his YouTube channel and following episodes on Facebook and Instagram TV. Episodes showcase never-before-seen footage of Almirola at the racetrack, on family trips, and “A Day in the Life” during the week, as well as all that goes into a NASCAR Cup Series driver’s season. Click here to subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode.

Almirola sits 10th in the championship standings heading to Loudon, 204 points out of first and six positions ahead of the cutoff for the playoffs.

While he looks for redemption this weekend, his drive to put the Smithfield Ford Mustang in victory lane will occur during his milestone 300th Cup Series start. 

Aric Almirola: Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

What do you like about going to New Hampshire Motor Speedway?

“It kind of takes you back to Saturday-night, short-track racing. It’s a mile track but it races like a short track. You go there and see the Modified division there and it makes you feel like when you were a kid and racing Late Models. It’s a fun track to race at and I’ve had some success there and I’ve run well there in the past.”

Clint Bowyer is 16/1 to win 2019 Foxwoods 301 at New Hampshire

CLINT BOWYER
Homestead on Bowyer’s and Everyone Else’s Minds

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 16, 2019) – This is the time of year every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver’s thoughts and dreams turn to Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the season’s 36-race schedule culminates Nov. 17 in a four-driver, winner-take-all race for the series championship.

“Winning a championship is the reason we are in this sport,” said No. 14 Toco Warranty/Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver Clint Bowyer. “It’s why everyone puts in these long hours during a long season. Winning a championship is what we dreamed about ever since we started racing. It was a great feeling to win the Xfinity title in 2008 and I can’t imagine the feeling of satisfaction you would get by winning a Cup title.”

To make those dreams come true, Bowyer’s first step is qualifying for the 16-driver, 10-race NASCAR Cup Series playoffs that begin Sept. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With just seven races remaining in the regular season, Bowyer is on the edge as the 14th-place driver in the playoff standings. There’s time to gain or lose valuable positions as he sits only 10 points ahead of the 17th-place driver but only 61 points behind the 10th-place driver.

Once he’s in the playoffs, Bowyer will need to advance through three, three-race rounds that whittle the field from 16 drivers to four. It’s a tall task, but the No. 14 team has shown speed in 2019, posting five top-five finishes. Only six drivers have more top-fives than Bowyer.

This weekend, the Cup Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, where Bowyer has enjoyed a great deal of success on the “Magic Mile.” He won the New Hampshire fall races in 2007 and 2010 and has posted four top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 25 starts. One of his two career poles came at New Hampshire on Sept. 16, 2007.

He arrives at New Hampshire after finishing sixth at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta Saturday night. Bowyer started seventh and was forced to take the wave-around early in the race to return to the lead lap. But he rallied thanks to good driving and great race strategy, finishing fifth in Stage 2. He led the first 40 laps of the final stage before finishing sixth.

Bowyer knows success in Loudon this weekend is key to securing one of the playoff positions.

“We dug ourselves a hole in June and we are trying to climb out of it,” he said. “We aren’t a 16th-place team. I know we are better than that. I believe we’ll be in the playoffs, but we want to be on a roll when they start. We want that momentum going in. A win this weekend in Loudon makes this summer a lot more fun.”

At Loudon this weekend, Bowyer will carry the colors of Toco Warranty, whose Toco All-Star Sweepstakes offers fans a chance to get to Homestead. One lucky winner and guest will attend the season finales of the World of Outlaws World Finals Nov. 8 to 9 at The Dirt Track near Charlotte, North Carolina, as guests of Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) before jetting off to South Florida to see the NASCAR season finale Nov. 16 and 17 in Homestead with Bowyer and SHR. 
To register, fans simply need to go to www.TocoWarranty.com. A winner will be drawn by 5 p.m. EDT on Sept. 16.

Toco Warranty partnered with SHR and TSR earlier this year. The provider of pay-as-you-go vehicle repair coverage is a primary partner of Bowyer and the No. 14 team of SHR and the co-primary partner of Donny Schatz and TSR’s No. 15 Winged Sprint car. Toco Warranty is also an associate sponsor of Tony Stewart, who is competing in more than 90 Winged Sprint car races this year.

“We’re all sweating getting to Homestead, but Toco Warranty is making it super easy for a fan to join us,” Bowyer said. “Homestead is a great race and you’ll watch the championship battle. Plus, it’s hard to beat South Florida in November.”

Consumers demand affordable monthly payments and Toco Warranty offers an easy online experience via its website, www.TocoWarranty.com. It is where customers can purchase and review their vehicle service contract, manage online payments and access dedicated customer concierge services.

Clint Bowyer, Driver of the No. 14 Toco Warranty/Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

What are your thoughts about New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
“I love New Hampshire. That place just fits my driving style. We don’t get up to that part of the country a lot, so it’s good to see the race fans there. They have so many tracks and they love their racing, from Modified to Late Models to our stuff. The support races they put on at New Hampshire are some of the best of the year. Man, do they like to party there.”

What is the most important thing to get right at New Hampshire?
“It’s the middle of the corner. If you want to win, you have to roll the middle of the corner and that’s so tricky. About the time you get that thing rolling really well, you are too loose in or too loose off. There’s no perfect balance there and you have to be able to find a happy medium. You have to roll the middle without getting out of the gas on exit.”