Monday, July 11, 2011

New Hampshire Storylines: Lenox Industrial Tools 301

Logano captured his only career Cup win at Loudon in 2009 
New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 this Sunday afternoon offers an opportunity to both dig into the past and glimpse into the future.

On the “past” storyline, the series reached its halfway point – 18 down, 18 to go. Further outlined below, the numbers are record-breaking and speak to the unpredictable nature of every race weekend.

To the future, New Hampshire is the only track that holds races in both the Race to the Chase and the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. This Sunday is a key race for note gathering throughout the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage.

NASCAR Nationwide Series action returns on Saturday afternoon, in the New England 200, and a major milestone could hit the one-mile track – Kyle Busch’s 100th NASCAR national series victory.

For the third consecutive season, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series runs at Iowa Speedway, site of Austin Dillon’s first career win, last year. Could another first-timer visit Victory Lane in the Coca-Cola 200 Presented by Hy-Vee?

Storylines for all three series follow…


Busch Grabs Points Lead; Closes In On Triple Digits
Kyle Busch: NASCAR's Michael Jordan?
After last Thursday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Brendan Gaughan likened that night’s winner -- Kyle Busch – to Michael Jordan.

It’s an apt comparison. Busch wins a ton, so did Jordan. Over the weekend, Busch captured NASCAR national series victory Nos. 98 and 99. His next will make him the third driver – following Richard Petty and David Pearson – to reach triple-digit win figures.

Busch is on top, much like Jordan was. Busch nabbed the points lead again, becoming the third different driver in the last three races to own the top spot. Busch has been the points leader three times this season.

But Jordan won six championships. Busch has yet to capture one in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but each year, his performances make him the prime candidate to dethrone five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson.

Series Hits Halfway Point
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing has produced some robust – and in a couple cases record-breaking – numbers over the first 18 races.

A sampling at the exact midpoint of the season…

- An average of 14 different leaders per race, most through 18 races in history.
- An average of 31 lead changes per race, most through 18 races in history
- 12 different winners. Last time there were more through 18 races was 2003.
- 44 different drivers have led at least one lap
- 12 different Coors Light Pole winners, which matches the all-time high through 18 races.
- Nine races were decided by a margin of victory under one second

Wild Card Race Tightens
Six different drivers have won the last six races at New Hampshire, a statistical nugget that could play large in the Chase Wild Card picture.

After race No. 26 at Richmond, the top-10 drivers in points will earn berths into the 12-driver Chase. Spots 11 and 12 will go to those drivers with the most wins, provided they are in the top 20. Ties go to the driver with the best points position.

Currently, David Ragan would hold the first Wild Card spot, thanks to his win at Daytona. Tony Stewart, who sits in 11th, would grab Wild Card spot No. 2, even though he is winless.

But watch for Brad Keselowski, who is closing fast on a top 20 spot. His seventh-place finish at Kentucky moved him within three points of the top 20. Keselowski won the pole last September at New Hampshire.

Roush Fenway Provide Some Sox Appeal
Edwards searching for first Loudon win. (Getty)
Michigan International Speedway is often called Roush Country. If that’s the case, then New Hampshire is Henry Country – as in John Henry, co-owner of Roush-Fenway Racing and owner of the Boston Red Sox.

That makes this a home race of sorts for the team comprising of four championship contenders: Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan.

Roush-Fenway has seven wins at New Hampshire, one shy of Hendrick Motorsports for most at the track.

Gordon Still Aiming For Mega-Milestone Victory
Jeff Gordon’s next win will be his 85th, which will place him alone in third on the all-time wins list behind Richard Petty and David Pearson.

Three of those came at New Hampshire, which puts him one behind Jeff Burton for most on the New Hampshire wins list. Gordon finished in the top 10 in each of last year’s New Hampshire races, and in three of the last four races at NHMS.

- NASCAR Media Services

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