Saturday, July 16, 2016

Final 2016 New Hampshire 301 Driver Ratings

Is Kyle Busch due to win this week? He looks real fast.
LAS VEGAS -- Joe Gibbs Racing swept the 2015 season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and following Saturday's final practices they look dialed in the most to win Sunday's New Hampshire 301.

Their domination started Friday when Martin Truex Jr., using JGR equipment, had the fastest lap and three other JGR drivers finished in the top-five. On Saturday, Carl Edwards was fastest followed by Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth in the top-three. During happy hour, four of the top-eight fastest speeds were JGR drivers. They're fast on the short runs and also on the the long runs -- Edwards had best 10-consecutive lap average in the first and second practices and was second-best during happy hour.

Mix in what JGR has done in the past -- winning four of the past seven at NHMS -- as well as what they did on the similar tracks of Phoenix and Richmond this season and it's easy to see why the four teammates top the rating chart. Kyle Busch and Edwards were two of the three drivers to finish in the top-five at both Phoenix and Richmond (Kevin Harvick is the other).

Harvick had the best 10-consecutive lap average during happy hour and is looking for his first win since Phoenix in March. Last fall at NHMS he led 216 of the 300 laps but ran out of fuel with three laps to go and finished 21st, a lap down. He had finished third in his previous two starts and won in 2006, the same year he swept Phoenix and also won at Richmond. He is still the top candidate to win for Chevrolet who is currently on a seven race winless streak at NHMS.

Read More Here......on

Micah Roberts' Sprint Cup Driver Ratings
New Hampshire 301
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sunday, July 17, 2016 - 10:46 am PT

 1. Kyle Busch 5/1                     3rd                 2nd                7th                5th
Two-time winner, including last July. Second-best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 2.
 2. Carl Edwards 8/1                 2nd                13th                1st                8th
No wins in 23 starts (13.2 avg.), but had best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 1 and 2.
 3. Matt Kenseth 8/1                10th                18th                3rd                3rd
Two-time winner, including last fall. Seventh at both similar tracks of Phoenix and Richmond.
 4. Denny Hamlin 8/1                 5th                  5th                2nd               2nd 
Two-time winner (2007, 2012) with series-best 10.2 average finish; runner-up last fall.
 5. Kevin Harvick 5/1                 21st                8th                 4th                4th 
2006 winner, third in two of past three starts. Best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 3.
 6. Brad Keselowski 6/1            11th                 9th                 8th                6th
2014 winner, runner-up last July and 2011 with 10.4 average finish. Goes for third straight win.
 7. Martin Truex Jr. 15/1            1st                  3rd               11th               13th 
No wins in 20 starts, but using awesome JGR equipment in 2016 makes him automatic contender.
 8. Kurt Busch 20/1                   4th                  4th                 9th               15th 
Three-time winner, none since 2008. His last top-five was in 2010. Top-10s at Phoenix, Richmond.
 9. Jimmie Johnson 8/1             15th                 1st                14th                7th
Three-time winner, the last in 2010. Winless in 13 races since winning at Fontana in week 5.
10. Joey Logano 8/1                 16th                 6th                 12th              18th 
Site of his first career win 2009; also won in 2014 and then was fourth and third last year.

Note: Best handicapping strategy to begin with is review results from earlier races run at Phoenix and Richmond because both require similar set-ups to New Hampshire's flat 1-mile layout. Drivers that are good at one are usually just as good on the other.

Odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Micah Roberts, a former sports book director, has been been setting NASCAR lines in Las Vegas since 1995. Follow on Twitter @MicahRoberts7

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