|Matt Kenseth has won three of past seven New Hampshire races.|
So far, 10 drivers have clinched a berth as being one of the 16 qualified for the playoffs. Another driver, Joey Logano, has a win but had it away stripped because of failing a post-race inspection which makes him 17th in points -- outside and looking in. What is the best strategy for Logano here who is just 7-points outside of the 16th position?
Obviously winning is the best way to get in. Logano won his first career race at New Hampshire in 2009 and he's also got a 2014 win to his credit and has finished in the top-5 in four of his past five starts there. But he's also got to play it smart as he's essentially points racing now. It's apparent that all things are not well in Logano's camp, which is odd because his Penske teammate Brad Keselowski leads all drivers with nine top-5s this season.
Following Logano outside looking in to the playoffs is Erik Jones (426 pts), Daniel Suarez(373) and Trevor Bayne (352) to round out the top-20 in points.
The most interesting part of this eight-race Chase to the playoffs is the drivers sitting 11 through 16 that don't have wins on the season and have yet to qualify. And these are some of the biggest names in the sport with Kyle Busch (609), Chase Elliott (560), Jamie McMurray(545), Denny Hamlin (538), Clint Bowyer (495) and Matt Kenseth (478).
“The pressure cooker is certainly turning up,” said Bowyer, who has scored the second-most points of any driver in the last three Cup Series races. He's also a two-time winner at New Hampshire which gives him some source of comfort.
“Those (past NHMS) wins allow you to go into this race with more confidence than you would at a track where you haven’t won,” Bowyer said. “I feel like we can win again at New Hampshire this weekend. We really want to win, but we also want to make sure we don’t do anything that will knock us out of the points.”
Every driver wants to win, but the points racing aspect is definitely something to consider when wagering. Drivers like Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson will all be stage racing for playoff bonus points and they can also make the risky moves and calls at the end of the race to accumulate more wins.