2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Camping World RV Sales 301
Sunday, July 14, 2013, 1:15 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Loudon, New Hampshire
1.06 mile oval – 2/7 degree banking turns, 1 straightaway (301 laps)
Defending Champion: Kasey Kahne
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
With only 8 races left before the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup, Drivers are trying to solidify their position or just trying to get into the Chase. NASCAR comes to New Hampshire for the first of two races this season. While New Hampshire isn’t as short or chaotic as Bristol or Martinsville, the track is one of the few mile long ovals on the Sprint Cup schedule.
Defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski won the pole at New Hampshire Friday. Current points leader Jimmie Johnson qualified second but his car failed inspection after qualification and he will start from the back of the field. Morgan Shepherd, 71, will make history by becoming the oldest driver to start a Sprint Cup race and he will start 42nd. Here is the starting grid.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the contenders with odds courtesy of bookmaker.
Denny Hamlin (6/1)
Hamlin missed 4 races earlier in the season after a compression fraction in his vertebrae. He will likely miss the Chase as he is in 26th place currently, right behind Danica Patrick Only the top 10 drivers and two wildcards will make the chase. Hamlin has no wins, but does have 3 top 5’s and another top 10 in 14 starts. He has 3 poles this season. Hamlin has finished 23rd or worse in four straight races to basically eliminate him from Chase contention. He would need at least 2 wins and some help to grab one of the two wildcards. He finished 36th at Daytona last week.
Hamlin has done well at New Hampshire though. In 14 starts he has 2 wins, 5 top 5’s and 10 top 10’s. He won the September race at Louden last season after he was the runner up in July. He came in 29th in the fall race in 2011, but has never finished lower than 15th at any other New Hampshire race. Hamlin will start 8th Sunday. This could be the race that gets him back on track but it is hard to pick him given his recent struggles.
Jimmie Johnson (8/1)
Johnson leads the Chase standings, by 49 points over Clint Bowyer. Johnson would currently be the #1 seed in the Chase with 4 wins, tied for the most this season with Matt Kenseth. Two of Johnson’s 4 wins came at Daytona including last week in the Coke Zero 400 and in the Daytona 500. He also has wins at Martinsville and Pocono. Johnson also has 8 top 5’s and 12 top 10’s in 18 starts. Aside from a season worst 28th place finish at Michigan, Johnson has top tens in four of his last 5 races, and in three straight races.
Like Hamlin, Johnson has enjoyed success at NHMS. In 22 starts at the track, Johnson has 15 top 10’s, 8 top 5’s, and 3 wins. He hasn’t won here since 2010, but has top 7 finishes in 3 of the past 5 races at the track, including both races last year. He was the runner up to Hamlin in the September race. Coming from the back of the field on a short track will be challenging, but if anyone can do it, it is Johnson.
Kyle Busch (8/1)
The younger Busch brother missed the Chase last year, but appears in good shape to make it this year. He is currently in 7th place in the Chase standings with 2 wins (Texas and California), 8 top 5’s and 10 top 10’s in 18 starts. He came in 12th at Daytona last week, and has 4 sixth or better finishes in his last 6 starts.
Busch has one win in 2006 at New Hampshire, along with 4 top 5’s and 6 top 10’s in 16 starts. He finished 16th and 28th in the two races last year at New Hampshire. Busch will start 5th Sunday. He could be in line for his second giant live lobster (given to the winner of each race at Louden.) He should at the very least be in contention at the end barring an accident or engine trouble.
Jeff Gordon (8/1)
Gordon is currently in 14th place in the standings and is in danger of missing the Chase. He has no wins, but does have 4 top 5’s and 6 top 10’s. Gordon has been wildly inconsistent this season. It seems like Gordon finishes either in the top 15 or near the bottom. He has 5 finishes of 34th or worse this season, including last week at Daytona. He came in 34th in the Coke Zero 400 after two straight top 10’s in the previous two races.
In 36 career starts at Loudon, Gordon has 21 top 10’s, 16 top 5’s and 3 wins. Howwever, Gordon hasn’t won in New Hampshire since 1998. Since 2005, Gordon has never finished lower than 15th at the track with 9 sixth or better finishes. He came in sixth and third in the two New Hampshire races last year. Gordon will start sixth Sunday. Gordon could be in line for a another top 10 if he can avoid the engine problems and accidents that have plagued the 24 team all season.
Clint Bowyer (10/1)
Bowyer is in second place currently in the standings but with no wins so far, his seeding will drop for the chase. Bowyer has 11 top 10’s and 7 top 5’s. Bowyer has 4 straight top 7 finishes including a 4th at Daytona last week.
In 14 career starts at New Hampshire, Bowyer has 2 wins in 2007 and 2010, 4 top 5’s and 6 top 10’s. He grabbed a third and a fourth in the two races last year at NHMS. He will start 21st Sunday. Though Bowyer has a very good shot of making the Chase, he would love to grab his first win of the season to improve his seeding. I don’t know if it will happen but he should be in contention again.
Kasey Kahne (10/1)
Kahne currently holds the second wild card spot for the Chase with a win at Bristol, 5 top 5’s and 7 top 10’s. He came in 32nd at Daytona last week.
Kahne won this race year, his first win at the track in 18 starts. He also has 3 top 5’s and 8 top 10’s. He came in fifth in the fall race last year. Kahne will start ninth Sunday. Kahne could be inline for another top 10.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (10/1)
Earnhardt is fifth in the standings but like Bowyer doesn’t have a win. He does have 10 top 10’s and 4 top 5’s. He came in 8th at Daytona last week.
In 27 New Hampshire starts, Earnhardt, doesn’t have a win, but does have 11 top 10’s and 7 top 5’s. He grabbed a fourth and a 13th last season at Loudon. He will start 4th Sunday.
Matt Kenseth (10/1)
Despite having four wins this season at Las Vegas, Kansas, Darlington, and Kentucky, Kenseth is only sixth in the standings. He has 5 other top 10 finishes. Four 33rd or worse finishes have lowered his standing, including 2 at Daytona.
In 26 Loudon starts, Kenseth has no wins, 5 top 5’s and 12 top 10’s. He came in 13th and 14th in the two races last year at New ahmpshire. He will start 13th Sunday.
Kurt Busch (10/1)
The elder Busch is in ninth place in the standings. He doesn’t have a win yet, but does have 8 top 10’s and 4 top 5’s. He finished sixth last week at Daytona. It was his third straight sixth or better finish.
In 24 NHMS starts, Busch has 3 wins, 7 top 5’s and 11 top 10’s. His last win here came in 2008. Busch has 3 straight 22nd or worse finishes at New Hampshire, including a 24th and 25th place last year. He qualified third but moves up to the front row after Jimmie Johnson failed inspection. Busch is my pick to win Sunday.
Brad Keselowski (10/1)
Keselowski is currently 13th in the Chase standings and would miss out right now. He doesn’t have a win yet, and had 8 top 10’s and 5 top 5’s. He has three straight 21st or worst finishes, including a 21st at Daytona last week.
In 7 career New Hampshire starts Keselowski has 4 top 10’s and 2 top 5’s. He had a fifth and a sixth last year in Loudon. Keselowski won the pole for this race. He needs at least one win in the 8 upcoming races to get into the Chase.
Other contenders and their odds include Tony Stewart (15/1), Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards (both 18/1), Martin Truex, Jr., Brian Vickers, and the field (all 30/1), Joey Logano and Jamie McMurray (both 40/1), Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, and ryan Newman (all 45/1).
It should be an exciting race as the drivers race for the chase in New England.
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