The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its way to the New Hampshire for the 20th annual running of the Lenox Industrials Tools 301. Start ‘N’ Park Blog is here to provide you with the inside track for the race by taking a look at historical statistics, driver’s past performance, breaking down the points, and providing random thoughts on the event and venue.
New Hampshire Stat Line:
34 races have been run
5(15%) have been won from the pole
10 (29%) have been won from a top five starting spot
18 (53%) have been won from a top ten starting spot
8 (24%) have been won from a starting spot of 21st or worse
07/11/1993 was the first race
Rusty Wallace won the first race
Tony Stewart won last time out at the track
Ryan Newman won last time out at this race
New Hampshire Driver Ratings:
Tony Stewart: 114.1 rating, 1 pole, 3 wins, 14 top fives, 16 top tens
Jeff Gordon: 109.0 rating, 3 poles, 3 wins, 15 top fives, 19 top tens
Jimmie Johnson: 104.6 rating, 3 wins, 7 top fives, 13 top tens
Denny Hamlin: 98.1 rating, 1 wins, 5 top fives, 8 top tens
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: 96.5 rating, 6 top fives, 10 top tens
Clint Bowyer: 95.1 rating, 1 pole, 2 wins, 2 top fives, 4 top tens
Ryan Newman: 95.1 rating, 6 poles, 3 wins, 6 top fives, 13 top tens
Jeff Burton: 94.1 rating, 4 wins, 8 top fives, 13 top tens
Kurt Busch: 93.3 rating, 3 wins, 7 top fives, 11 top tens
Kevin Harvick: 91.7 rating, 1 pole, 1 win, 5 top fives, 11 top tens
Top ten in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver standings are 1 – Matt Kenseth, 2 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-25), 3 – Greg Biffle (-44), 4 – Jimmie Johnson (-58), 5 – Tony Stewart (-84), 6 – Kevin Harvick (-90), 7 - Denny Hamlin (-92), 8 – Martin Truex, Jr. (-92), 9 - Brad Keselowski (-103), 10 - Clint Bowyer (-104). Kyle Busch (1 wins) and Joey Logano (1 wins) lead the wild card to get into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
New Hampshire Firsts (Active Drivers):
First career starts:
Jeff Burton – 07/11/1993
Joey Logano – 09/14/2008
Joe Nemechek – 07/11/1993
First career poles:
Patrick Carpentier – 06/29/2008
Brad Keselowski – 09/19/2010
First career wins:
Clint Bowyer – 09/16/2007
Robby Gordon – 11/23/2001
Joey Logano – 06/28/2009
Joe Nemechek – 09/19/1999
Ryan Newman – 09/15/2002
Recapping Last Week:
Tony Stewart interrupted the Roush Fenway Racing show to pick up the win under the lights at Daytona.
Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth were dominate, but couldn’t pull off the win in the end.
Crashes gave some random drivers great finishes, Jeff Burton was second, Bobby Labonte 10th, and Terry Labonte was 20th to name a few.
AJ Allmendinger was suspended hours prior to the race for failing a drug test, he was replaced by Sam Hornish, Jr. who will also replace him this weekend at New Hampshire.
Matt Kenseth continues to lead the points over Dale Earnhardt, Jr. as we inch closer to the Chase cut off.
Random Thoughts for the Lenox Industrials Tools 301:
This race and track always brings about mixed emotions for me. I can vividly remember the first race here in 1993 and the epic battle between Rusty Wallace (winner), Mark Martin, and Davey Allison. It was fantastic and was Allison’s to win until the end. Unfortunately, two days later Allison would die after injuries suffered in a helicopter crash. That day he rode before the race in a car with Ernie Irvan to wave at the fans, the now famous photo was an ominous sign of the man who’d replace Allison at Robert Yates Racing.
Flash forward seven years and New Hampshire was the site of both Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin, Jr.’s fatal accidents. The latter caused NASCAR to implement restrictor plates to counter act the stuck throttles. Jeff Burton won that race leading wire to wire, as in all 300 laps in one of the worst races ever. I don’t blame anyone for not really wanting to be there that weekend.
But it was not been all bad at NHMS, this is the site where Joe Nemechek got his first win in 1999, Robby Gordon bumped Jeff Gordon around to pull off the victory in 2001 after the race was pushed to November in the wake of September 11th. And of course my boy, Ryan Newman, got his first win in a rain shortened race in 2002. Oh and some other guy, Joey Logano or something, got his first win in a rain shortened event too.
After Daytona most everyone has to be happy to be returning to “normal” racing. I love restrictor plate racing, the action, the chess game, etc., always has drawn me in from watching to racing simulators. But when you get down to it, you’re at the mercy of your car and good luck. Case in point, Jeff Burton, he rode the outside while everyone crashed and got a 2nd place finish out of the deal. At New Hampshire, the drivers can control their destiny in car set up versus riding around and hoping to miss the “big one.”
Some qualifying notes: Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 20th Annual LENOX Industrial Tools 301 with a lap of 28.548 seconds, 133.417 mph.This is his ninth pole in 276 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.This is his first pole and 10th top-10 start in 2012. Busch’s last pole was at Watkins Glen, last August.This is his first pole in 15 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Kasey Kahne (second) posted his 15th top-10 start of 2012 and his sixth in 17 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Denny Hamlin (third) posted his fifth top-10 start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It is his 10th in 19 races this season.
Drivers to Watch at New Hampshire:
Tony Stewart – Winner last week at Daytona, 114.1 driver rating (1st best), 82.5% of the time in the top 15, 3 wins, 14 top fives, 16 top tens, average running position of 9.0 (2nd best), and 473 quality passes (3rd most).
Jimmie Johnson – Rebounding from Daytona crash, 104.6 driver rating (3rd best), 80.8% of the time in the top 15, 3 wins, 7 top five, 13 top ten, average running position of 10.3 (3rd best), and 464 quality passes (4th most)
Denny Hamlin – Injured but that didn’t stop Brad Keselowski last year. 98.1 driver rating (4th best), 71.7% of the time in the top 15, has an average finish of 9.0, 1 win, 5 top fives, 8 top tens, average running position of 11.4 (4th best), and 420 quality passes (6th most).