Category Archives: NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR National News & Notes – New Hampshire Motor Speedway

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

The Place: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, August 2

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 2:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 318.46 miles (301 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 75),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 185), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 301)

2019 Race Winner: Kevin Harvick

NASCAR Cup Series

Hamlin & Harvick: The class of the field in 2020; heads to New Hampshire

Despite having 10 different NASCAR Cup Series winners in 19 races this season, the dominance of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin (five victories) and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick (four wins) combining to win nine of the 19 events – a winning percentage of 47.3% – can’t be understated.

What is even more interesting is these two winning juggernauts, Hamlin and Harvick, went head-to-head in a stellar battle to the finish in last season’s NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It was Harvick’s first win of the 2019 season and his fourth career win at the famous short track (2006, 2016, 2018, 2019).  This season, Harvick heads to New Hampshire with a bit more early-season success. The Californian currently leads the series standings and has posted four wins (Darlington, Atlanta, Pocono, Indianapolis), 12 top fives, 16 top 10s and a notable average finish of 6.5 this season.

Even though Hamlin finished runner-up last season to Harvick at New Hampshire, he is currently riding a wave of momentum coming off his series-leading fifth victory of 2020 (Daytona 500, Darlington, Homestead-Miami, Pocono, Kansas). The Virginian is currently fourth in the driver standings but leads the series in Playoff points with 28. Hamlin also has accumulated 10 top fives, 11 top 10s and an average finish of 10.3 through 19 races this season.

Looking at the stats for this weekend’s Foxwoods Resorts Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, August 2, at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, expect to see the dynamic duo of Harvick and Hamlin battling it out upfront again.

Harvick leads all active drivers in wins at New Hampshire with four, Hamlin is right behind him with three. Hamlin leads the series in runner-up finishes at New Hampshire with five second-place results; including last year. Harvick is tied with Matt Kenseth for series-most top fives among active drivers with 12 each; Hamlin is right behind them with 10.

And while Hamlin leads the series in average finish at New Hampshire with a 9.8; Harvick is not far behind with a 12.8. Harvick has led the second-most laps among active drivers at New Hampshire with 759; Hamlin has led the fourth-most at 662.

Even the pre-race loop data points to Hamlin and Harvick as the favorites this weekend. Hamlin leads the series in average running position (10.6) and driver rating (103.6) and Harvick is right there with him in second in average running position (10.8) and fourth in driver rating (98.5).

Bowyer, DiBenedetto, Byron on Playoff bubble at New Hampshire

As the NASCAR Cup Series prepares for the 20th event of the 2020 season, time is running out for drivers to solidify their positions in the Playoffs. With 10 drivers already locked in on wins – Denny Hamlin (five wins), Kevin Harvick (four wins), Brad Keselowski (two), Joey Logano (two), Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon, and Cole Custer (each have one win) – there are still six spots up for grabs as the series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

As we head to the Magic Mile on Sunday, Aric Almirola (+134 points up), defending series champion Kyle Busch (+120) and his brother Kurt Busch (+119) all have comfortable point leads over 17th place Tyler Reddick – in the first spot outside the Playoff cutoff. But the drivers right below them in the standings – Clint Bowyer (+42) in 14th, Matt DiBenedetto (+35) in 15th, and William Byron (+10) in the 16th and final transfer spot are all feeling the pressure of clinging to their postseason contention chances by such small point margins.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer, who jumped up one position after last week at Kansas and is now sitting in 14th in the Playoff outlook is 42 points up on the postseason cutline. This season, Bowyer has amassed two top fives and five top 10s. He finished 14th at Kansas Speedway last weekend and finished 20th last season at New Hampshire. In 26 series starts at New Hampshire, he has posted two wins (including his NCS career-first victory), four top fives and nine top 10s.

Wood Brothers Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto is next in the driver standings and is having a career year, currently 15th in the Playoff outlook with just a 35-point cushion up on 17th place Reddick – the first spot outside the Playoff cutoff. This season DiBenedetto has collected two top fives and five top 10s in 19 starts. DiBenedetto has recorded one top five and one top 10 in eight starts at New Hampshire. Last season, he finished fifth for Leavine Family Racing, one of his best career finishes to date.

Hendrick Motorsport’s driver William Byron is sitting in 16th – the final Playoff transfer spot – just 10 points up on Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick in 17th. Byron will be making his third Cup Series start at New Hampshire on Sunday. Last season he posted his career-best New Hampshire finish (12th) in this event.

RankDriverPointsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff PtsPts from Cutoff
11Aric Almirola576022134
12Kyle Busch562011120
13Kurt Busch561011119
14Clint Bowyer48402242
15Matt DiBenedetto47700035
16William Byron45202210
17Tyler Reddick #442011-10
18Erik Jones440000-12
19Jimmie Johnson434011-18
20Bubba Wallace352000-100
21Chris Buescher345000-107
22Michael McDowell341000-111
23Christopher Bell #339000-113
24John Hunter Nemechek #325000-127
25Ricky Stenhouse Jr.322011-130
26Ryan Newman309000-143
27Ty Dillon277000-175
28Matt Kenseth273000-179
29Corey LaJoie259000-193
30Daniel Suarez203000-249

Of the five drivers outside the Playoffs but within 100 points of the cutoff, Johnson has the best average finish (11.8) at New Hampshire ,followed by Erik Jones (16.0).

Keeping tabs on the Sunoco Rookie Class

With the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series regular season in full swing, let’s take a look at the current Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year 
RookiesPointsAwards
Tyler Reddick4428
Cole Custer3525
Christopher Bell3393
John H. Nemechek3253
Brennan Poole1360
Quin Houff1010

Tyler Reddick is leading the rookies currently with 442 points and eight Sunoco Rookie of the Race awards to his name. Reddick’s best finish of the season came at Texas, where he crossed the line runner-up to his Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon. He is also ranked 17th in the series Playoff outlook and is only 10 points behind William Byron in the final Playoff transfer spot. In 19 starts this season Reddick has posted two top fives and six top 10s. 

Cole Custer is in second in the rookie standings with 352 points and five Sunoco Rookie of the Race awards. Custer became the first rookie to win in the NASCAR Cup Series (Kentucky Speedway) since Chris Buescher accomplished the feat in 2016 at Pocono. Custer is locked into the Playoffs with his win – the only rookie locked in so far. In addition to his win, Custer has also put up two top fives and four top 10s this season.

Christopher Bell is in third in the rookie standings with 339 points and three Sunoco Rookie of the Race awards. In 19 starts this season he is 23rd in the driver standings after posting one top five and five top 10s.  

John Hunter Nemechek is in fourth in the rookie standings with 325 points and three Sunoco Rookie of the Race awards. In 19 starts this season, he has posted two top 10s.

Brennan Poole is sitting in fifth in the rookie standings with 136 points. In 19 starts this season, Pool has put up an average finish of 30.1; with a best finish of 16th at Daytona.

Quin Houff is in sixth in the rookie standings with 101 points. In 19 starts this season he posted an average finish of 32.1; with a best finish of 23rd at Indianapolis.

Five of the six rookies in the 2020 class will be making their series track debut this weekend at New Hampshire. Houff is the lone rookie that has a previous start at the northeastern short track – he made his series debut in 2019, starting 34th and finishing 31st.

NASCAR is producing top notch competition

Despite the changes to schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plus the lack of practice and qualifying, the NASCAR Cup Series competition is putting up some solid passing stats this season.

Since 2007 through 19 races of a season – the 2020 season ranks first in total green flag passes and second in green flag passes to the lead.

In a year-over-year comparison (2019 vs. 2020) we are up 32.7% in green flag passes and up 24.1% in green flag passes for the lead through 19 races

New Hampshire Motor Speedway Puts Fans First with New Safety Protocols at Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

From mobile ticketing and cashless payments for souvenirs and concessions to updated cooler policies and socially distanced seating, “The Magic Mile” will roll out several new procedures to safely welcome fans to New England’s first fan-attended live sporting event since the onset of the pandemic.

LOUDON, N.H. – As New England’s first live major league sports event with spectators since the onset of the pandemic, Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will mark the most anticipated event of the 30th anniversary season at “The Magic Mile.” Speedway officials and staff have been hard at work refining procedures and protocols to ensure the best fan experience at the NASCAR Cup Series race while meeting and exceeding recommended health and safety guidelines set forth by local, state and federal officials.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to provide sports fans, families and friends a memory making experience. It’s the chance for people to enjoy the type of entertainment they haven’t enjoyed in months,” said David McGrath, New Hampshire Motor Speedway executive vice president and general manager. “Hosting the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 is also a responsibility we take very seriously. It’s our job to not only host a marquee NASCAR Cup Series race, but also to provide a safe and fun environment.”

Fans may notice a few changes to the usual procedures on race day, but should be assured that these common-sense measures have been put in place for the health and safety of the fans, drivers, teams, staff and greater community.

Among other new practices, fans can expect to see the following:

Ticketing

  • All ticketing, from purchase to scanning, will be conducted digitally to eliminate contact points
  • Seating is assigned at the time of purchase to ensure adequate social distancing
  • No will-call or in-person ticket pickup will be available (all ticketing will be conducted digitally)
  • Guest Services personnel will be available to help answer questions and provide guidance

Transportation

  • Golf cart shuttles will be reserved for guests with limited mobility
  • Free parking will be available in the S1, S2, S3 and S9 lots on race day

Face Coverings

  • Guests are required to put on masks or other appropriate face coverings, which cover the nose and mouth, once they enter the property
  • Face coverings, which cover the nose and mouth, are required in common areas such as gate entries, restrooms, concessions, souvenir stands, elevators, concourses and suite-level hallways
  • Masks may be removed once guests are socially distanced in their assigned grandstand seats

Wellness

  • If a guest purchases a ticket and then becomes ill, a refund will be issued
  • All fans, NHMS personnel and NASCAR team members will be temperature screened on event day. NHMS and NASCAR team personnel will wear masks at all times and gloves, as needed
  • Whether on grounds or off, NHMS encourages all residents and guests to observe the practices of social distancing, frequent hand washing, wearing a face covering in all public spaces and using hand sanitizer

Social Distancing

  • Guests are asked to socially distance at all times while on grounds (floor markings at concourse, concession and souvenir stands and directional traffic flow signage will be provided)
  • NHMS’s Ticket Office will stagger seating throughout the stands to provide for a minimum of six feet of distance between groups
  • Suites will operate at a reduced capacity, in line with guidance from health officials

Cleanliness

  • Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the grounds
  • Prior to gates opening and throughout the event, NHMS will follow enhanced cleaning procedures, especially in high-touch surface areas such as handrails and bathrooms

Concessions and Souvenirs

  • All purchases from food and souvenir stands will be electronic transactions (debit and credit cards only, no cash or checks)
  • Only clear, soft-sided bags 14”x14”x14” and smaller will be allowed in
  • No coolers or glass containers permitted

Tickets/Parking:

Tickets still remain for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. Adult tickets are available starting at $70 at https://www.nhms.com/events/foxwoods-resort-casino-301/tickets/. Tickets for kids 12 and under are just $10. Free parking will be available in the S1, S2, S3 and S9 lots on Aug. 2. There will be no trams, camping or open bath houses for this event. Further details can be found on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway website.

Follow Us:

Keep track of all of New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s events during its 30th anniversary season by following on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Keep up with all the latest news and information on the speedway website and NHMS mobile app.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway to Honor Founder Bob Bahre During Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

Bahre, who founded New Hampshire International Speedway in 1990 and was a pioneer and visionary in the New England motorsports world, passed away last week.

LOUDON, N.H. – New Hampshire Motor Speedway will honor track founder Bob Bahre during pre-race ceremonies before Sunday’s running of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, officials announced today. A pioneer in motorsports across New England, Bahre passed away last week at the age of 93.

Bahre owned and operated Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine for several decades before founding New Hampshire International Speedway (now New Hampshire Motor Speedway) in 1990. He ran NHIS until its sale to Speedway Motorsports in 2008.

In recognition of his significant influence on motorsports in New England and beyond, Bahre was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. Sunday, before the green flag falls on the 30th anniversary running of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at “The Magic Mile,” the speedway will honor Bahre with infield signage, a moment of silence and recognition before the invocation.

Pre-race festivities will also include the following dignitaries:

  • Invocation: Alec Kindred, Director & Founder of Propelling the Gospel Missions
  • National Anthem: Todd Angilly, Official Anthem Singer of the Boston Bruins
  • Grand Marshal: Jason Guyot, Interim CEO & SVP of Resort Operations at Foxwoods Resort Casino
  • Honorary Starter: Steve Wang, Special Guest of Foxwoods Resort Casino

Tickets/Parking:

Tickets still remain for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. Adult tickets are available starting at $70 at https://www.nhms.com/events/foxwoods-resort-casino-301/tickets/. Tickets for kids 12 and under are just $10. Free parking will be available in the S1, S2, S3 and S9 lots on Aug. 2. There will be no trams, camping or open bath houses for this event. Further details can be found on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway website.

Follow Us:

Keep track of all of New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s events during its 30th anniversary season by following on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Keep up with all the latest news and information on the speedway website and NHMS mobile app.