Tag Archives: NASCAR Cup Series

Jimmie Johnson Receives Rare Colonial Musket; 5K Running Trail Named in His Honor Ahead of His Final Race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Seven-time Cup Series champion and three-time winner at “The Magic Mile,” Jimmie Johnson, will run the final Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 as full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver.

LOUDON, N.H. – New Hampshire Motor Speedway honored the career and legacy of Jimmie Johnson as he prepares for his final Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 race at “The Magic Mile” as a full-time Cup Series driver on Sunday. NHMS Executive Vice President and General Manager David McGrath presented the veteran driver with a custom-designed musket and dedicated a new 5K running trail around New Hampshire Motor Speedway named in Johnson’s honor.

“Jimmie’s impact on our sport, including his three wins here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, are truly immeasurable,” said David McGrath. “As he prepares for his final run at ‘The Magic Mile’ today, we hope these gifts serve as a sign – both to Jimmie and the many race fans who will enjoy our new 5K course for years to come – of how impactful his career has been both on and off the track.”

The commemorative musket represents the type of flintlock firearm that militiamen from all over New England carried during the siege of Boston on April 19, 1775. Handcrafted by Edwin Parry of Black Hart Long Arms out of Eastford, Conn., the musket replicates the English style of the 1770s. Made in New England of American cherry, the musket measures 41 inches in length and features a 20-gauge round barrel, engraved round-faced English lock, brass mounts and a silver commemorative plaque. The musket came with a traditional trifold hat.

In addition, speedway officials unveiled the new Jimmie Johnson 5k Way, a trail dedicated to the three-time New Hampshire Motor Speedway winner and avid runner. The route, which winds throughout the speedway’s property, is designed for walkers or joggers to use during race weekends and throughout the year. The 5k start/finish line is decorated with “48” and “JJ” in blue and yellow, a nod to Johnson’s participation in the 2019 Boston Marathon.

“I knew that coming to these tracks for a final time, there would be some great opportunities to celebrate, which I was excited about, but with what COVID has thrown at us, it’s been a wild and weird year for all of us,” Johnson said. “This is really special. When I saw what was being proposed, I smiled because of all the time I’ve spent out here training and getting ready, really enjoying this climate and this beautiful countryside. And there’s always a place in the man room for a cool musket. I have a few guns that I’ve collected from Texas Motor Speedway, and this is the first official musket I have, so I’m excited about that.”

Green flag is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, with coverage starting on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. and on Sirius XM NASCAR radio and the Performance Racing Network radio affiliates at 2 p.m.

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Keselowski Dominates the Field for Third NHMS Win Hamlin comes up just short for second year in a year.

LOUDON, N.H. – Brad Keselowski battled Mother Nature, fuel mileage and Denny Hamlin, but came out victorious against all three at the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday.

New England’s first major sporting event with fans since the start of the pandemic was briefly paused by a rain shower early in the second stage, but the delay didn’t deter excited race fans – and Keselowski didn’t disappoint, leading a race-high 184 laps and holding off Hamlin for the win.

“We’ve had a lot of great races this year with the No. 2 car and we just haven’t really gone out and dominated a race, you know?” Keselowski said. “I was talking to (crew chief) Jeremy Bullins and said that’s what we really need to get to that next level. We’re right there. We just need to go out there and dominate a race; that’s what today was for us.”

An 81-lap green flag run to the checkers ultimately helped Keselowski pull away from Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to secure the win, his second at New Hampshire, and with it a live, 18-pound Loudon the Lobster.

“That thing is heavy,” Keselowski told Foxwoods Resort Casino executives during a virtual Zoom trophy presentation after the race. “I don’t know what happened to it the last time – maybe my crew guys ate it – but I didn’t get any. I’m looking forward to getting to enjoy some of this one.”

Despite trading the lead 13 different times over the course of the race, Hamlin had to settle for the runner-up spot for the second year in a row.

“It felt like short track racing, like half-mile short track racing,” said Hamlin. “We were crossing each other over, running into each other and knocking each other up the racetrack. We were doing slide jobs in the middle of the corner. It was fun racing those guys. They were very, very deserving today, and I’m happy for them, because you hate to have a fast car and you don’t finish it off, but I felt obviously the two best cars finished one-two today, and they just got the better end of us. Overall, the racing part of it, I was just having a good time racing there on the short run and even that long run there at the end of the first stage with the Penske cars. It was fun.”

Martin Truex Jr. and New England native Joey Logano joined four-time NHMS winner Kevin Harvick to round out the top five.

Playoff hopefuls Matt DiBenedetto and rookie Tyler Reddick both helped their chances for a championship run with a strong run, finishing sixth and 10th respectively.

The race was marked by 11 cautions, the first of which took out 2019 Cup Series champion Kyle Busch just 15 laps into the race.

Up next at “The Magic Mile” is Motorcycle Week at NHMS, Aug. 22-29, and Full Throttle Fall Weekend featuring the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Musket 200 presented by Whelen, Sept. 11-12.

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.

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 
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