NASCAR Pre-Race Media: Loudon Track Trends, favorites, sleepers, fades, etc

TRACK: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1.058-oval). DISTANCE: 301 Laps — STAGE 1: 75 Laps, STAGE 2: 110 Laps, FINAL STAGE: 116 Laps, MILES (318.458 Miles)

  • Chevrolet has one win in its last 15 New Hampshire starts. Last Chevy win (2016).
  • Last Hendrick win at Loudon (2012).
  • Starting position hasn’t matter as much at New Hampshire like it has elsewhere. 6 of the last 9 New Hampshire winners have come from a starting spot outside of the top 12 in fact (Aric Almiorla was 22nd last year).
    • 3 of the last 4 winners have been 14th or worse at the start.
  • We’ve had late race battles for the win in 3 of the last 4 years.
  • 0 overtimes in the last 10 races at Loudon.
  • 9 of the last 11 races saw the driver that led the most laps fail to win in the end.
  • 6 of the last 9 drivers to lead the most laps failed to even score a top 5.
  • We’ve had 6 races run in the stage era, the eventual winner scored stage points in both stages in all 5 of the 6 races. Aric Almirola didn’t score stage points in Stage 1 last July.
  • Just 2 of the 6 races saw the eventual winner even finish in the top five in stage 1.
  • 5 of the 6 races saw the eventual winner finish in the top 5 in the 2nd stage including two wins and a second place effort.
  • This is the 5th straight year to where Loudon has hosted just 1 race.
  • 12 of the last 14 Loudon races were won by a Cup champion. Denny Hamlin and Aric Almiorla are the lone exceptions.
  • All 4 drivers who’ve made the Championship 4 from 2018, 2019 and 2020 have all finished in the top 10 in Loudon. Last year it was 2 of 4. That’s partially because Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. were collected in that opening lap crash in the rain.
  • Also, they finished 1-2 in all three of those years including taking three of the top four spots in two of the three years as well.
  • In 2020, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Chase Elliott combined to lead 285 of the 301 laps. They finished 1-2-4-9.
  • In 2019, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch combined to lead 272 of the 301 laps. They finished 1-2-6-8.
  • In 2018, Harvick, Busch, Truex Jr. and Joey Logano combined to lead 131 of 301 laps. They finished 1-2-4-9.

TRACK COMPARISONS

Flat track with long straightaways. Can pass on the inside lane but the high lane around the track isn’t ideal. Track position key here. Most similar to Martinsville, Richmond and Phoenix.

Prime Sports NASCAR preview show here


LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE – JULY 18: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light Apple Ford, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 18, 2021 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Favorites

Joe Gibbs Racing

This could be their week. They’ve finished runner-up in each of the last 4 Loudon tries and 6 times in the last 8 New Hampshire races. The 2 they didn’t finish 2nd in? They won.

Denny Hamlin has 10 straight top 15 finishes on this track including a runner-up in 2 of the last 3 years. He won in 2017. Kyle Busch has 10 top 10 finishes in his last 14 New Hampshire starts including seven of which being in the top three. He also has two wins and four runner-ups in that time frame. Martin Truex Jr. had five top 10 finishes in his first seven New Hampshire starts. Then, he had two in his next 13 tries there. But, over the last 9, he’s had seven of them results in the top 10 again including five of the last six in the top seven at that. Christopher Bell was runner-up last year.

On like tracks this season, they went 1-4-6-9 in Richmond, struggled in Martinsville but rebounded to be 2-6-9-34 in Gateway.


Sleepers

Stewart Haas-Racing

This is usually their get right race. Kevin Harvick got right in this race in 2019 after entering it winless on the year. Aric Almirola did the same a year ago for his 6th top 11 on this track since 2013. He was 3rd in 2018, 11th in 2019, 7th in 2020 and that win last year. Gateway is a close comparison to New Hampshire and Almriola was 5th there. Martinsville is another comparable track. He was 8th there.

For Harvick, he won 3 of the last 7 Loudon races including 2 of the last 4 at that. The two he didn’t win, he was 5th and 6th respectively with leading the most laps in his 6th place effort last year. At Phoenix, Richmond, Martinsville and Gateway, all similar tracks, he was 6th, 2nd, 14th and 33rd. Chase Briscoe won on in Phoenix earlier this year while Cole Custer was 8th and 14th in his 2 New Hampshire tries.

Team Penske

The speed is starting to come. Ryan Blaney has 4 straight top 11 finishes including 3 of which in the top 6. Austin Cindric has 4 straight top 7’s himself. Now, they head to a track they’ve been quietly good at.

Blaney was ninth in 2017, seventh in 2018, fourth in 2019 but 20th in 2020 despite having a decent car that day. He was fifth a year ago too. Joey Logano was fourth in each of the last 2 years for his fifth straight Loudon top 10. He also won at Gateway, a similar track, last month. Blaney was 4th in that race. Austin Cindric was 11th. For Phoenix, another like track, Blaney was 4th, Logano 8th and Cindric 24th. In Martinsville, they went 2nd (Logano), 4th (Blaney) and 11th (Cindric).

Richard Childress Racing

Tyler Reddick was 10th and 13th in his two Cup Loudon starts. In fact, RCR was 3rd with Reddick at Phoenix and 3rd Austin Dillon in Martinsville earlier this year for both races too.

Ross Chastain

He has 3 top 5’s in 5 short track races run this season to go along with 9 top 10’s over the last 12 races including 3 straight top 5’s on the season.

Kurt Busch

He was 5th in Phoenix, 6th in Martinsville and 3rd in Gateway this year.


LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE – JULY 18: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, leads Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Resers Fine Foods #LetsPicnic Toyota, and Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, to the green flag to start the NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 18, 2021 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Who To Fade?

Hendrick Motorsports

Their last win at Loudon came back in 2012. Last year, they finished 7-9-18-21. Kyle Larson does have 4 top 10’s in his last 6 tries including two runner-up’s but on short tracks in 2022 he was 34th, 5th, 19th, 6th and 12th respectively. Chase Elliott has 1 top five in 8 starts there and 1 short track top 5 all season on a track that’s not comparable at that. William Byron has no top 10’s in four tries and just 1 top 10 over the last 11 starts on the season including 3 of his last 5 being 30th or worse. Alex Bowman has 1 top 10 (9th last year) in the same four starts as Byron to go along with 1 top 5 in his last 13 starts on the season too.


Of Note

12 of the last 14 New Hampshire winners were Cup champions in the sport.


Key Stat

Just twice in the last 11 Loudon races has the driver to lead the most laps actually won the race outright.  

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s