CJ got back to his winning ways with Chase Elliott’s triumph in last Sunday’s Quaker State 400 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. He had 3 of his 7 drivers finish in the top 4 including 4 of them in the top 10 at that giving him an Atlanta sweep and his 1st overall victory since Race 11. Eric had 3 of the top 8 himself and 4 of the top 11 as he and CJ combined to score 6 of the top 8 finishing spots last week.
Greg had 5th placed Ryan Blaney and 10th Kevin Harvick but the rest of his 5 drivers were 15th or worse.
Now, we head to Loudon for Sunday’s Ambetter 301 (3 p.m. ET, USA, PRN).
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Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing are each backing their ways into Sunday’s race in New Hampshire but in saying that, this could be the race that the doctor ordered for each too.
Loudon has been a great place for Stewart-Haas Racing in recent years with them winning their 1st race of the season in 2 of the last 3 years here. They could badly use a win with only Chase Briscoe (Phoenix) having reached victory lane for them in 2022 and the other 3 drivers in their camp sitting below the playoff cutline.
JGR is also a bit behind again. They have 2 drivers to have won a race this season but the other 2 are also squarely on the playoff bubble. The first two drivers out and behind them in points? The drivers to win 2 of the last 3 Loudon races (Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola).
Almirola holds 18th place in points and beat 16th place in points Christopher Bell last year. Truex Jr. is 15th and badly needing a win himself. 14th in the playoff standings is Ryan Blaney who also is searching for his first victory of the year himself.
The favorites entering this race don’t typically win. 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 even.
So, the door is wide open this week which helps boost our profits.
Plus, while Chase Elliott is on a hot streak lately, this isn’t necessarily a good spot for he or his HMS teammates. The last Hendrick 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. Elliott has 1 top five in 8 starts 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 while Alex Bowman has 1 top 10 (9th last year) in the same four starts as Byron.
Ambetter 301 key stats
• Starting position hasn’t matter 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 (Aric Almiorla was 22nd last year).
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· 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.
· 12 of the last 14 Loudon races were won by a Cup champion. Denny Hamlin and Aric Almiorla are the lone exception.
1 TEAM GDP – 3,800 points (5 wins)
R Blaney… 660 (1 win)
A Bowman… 565 (1 win)
C Bell… 445
C Briscoe… 390 (1 win)
T Reddick…375 (1 win)
Waived/Traded Drivers… (875; 1 win)
2 TEAM ERIC – 3,725 points (8 wins)
R Chastain… 645 (2 wins)
D Hamlin… 615 (2 wins)
J Logano… 570 (2 wins)
D Suarez… 460 (1 win)
A Almirola… 445
Kurt B…265 (1 win)
Waived/Traded Drivers… (275)
3 TEAM CJ – 3,650 points (7 wins)
C Elliott… 765 (3 wins)
Kyle B… 720(1 win)
A Cindric… 640 (1 win)
M Truex Jr… 455
W Byron… 430(2 wins)
A Dillon… 390
E Jones… 195
Waived Drivers… (55)
5/27 (After Race 18/Nashville)
Team GDP waives R Stenhouse Jr. (105 points) for M McDowell.
5/16 (After Race 13/Kansas)
Team GDP waives J Haley (0 points) for R Stenhouse Jr.
5/9 (After Race 12/Darlington)
Team GDP waives B Keselowski (210 points) for J Haley.
4/25 (After Race 10/Talladega)
Team CJ waives H Burton (55 points) for E Jones.
3/15 (After Race 4/Phoenix)
Team GDP waives D Wallace (200 points) for C Bell.
3/14(After Race 4/Phoenix)
Team ERIC waives C Bell (35 points) for R Chastain.
3/2(After Race 2/Fontana)
Team GDP waives C Buescher (30 points) for C Briscoe.
3/29 (After Race 6/Texas Road) Team GDP Acquired K Harvick (120 points) and T Reddick (120 points) from Team ERIC forK Larson (170 points, 1 win) and Kurt B (160 points).
Weekly Race Points Standings
Week 20 Atlanta
1 CJ 215
2 ERIC 155
3 GDP 105
Driver Standings (Top 10)
1 C Elliott… 765 (CJ)
2 Kyle B… 720 (CJ)
3 R Blaney… 660 (GDP)
4 R Chastain… 645 (ERIC)
5 A Cindric… 640 (CJ)
6 K Larson… 620 (ERIC)
7 D Hamlin… 615 (ERIC)
8 J Logano… 570 (ERIC)
9 A Bowman… 565 (GDP)10K Harvick… 560 (GDP)