Following a long delay to repair big holes and remove chunks of asphalt from the Atlanta Motor Speedway track, Kurt Busch secured his first win of the season. It was a huge win for Busch, who was teetering down near the cut line for the playoffs, but with the Busch brothers now both firmly in the postseason, we turn our attention to the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.
The lone stop at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the 22nd race of the year and there are only five races left in the regular season before the playoffs begin on September 5. That means we’ve got some desperate drivers and some good angles to talk about for this week’s race in Loudon.
DraftKings Sportsbook has odds up early in the week and we’ll use those to see which drivers are good bets to win.
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Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Betting Odds
Denny Hamlin is the +475 favorite here, even though this season’s points leader still doesn’t have a win. Hamlin is slightly ahead of Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson, who are +500 and +550, respectively.
We’re back to normal races, at least for the time being, so we see six drivers priced in single digits, with Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch at +650 and then Chase Elliott at +800. Joey Logano is +1000 and then we have a big jump to William Byron and Kevin Harvick at +1500.
Kurt Busch won at a big number last week, so it can happen.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a 1.058-mile track with a surface of asphalt and granite. This used be a twice-a-year stop for the Cup Series, but The Magic Mile lost its playoff race to Las Vegas.
This is a really flat, very standard oval, with turns that max out at just seven degrees of banking. The straightaways are barely tilted at all. For being just 301 laps and 318 miles, this race still takes upwards of three hours because we do get a lot of wrecks and cautions as guys try to find the right racing line in the flat turns.
There were 11 cautions in this race last year, the most in quite some time at this race track.
With five races left in the regular season, we have to consider the playoff implications of each race. With Kurt Busch’s win, 12 different drivers have won a race. That means that there are only four wild card spots left. Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, and Tyler Reddick have those.
Nobody is in position to climb into a higher wild card spot than Reddick. He just needs to avoid a win from somebody not currently holding down a playoff spot. With three road course races left, you never know what could happen.
Who Has Had Success Here?
Because this used to be a twice-a-year stop, we have a lot of driver data points here. Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers with four wins. Denny Hamlin, the Busches, and Ryan Newman all have three apiece. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano each have two. That’s it.
Harvick’s 13 top-five finishes are the most of any driver, but his 37 starts are tied with Kurt for the most races run at NHMS. It is more impressive that Hamlin has 11 top-five finishes in his 27 starts. His average finish of 9.6 is the highest of any active driver with at least two starts. Cole Custer was eighth here last year.
Keselowski only has 20 starts here, but the two wins, eight top-five finishes, and 13 top-10 finishes. Keselowski is actually seventh in top-10 finishes, though, trailing Harvick, Newman, Kyle, Hamlin, Kurt, and Truex. Truex has never won here in 27 tries, but averages a 12th-place finish.
Who Has Had Recent Success Here?
If we scale down to the last 10 races, Harvick has three of his four wins and has eight top-five finishes. His 370 points in that span are second in the field. Kyle Busch is third with 354 points, two wins, and four top-five finishes. It is Joey Logano who is second in top-five finishes with five. He also has a win in that span.
Harvick has averaged an eighth-place finish in the last 10 races. Logano is next at 9.1, followed by Keselowski at 9.6.
It is Truex, who doesn’t have a win, but has the highest average finish at 7.6, mostly because he’s finished on the lead lap in all 10 races. His 391 points are the most, but his four top-five finishes are half of what Harvick has.
Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Picks
Kevin Harvick’s performances here speak for themselves, but he only has six top-five finishes all season. He could get this win, but that seems unlikely with how the season has gone. We’ll look at somebody else instead.
That somebody is Martin Truex Jr. Truex does run well here overall and has wins at Martinsville, Darlington, and Phoenix this season. He’s at his best on the smaller ovals and that’s where this race is held. The 5/1 price isn’t great, but he ran third last week to get back on track and has been excellent on the short-to-intermediate tracks.
It isn’t a sexy pick, but Kyle Larson makes the card as well at +550. Larson was second at Darlington and Dover, including two stage wins and the most laps led at Dover. He was fifth at Martinsville. He won at Nashville. The last two weeks seem like aberrations for him, so we’ll take a 5/1 and a +550 this week and hope the chalk holds up.