The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its next stop in the first state to declare its independence from Mother England. It was actually the first of the thirteen original colonies to sever ties with England, a full six months before the Declaration of Independence was signed.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway has been the site of a few incidents that have shaped the current rules we have in NASCAR today. For instance, NHMS was the first track where NASCAR started the field in two separate groups under the warm-up laps, helping drivers to set their pit road speeds.
[media-credit name=”nhis.com” align=”alignright” width=”250″][/media-credit]An incident occurred at the track during the September 2003 race that would eventually end racing back to the caution flag. The rule implemented following an incident involving Dale Jarrett is the “free pass” or more commonly referred to as “the lucky dog” rule.
Finally, following two fatal accidents at the track in 2000, New Hampshire Motor Speedway became the only track in recent history (outside of Daytona and Talladega) to run restrictor plates on Sprint Cup cars. Jeff Burton won the race in the first race to go wire-to-wire without a lead change, as a product of the plates.
Just kidding… I know everyone has heard by now about the issues at Kentucky so I will stick to the on track action.
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! I put all my eggs for last weekend in one basket and came out on top. Kyle Busch was my winner pick for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.
After starting dead last in both the truck series and Nationwide series races, he finally got the best starting spot on Saturday Night via his top practice speed on Friday. Had qualifying taken place Friday Afternoon, I do not think any other driver would take the top starting spot for the Quaker State 400 as the #18 car was on a rail around Kentucky Speedway all weekend.
It really was a treat to watch Kyle wheel his way through the field Thursday Night to win the UNOH 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. He did it again Friday Night in the Nationwide Series, coming from dead last to finish third in the Feed The Children 300. As for Saturday Night’s Quaker State 400, Kyle would start from the pole and lead a race-high 125 laps en route to Gatorade Victory Lane.
Kyle Busch etched his name in Kentucky Speedway’s history book as the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race winner, and also took over the points lead from Kevin Harvick with his three wins this season. This netted me not one, but two wins for winner picks, and also a top 5 for a winner pick in the Nationwide Series. It was a great points weekend at Kentucky Speedway for not only KB, but for myself as well.
My Dark Horse pick last weekend – Joey Logano – nothing to speak of in 14th place.
New Hampshire Picks
For my Dark Horse this week, I’m going with a guy from my neck of the woods in Central New York. Reagan Smith picked up his first and only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win earlier this year at Darlington. Since then, the Furniture Row Racing driver has been out to prove his worthiness in the Sprint Cup Series. He has run fairly consistent this year, finishing in the top 10, three times this season including his win in the Showtime Southern 500. He was seventh fastest in practice today so, look for him to lay down a quick qualifying lap and start towards the front on Sunday Afternoon.
Tony Stewart is my winner pick this week for his history at New Hampshire. He won the very last Indy Racing League event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 1998, which returns to the track next month after a twelve year hiatus. Stewart has also visited Gatorade Victory Lane at Loudon in a Sprint Cup car twice. He has an outstanding average finishing spot of 12.4 at New Hampshire, directly on par for his average career finish. Smoke was second fast in practice earlier today, and is due for a win for his Stewart-Haas racing team. Look for the 14 car to take the checkered flag on Sunday.
This is all I have for this week, stay tuned next week for a full Matty’s Picks stats update!
Until next time….You stay classy NASCAR NATION!