NASCAR Sylvania 300 Predictions
(The Spread) - Race No. 2 of the Chase takes us back to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Sylvania 300.
It’s always important for drivers to get out of the gate quickly, but at the same time they also have to think points since they really only get one bad finish during the chase. The thinking has always been that you get one mulligan during the chase, so drivers are less inclined to take any big chances early on. So don't look for much excitement from the top drivers in the standings in the first few races. That said, those that came up short on gas last week might take a chance or two since they can't afford to fall behind the leaders anymore than they have.
When you think of a flat track, New Hampshire International Speedway fits the bill perfectly with only a maximum of seven degrees of banking, as little as two degrees in the turns, and just one degree in the straightaway. Many good drivers struggle on this type of track while others excel, which makes it a bit easier to narrow down the list of contenders.
Last week we had Tony Stewart as one of our top picks and we’re going right back to the well on Sunday. In July, he finished second in what was Stewart- Haas Racing’s first one-two finish. Stewart has been extremely competitive here recently, finishing second in two out of his last three New Hampshire races. In the only race he didn’t finish second, he was in the lead until he ran out of gas in the closing laps, relegating him to a 24th place finish. Tony and his team have really come on strong the last few weeks and we don't see any reason to jump off him now.
Denny Hamlin won the first COT race at New Hampshire and has never finished worse than 15th since they went to the COT car full time. Earlier this year he finished third behind Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart, who were almost untouchable that day. In the last two New Hampshire Chase races, Hamlin has finished second both times. If Hamlin wants to get in contention for the chase, a win is a must this week or his disappointing season is over.
Kurt Busch is a three-time winner at New Hampshire, and has been strong at the flat track lately. He has finished in the top 15 in seven straight starts at the track, including six top-10 finishes and five finishes of sixth or better during the stretch. Kurt Busch has let us down a few times this year, as he’s run well early but can't seem to finish as strong as he starts. That said, at this price he is worth a small play.
2011 Sylvania 300 Information
Race Date: Sunday, Sept. 25
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, NH
Pre-Race: 1:00PM ET
Green Flag: Approx. 2:14PM ET
TV Coverage: ESPN
Radio Coverage: MRN
Track Type: Oval (300 laps)