July 25, 2015

Indianapolis: Three To Watch

Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard Race Preview

A win at Indy, where Jeff Gordon most recently won last year,
could turn the season around for the No. 24 team. (Getty)
The circus has come and gone at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  It will be back in the form of the SYLVANIA 300 Chase race in two months, but in the meantime, there's a lot of racing left to be done.  The win-and-you're-in policy of making the Chase leaves the field wide open, and the pressure is mounting for the drivers without wins to lock themselves in with a victory.

Here's a look at three drivers to watch this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Green Flag - Kevin Harvick

The amount of speed that Harvick has carried this season makes him extremely dangerous at the Brickyard, where he can really open it up and blow away the competition.  The 2003 winner at Indy looks like a favorite this weekend.

July 15, 2015

New Hampshire: Three To Watch

5-hour ENERGY 301 Race Preview

Brad Keselowski was dominant in this event last year. (NHMS/HHP)
Race week is finally here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway!  After 10 long months of waiting, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is back in New England and ready to race during the 25th Anniversary celebration at NHMS.

The Magic Mile has a rather misguided reputation as being a tough track at which to pass and a tough one for drivers to figure out.  Here are a few fast facts to dispel these myths:

- Denny Hamlin won the 2012 SYLVANIA 300 after starting 32nd.  Before Jimmie Johnson won from 37th at Atlanta in March, this was the farthest back a driver had come from to win a non-restrictor plate race since 2009.
- Brad Keselowski won this race last year to tie a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series record for 13 consecutive different winners at one track.
- Kyle Larson finished third and second, respectively, in last year's two races as a rookie.

Joey Logano's win last September reset the consecutive streak of different drivers to 11, but needless to say, there are a plethora of competitors capable of winning the 5-hour ENERGY 301.  Here's a look at three drivers to watch:

Green Flag: Brad Keselowski

July 8, 2015

Kentucky: Three To Watch

Quaker State 400 Race Preview

Kyle Busch won the inaugural race at Kentucky in 2011. (Getty)
Kentucky Speedway is a 1.5-mile intermediate track, but it certainly doesn't race like most of the other cookie cutters.  The track has the reputation of being the bumpiest on the schedule to the point that track officials have made a joke out of it.

A recent TV commercial showed Joey Logano training for the Kentucky race by doing activities that caused him to shake like he was in an earthquake simulator.  During the Media Tour this past winter, most drivers asked about the most essential item to bring to Kentucky quipped that it was a mouthguard.  (And, no, they weren't joking about the necessity.)

Here's a look at three drivers that may or may not bump their way to victory this weekend:

Green Flag - Kyle Busch

He proved that he's 100% by navigating his way to victory at Sonoma Raceway, a track that tested his ability to use both lower extremities that he broke earlier in the season.  He won the inaugural race at Kentucky in 2011 and has finished in the top-10 in all four starts at the track.

July 6, 2015

Points Leaders Headline Test Session

Doug Coby, Ryan Preece prep for Modified All-Star Shootout,       
New England 100 at the Magic Mile

Doug Coby speeds by after exiting Turn 4 at NHMS on
Monday. Coby and several Whelen Modified Tour drivers
were in town for a practice session. (NHMS)
LOUDON, N.H. – Twice is nice when it comes to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The fan favorite mods will run a pair of races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: the All-Star Shootout on July 17 and New England 100 on July 18. On Monday, nearly a dozen teams from the Tour ran test laps at the 1.058-mile oval to get their cars tuned and ready for the upcoming NASCAR Weekend July 16-19 at the Magic Mile.

The weekend of racing will feature five races over three days, including the 30-minute All-Star Shootout at 2:10 p.m. and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Granite State 70 at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 17; the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour New England 100 at 2 p.m. and the XFINITY Series Lakes Region 200 at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 18; and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 19.

July 1, 2015

Daytona: Three To Watch

Coke Zero 400 Race Preview

Dale Earnhardt Jr. already has one restrictor plate race
win this season, having won at Talladega in May. (Getty)
Kyle Busch's win at Sonoma Raceway throws an interesting wrench into the Race for the Chase.  Despite not having started every race due to injury, NASCAR has provided Busch an exemption to make it into the Chase if he's eligible, which would require a win and a standing of 30th or better.  He currently sits 37th.  If he can climb to 30th or above, he'll knock out someone that hasn't won a race, which means it's time for the drivers on the bubble to take a checkered flag.

Daytona is an opportunity for any team, but also a scary proposition for the bubble drivers.  It's anybody's race, and it's possible that a less successful driver could steal this race and earn a Chase spot, only making the bubble more likely to burst.

Here are three drivers to watch at Daytona:

Green Flag: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Junior is a rare breed in that he seems to have an affinity for the unpredictable restrictor plate races (most drivers don't like them).  He has had more success at Talladega, where he picked up his sixth win earlier this year, but still has a solid track record at Daytona.  In fact, his 13.1 career average finish at that track tops the list of active drivers.