The NASCAR Cup Series travels to the Northeast this week to compete at “Magic Mile.” The race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway should be one of the easier races to predict. The Cup Series has competed at four flat, intermediate tracks this season (Phoenix, Richmond, WWT Raceway and Nashville). This should give us enough data to find some good drivers for our lineup this week. The racing on the tracks to similar tracks to New Hampshire has been pretty good. I expect the same this week. The Ambetter 301 can be seen Sunday at 3 p.m. on USA Network.
STRATEGY FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire is a one-mile, flat track. It is similar to Martinsville, but twice the size. The drivers who have run well at Richmond have run well at New Hampshire in the past. The addition of WWT Raceway and Nashville to the schedule should give use even more data to use for our picks this week (The race at Phoenix was a long time ago and a lot has changed since the beginning of the season. I am not using too much data from tht race for the picks this week). There are a handful of drivers who ran well at Richmond, WWT Raceway and Nashville. These are the drivers who will be in my lineup this week.
Here are the picks for the Ambetter 301…
DRIVER GROUP GAME LINEUP
GROUP A DRIVERS
CHASE ELLIOTT (5): I had Ryan Blaney penciled in for a spot in Group B because won the poles at Phoenix and Richmond and his average finishing position on the flat intermediate tracks is 4.5. That is outstanding, but I cannot fade Elliott right now. He won two of the last three races and it probably should have been three in a row since he had the best car at Road America but finished second. He is on a hot streak right now so I have to use him at New Hampshire. I have five allocations left with Elliott. I need to save three for the Indianapolis Road Course, Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval. That gives me two allocations to work with. I plan to use one of them Sunday.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. (7): Why not pair Ryan Blaney with Chase Elliott? I like that strategy but I have to have a Joe Gibbs Racing car in my lineup. JGR was awesome at Nashville. They led 118 laps and place three Toyota’s in the top-six. JGR was also good at Nashville. They led 250 of the 300 laps. I will use Truex this week because he needs a win to secure a spot in the playoffs. Truex led 80 laps and finished fourth at Richmond, led 42 laps and finished sixth at WWT Raceway and led 82 laps and finished 22nd at Nashville (Truex should have finished in the top-five but a late caution put his car deep in the field). I expect Truex to have another dominant car Sunday.
GROUP A DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Chase Elliott 2) Martin Truex Jr. 3) Ryan Blaney 4) Denny Hamlin 5) Kyle Busch 6) Kyle Larson 7) Kevin Harvick
GROUP B DRIVERS
CHRISTOPHER BELL (5): Bell has been at his best on the flat intermediate tracks this year. He finished sixth at Richmond, ninth at WWT Raceway and eighth at Nashville. He should have another good chance at finishing in the top-10 Sunday. The only thing I do not like about Bell this week is that he has some members of Bubb Wallace’s pit crew. We saw what a disaster that was last week. I expect JGR to clean up their mistakes and Bell to have another good race on a flat track this week.
JOEY LOGANO (5): What should we do with Logano this week? He either finishes in the top-five or finishes outside the top-20. He is a tough driver to trust in your Fantasy NASCAR lineups but he should be good this week. Logano won the race at WWT Raceway and that track is similar to New Hampshire. He also finished ninth last month at Nashville. He should be good as long as the No. 22 team uses the notes from Ryan Blaney’s team this week.
KURT BUSCH (7): I probably should not have seven allocations left with Busch, but I do so now is the time to start using them. The No. 45 car is just another Toyota that has looked fast on the flat intermediate tracks this year. Busch led 12 laps and finished third at WWT Raceway and he led three laps and finished second at Nashville. The No. 45 car should be fast again this week.
ROSS CHASTAIN (3): There is a lot we know about Chastain this week. We know he is going to be fast. We know he is going to qualify up front. We know he is going to run up front and score Stage Points and we know Denny Hamlin is going to put the No. 1 car into the wall. We just do not know what lap it will happen on. I only have three allocations left with Chastain. I do not plan to use him in my starting lineup, but I do plan to use him for qualifying points. I will use the allocations after Hamlin gets his payback with the No. 1 car.
GROUP B DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Ross Chastain 2) Joey Logano 3) Christopher Bell 4) Kurt Busch 5) Aric Almirola 6) William Byron 7) Tyler Reddick 8) Alex Bowman 9) Chris Buescher 10). Chase Briscoe
GROUP C DRIVERS
ERIC JONES (5): Jones has not been great this year on the flat intermediate tracks but he has been the best driver in Group C. Jones finished seventh at WWT Raceway and 11th at Nashville. He also earned qualifying points at Richmond. The No. 43 team will have some momentum after their fourth-place finish last week at Atlanta.
AUSTIN CINDRIC (5): I expected Cindric to be a lot better in the No. 2 car than he has been this year. He got off to a slow start but now Cindric is starting to heat up. He has finished his last five races in the top-11. That includes a seventh-place finish at Nashville and an 11th-place finish at WWT Raceway. Cindric has been the best driver in Group C over the last month so I will have him in my lineup Sunday.
GROUP C DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Eric Jones 2) Austin Cindric 3) Daniel Suarez 4) AJ Allmendinger 5) Michael McDowell
* Be sure to check back Saturday evening for my starting lineup for the Driver Group Game.
Good Luck This Week!
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