Driver Group Game Picks New Hampshire

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The Cup Series travels to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. It is hard to believe that the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season will be half-way complete, once the race at the Magic Mile takes the checkered flag. We only have nine races until the playoffs start, so the intensity is about to get as hot as the summer weather in these final races. Hopefully we get another good race at New Hampshire. The USA Today 301 can be seen Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA.

 

STRATEGY FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE

So, how are you doing with the allocations with your top drivers? We have enough data now to know which drivers are good at which tracks. I mapped out my allocations with each driver before the season started. I matched each driver with their best tracks. I have been making changes throughout the season and this week I scrapped what I had and remapped out each allocation based on the information we have from the 2024 season. I have some good news for you… We are in good shape to make it to the championship race in Phoenix. We just need to hope the drivers cooperate with my plan 😊.

I made my list of drivers that run the best at New Hampshire. I then looked at how those drivers ran at Phoenix, Richmond, Gateway and Iowa. The drivers who check the most boxes are in my lineup this week.

 

DRIVER GROUP GAME PICKS FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

GROUP A DRIVERS

MARTIN TRUEX JR. (8): You almost have to play Truex this week. He has dominated both races at New Hampshire in the Gen-7 car. He led 254 laps and went to Victory Lane last year and he led 172 laps and finished fourth in 2022. Truex has also won every Stage at New Hampshire in the Gen-7 car and he qualified on the front row for both races. This is the last race for Truex as a full-time driver at one of his many home tracks. I expect the No. 19 team to unload with a lot of speed this weekend.

CHRISTOPHER BELL (7): Martin Tuex Jr. is easily the pick when I run the stats for the races at New Hampshire, but Bell blows Truex out of the water when I run the stats for the short, flat tracks in 2024. Bell won the race at Phoenix, finished sixth at Richmond, seventh at Gateway and fourth at Iowa. Bell also won the race at New Hampshire in the Gen-7 car in 2022 and he finished second in 2021. Bell has been at his best on the tracks similar to New Hampshire, so he gets a spot in my lineup.

OTHER PICK: KYLE LARSON (5): It is tough to fade Larson, but we cannot use the No. 5 car in every race. There is no doubt that Larson is going to be fast this weekend. He led 144 laps at Richmond and 80 laps at Iowa. You can use Larson over Christopher Bell if you do not want to have all of your eggs in the Joe Gibbs Racing basket. You can also use Larson for qualifying points since he won the pole at Richmond and Iowa. I need my allocations with Larson for other tracks, so I will play the two JGR cars this week.

GROUP A RANKINGS: 1. MARTIN TRUEX JR., 2. CHRISTOPHER BELL, 3. KYLE LARSON, 4. RYAN BLANEY, 5. DENNY HAMLIN, 6. CHASE ELLIOTT, 7. WILLIAM BYRON, 8. KYLE BUSCH

 

GROUP B DRIVERS

JOEY LOGANO (5): Logano said on PRN Radio before the race at Iowa, “We have to win one of these races on the short, flat tracks. That is where our team has had the most success. We have not figured out the larger tracks yet, so we have to get all we can this week and next week in New Hampshire.” Logano is right. He finished second at Richmond, fifth at Gateway and sixth at Iowa. The tracks similar to New Hampshire have been his best, so I will use another allocation with the No. 22 car this week.

BRAD KESELOWSKI (3): I am quickly running out of allocations with Keselowski, but I am not worried about it. I plan to play Keselowski on the tracks similar to New Hampshire and fade him at the larger tracks and the road courses. Keselowski finished fourth at Phoenix, eighth at Richmond, third at Gateway and 10th at Iowa. He also finished fifth, seventh, third and first in his last four races at New Hampshire. I would not be surprised to see Keselowski in Victory Lane Sunday.

BABBA WALLACE (9): I really want to have Tyler Reddick in my lineup, but I only have three allocations left with the No. 45 car and I do not want to be tempted to use another one. I will pivot to Reddick’s teammate this week. Wallace has been good at New Hampshire. He finished eighth and third in his two races at the Magic Mile in the Gen-7 car.  He has only been “OK” on the tracks similar to New Hampshire, but he has been one of the best at qualifying up front at these tracks. I trust Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, so I will have Wallace in the lineup as a backup plan and for qualifying points this weekend.

JOSH BERRY (9): I am not sure how good Berry will be this week, but I do know that his car is going to be fast. Crew Chief Rodney Childers gave Kevin Harvick a car that finished the last six races at New Hampshire in the top-six. That includes two wins and an average finishing position of 3.6. I doubt Berry will be that good, but he finished 11th at Richmond and seventh last week at Iowa. I will take a chance with the No. 4 car at New Hampshire.

OTHER PICK: CHRIS BUESCHER (8): Buescher should be the pick over Bubba Wallace if you select your drivers based on the stats from the 2024 season and ignore what the driver has done at New Hampshire in the Gen-7 car. Buescher finished second at Phoenix, ninth at Richmond and 14th at Gateway. I thought about using Buescher, but he has never finished in the top-10 at New Hampshire. His teammate is the best in Group B though. You would think Keselowski could help Buescher get his car dialed in for this race.

GROUP B RANKINGS: 1. BRAD KESELOWSKI, 2. JOEY LOGANO, 3. TYLER REDDICK, 4. BUBBA WALLACE, 5. JOSH BERRY, 6. ROSS CHASTAIN, 7. CHRIS BUESCHER, 8. TY GIBBS, 9. ALEX BOWMAN, 10. DANIEL SUAREZ

 

GROUP C DRIVERS

CHASE BRISCOE (3): Another short, flat track and another race with two drivers from Stewart-Haas Racing in my lineup for Group C. Briscoe is at his best on the tracks similar to New Hampshire. He finished 10th last year at New Hampshire in the Gen-7 car and 15th in 2021. Briscoe should have a good chance to finish in the top-12 Sunday.

NOAH GRAGSON (6): Gragson hasn’t been good at New Hampshire in the Cup Series, but it is a small sample size (one race). He has been good on the tracks similar to New Hampshire. Gragson finished 12th at Phoenix, 12th at Richmond, and 16th last week at Iowa. New Hampshire was the best track for Aric Almirola in the No. 10 car. Maybe Gragson can have similar success Sunday.

OTHER PICK: JUSTIN HALEY (9): When I run out of allocations with Chase Briscoe and Noah Gragson, I know I can trust Justin Haley. I should probably trust him right now and play Haley over one of the Stewart-Haas Racing drivers, but I do not have the guts to do it. Haley finished ninth at Gateway and 13th last week at Iowa. The No. 51 team has found some speed. Haley is your driver if you want to save an allocation with one of the Stewart-Haas Racing drivers this week.

GROUP C RANKINGS: 1. CHASE BRISCOE, 2. NOAH GRAGSON, 3. JUSTIN HALEY, 4. TODD GILLILAND, 5. CARSON HOCEVAR

 

* Be sure to check back Sunday morning for my starting lineup.

   

XFINITY SERIES PICKS

 

Good Luck This Weekend!

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