The MENCS competes at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this week in the Foxwoods 301. There are 7 races left in the regular season. My strategy this week is to try and save my allocations with my top drivers but that does not mean I will not have some of the drivers who are high in the point standings in my lineup this week. I have my allocations for the rest of the season mapped out and I plan to finish inside the top 50 overall.
Kurt Busch (2): I am fading the “Big Three” because I am down to one allocation left with Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick and two allocations with Kyle Busch. I feel comfortable using Kurt Busch this week. He won the pole and has the No. 1 pit stall which should help him keep his track position. Busch should score a lot of Stage Points and finish in the top 10 this week.
Brad Keselowski (4): Strategy always comes into play at the end of the race at New Hampshire. Usually if there is a team who is going to gamble to get to Victory Lane, it will be the No. 2 team. Keselowski should be a good pick even if pit strategy does not come into play. He has an average finishing position of 6.9 in his last 10 races at the track. Keselowski is one of the safest picks in the field this week.
Denny Hamlin (3): New Hampshire is one of the best tracks for Hamlin. He has 3 wins and has led 549 laps at the Magic Mile. If anyone is going to beat Kyle Busch or Martin Truex Jr. this week it will probably be Hamlin. Hamlin has a 7th-place average finishing position in the last 5 races at the track. That includes a win in this race last year. Hamlin qualified 4th and had a fast car in the practice sessions Saturday. I expect Hamlin to score a lot of Stage points and finish in the top 5.
Erik Jones (6): You cannot have too many Joe Gibbs Racing cars on your team this week. JGR has dominated 6 of the last 8 races at New Hampshire. Jones is on a hot streak right now. The No. 20 car has finished his last four races in the top seven. Jones was fast in practice and he qualified 7th. I expect him to spend a lot of time in the top 10, win some stage points and finish in the top 10 Sunday.
Chase Elliott (7): Elliott has run very well on the flat tracks this season. He finished 3rd at Phoenix, 9th at Martinsville and 2nd at Richmond. He has also led laps in each of these races (81 in total). We are still waiting for the No. 9 car to come to life. I have a gut feeling this is a race where Elliott will run well. The No. 9 car was fast in practice and qualified 10th for the race. Elliott should be able to keep his car in the top 10 this week.
Garage Driver: Kyle Larson (4) will be my Garage Driver this week. He smacked the wall in final practice but it was only cosmetic damage. They fixed the car and Larson went out and made 26 laps. Last year Larson started last and finished 2nd. I think he will quickly make his way through the field like he did last week.
* Garage Driver: Fantasy players can put a driver (Garage Driver) into their lineup at any time before the end of Stage 2. You will lose the Stage points from the driver you take out of your lineup though. I only plan to make a change if one of my driver crashes and that is likely to happen this week. If I make a change I will post a message on my Twitter account: @MrFantasyNASCAR
Here are my picks for the New Hampshire…
Driver 1: Kurt Busch (2)
Driver 2: Brad Keselowski (4)
Driver 3: Denny Hamlin (3)
Driver 4: Erik Jones (6)
Driver 5: Chase Elliott (7)
Garage Driver: Kyle Larson (4)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Winning Manufacturer: Toyota
Good luck this week!
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