The Cup Series had their regular practice and qualifying session this week after not having any pre-race track time at Atlanta. The teams had 20 minutes to dial in their cars for the Ambetter 301 and then they set the starting lineup. The cars are impounded after qualifying so the speed the cars had in practice should be the speed the drivers will start the race with Sunday.
Here is my starting lineup for the race at New Hampshire…
Driver Group Game Team
GROUP A DRIVERS
MARTIN TRUEX JR. (7): Truex is going to need a win in order to make the playoffs if the Cup Series continues to add first time winners to Victory Lane. The No. 19 car has been at its best on the flat tracks this year and Truex looks fast again this week. He posted the fifth-fastest speed in practice and won the pole for the race. I have plenty of allocations left with Truex so I will use one Sunday.
GROUP B DRIVERS
KURT BUSCH (7): There has been a lot of talk this week about Busch’s future since it was announced that Tyler Reddick will join 23X1 Racing in 2024. That did not distract Busch this week. His car was too tight in turns 1 and 2 and too loose in 3 and 4 in practice. The No. 45 team decided to scrap their setup and put in the setup they used when Busch finished third at WWT Raceway. The car came to life and Busch qualified third. Busch should have the speed to run up front Sunday.
CHRISTOPHER BELL (5): Bell has been at his best on the flat intermediate tracks this year. He finished the last two races on the flat intermediate tracks in the top-10 (WWT Raceway and Nashville) and Bell looks fast again this week. Bell was only 20th fastest in practice but he only ran four laps. Crew chief Adam Stevens know what he needs at the Magic Mile so they decided to work on the car and it came to life in qualifying. Bell qualified fifth for the race so he has the track position to score a lot of Stage Points and finish in the top-10 Sunday.
GROUP C DRIVERS
ERIC JONES (5): Jones finished seventh at WWT Raceway and 11th at Nashville. I will be more than happy with a top-12 finish from Jones Sunday. The No. 43 car posted the 14th-fastest speed in practice and qualified 22nd for the race. The race at the Magic Mile should be a good track to use an allocation with “That Jones Boy.”
Good Luck Sunday!
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