This week the NASCAR Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. The track called the “Magic Mile” is a 1.058 mile slightly banked asphalt oval track. NHMS is similar to Richmond and Phoenix Raceways as far as characteristics go. Over the past two races at NHMS, there have been just five drivers combined to have led 41 or more laps. At last year’s race, the race winner Brad Keselowski led 184 of the 301 laps while the second-place-finisher Denny Hamlin led 54. In 2019 eventual winner Kevin Harvick led 41 laps while Hamlin finished second after leading 113 laps with Kyle Busch, who led the most laps (118) finished eighth despite having an accident at lap 215.
On Sunday the drivers will go 318.46 miles, 301 laps giving us a lot of dominator points up for grabs, similar to last week. Taking into account that over the last two races the majority of the laps have been led by five drivers, nailing the dominators in this race will be a major advantage.
Most comparable tracks: Phoenix Raceway, Richmond Raceway
*Note: all pricing is DraftKings focused
These are the drivers that we can typically expect to, you guessed it, dominate the race. When we think dominator we are looking for guys that will be in a position to lead a hefty amount of laps as well as be able to turn over fastest laps.
Denny Hamlin ($10,000)
If not for Kyle Larson, Hamlin would be the most dominant driver of the season to this point. After 21 races Hamlin has led the second-most laps (770) and has 11 top-five finishes. To further explain Hamlin’s dominance, the driver of the Joe Gibbs Toyota has led 27 or more laps in seven races and 98 or more on three occasions including 276 at Martinsville and 207 at Richmond. In his career at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) Hamlin has three wins, 11 top five’s, and 16 top 10’s in 27 starts with an average finish of 9.6. Also, he has two wins at Phoenix and three at Richmond including a third-place finish at Phoenix (after leading 33 laps) and a second-place finish at Richmond (after leading 207 laps) this season. Rolling off sixth, it shouldn’t be much trouble for Hamlin to find himself towards the front. Oh, and one last thing to consider with Hamlin. With how dominant and consistent he’s been all season he is still yet to win. Don’t be surprised to see Denny Hamlin in victory lane on Sunday.
Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,100)
With how consistent Denny Hamlin has been all season, the opposite can be said about the 2017 Cup Series Champion Martin Truex, Jr. Truex has finished eight races 18th or worse. That’s the bad. Considering that statistic, Truex has led the third-most laps this season (647), has three wins, seven top five’s, and 11 top 10’s. It’s clear that when he’s been good he’s in fact been great leading 37 or more laps on five separate occasions including 100 or more three times. Earlier this season the driver of the 19-car won at Phoenix after leading 64 laps and finished fifth at Richmond after leading 107 laps. While he hasn’t won at NHMS before, Truex has finishes of third, sixth, fourth, fifth, and third in his last five races there leading over 100 laps on four occasions. His salary at $9,100 is a great bargain considering that he’s rolling off second and is a good candidate to jump out in front early in stage one, as long as he can get by and hold off this next guy.
Kyle Busch ($10,900)
Busch is the highest-priced dominator I’m looking at being heavily exposed to. There’s obviously an argument for backing Kyle Larson ($11,200) starting 10th but considering that NHMS isn’t an easy track to pass at quickly, I worry that his ceiling is somewhat capped relative to his salary. With that said, anything can happen and Larson is definitely worth consideration. Anyways, onto Kyle. The two-time Cup Series Champion has three wins, 11 top five’s, and 16 top 10’s in his career at NHMS. He’s also picked up three wins at Phoenix and has a whopping six wins at Richmond. If you’re paying for Kyle starting on the pole you’re banking on him leading the majority of laps in stage one and a healthy chunk of the laps in the race overall while finishing in the top five at the very least. Taking out the misfortune of a crash at NHMS last season, Kyle has led at least 95 laps here in four of his six previous races. Is it possible that Kyle jumps out and dominates the race? Absolutely but I still prefer his two teammates in Hamlin and Truex a bit more when taking salaries into account.
Brad Keselowski ($9,300)
- Starts 11th.
- Won at NHMS last season after leading 184 laps.
- Eight top five’s in 20 races at NHMS.
- Led 100 or more laps on three separate occasions at NHMS.
Place Differential Targets
The drivers that are starting farther back in the field than where they could be expected to finish. A lot of times due to a variety of qualifying situations some top drivers could start farther back in the field and make their way up through the field in a short period of time.
Ryan Newman ($7,200)
starting 25th, the veteran who in 35 career races at NHMS has three wins presents great place differential value. On top of his three wins Newman has seven top fives and 20 top 10’s with an average finish of 13.7. It’s been a tough season for Newman who will be relinquishing his car to Brad Keselowski next season but at one of his best tracks, he is one of the more trendy PD plays.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,100)
This season Stenhouse has finished 12th at Phoenix and 17th at Richmond. NHMS might not be one of his best tracks with just two top 10’s in 13 races but starting way back at 29th should pay off for him in some respects. With his aggressive driving style, Stenhouse sometimes finds himself regretting such a style instead of benefitting from it. Considering some of the other options around him salary-wise I wouldn’t put all of my eggs into the Stenhouse basket.
Daniel Suarez ($8,900)
Suarez, who starts just two spots behind Stenhouse, Jr. has a salary that might prevent some from looking his way. In five NHMS starts at the cup level Suarez has two top 10’s with an average finish of 16.2. Suarez has driven this Trackhouse Racing car far better than many could have expected, including me with one top-five finish and three top 10 finishes. Before his last two races, Suarez had finishes of 15, 13, seven, 12, and five. He’ll try to get back into that neighborhood Sunday.
Joey Logano ($9,500)
- Has two wins and seven top five’s in 22 races at NHMS and had a fourth-place finish last season.
- Finished second at Phoenix and third at Richmond this season.
- Could be a game-changer at a track he’s had success at especially with someplace differential points available.
Kevin Harvick ($10,300)
- Winner of three of his last six races at NHMS.
- Has dominated at Phoenix (nine wins, 18 top five’s) and Richmond (three wins, 15 top 10’s).
William Byron ($10,600)
Cole Custer ($6,300)
Dark Horse Driver
Christopher Bell ($7,700)
Youngster Christopher Bell has had a lot of success at the Xfinity level at NHMS, Phoenix, and Richmond and ran the Xfinity race yesterday. This season Bell has finished ninth at Phoenix and fourth at Richmond in his Cup car. In two career Xfinity races at NHMS Bell has won twice and led a combined 279 laps while posting three top fives and one win at Phoenix as well as three wins at Richmond. Bell comes into this race with some momentum after finishing eighth and second in his last two Cup races and also has a very friendly salary.