Fantasy Fuel – Loudon Edition
Posted by: Dave Thompson, follow @phillyfan17
July 12, 2012
After last weekend’s crash-filled race at Daytona, NASCAR heads to New England’s New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301. This 1.0-mile flat oval with tight corners makes side-by-side racing a challenge for any driver. Fantasy owners will need to consider the likelihood of a fuel mileage race, coupled with multiple pit strategies could yield any number of potential winners.
Despite the potential for a surprise winner, this weekend is not the weekend for owners to gamble with too many sleeper picks. There are a number of drivers that will be favorites since they always run well at Loudon, so my suggestion is to stick with the favorites in Group A and B.
Jimmie Johnson – Johnson finished fifth here last July and along with Denny Hamlin, should be one of the favorites on Sunday. Johnson last won at Loudon in 2010 plus has eight top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts at NHMS. After last weekend’s DNF at Daytona, Johnson will be hungry to get back on track this weekend and should be a contender for the win.
Alternate pick – Denny Hamlin – Hamlin is glad to leave Daytona and head to one of his better tracks this weekend. In his previous 10 starts at Loudon, Hamlin has finished outside the top-15 just one time. He has finished third or better three times in his last five starts here and will likely be in the mix in the closing laps.
Kasey Kahne – Kahne finished sixth last July at Loudon, but this weekend he makes his first start for Hendrick Motorsports. He has scored three consecutive top-15 finishes here and should have no problem making it four. Kahne dropped two spots in the standings after Daytona and desperately needs another win if he hopes to make the Chase.
Ryan Newman - Last July, Newman took the pole and back that up by leading 119 laps and visiting victory lane. Newman also won the pole for the September race as well. He has finished eighth or better four times in his last five starts at Loudon and a top-10 best average finish among all active drivers. Newman is a three-time winner at Loudon with something to prove after the US Army announced they will not sponsor the No. 39 next season.
Alternate pick – Greg Biffle – There are other Group B drivers that owners may want to consider this weekend, but Biffle will be looking to rebound after blowing a top-five at Daytona. Biffle definitely brings a “mixed bag” at Loudon and could easily finish outside the top-15 based on his recent performance here. His one and only win at Loudon came in 2008, but since then he has just two top-10 finishes in his last six starts in New Hampshire.
Brian Vickers – Anytime Vickers is in the No. 55 Toyota, he has to be one of the top options of the Group C drivers. He does have two top-five finishes in three starts with Michael Waltrip Racing this season and finished fifth in his last race with Red Bull at Loudon. While a top-10 is no guarantee, Vickers still has the best chance of Group C to finish 15th or better.
Alternate pick – David Ragan – Ragan finished inside the top-15 in both races at Loudon last season, but that is when he was with Roush-Fenway Racing. With the move to Front Row Motorsports this season, it’s doubtful he will match those results from 2011, but a top-25 is well within reach this weekend at Loudon.
Posted: July 12th, 2012
Categories: Featured, Nascar Sprint Cup Series.
Tags: Brian Vickers, David Ragan, Denny Hamlin, Fantasy Racing Picks, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, kasey kahne, NASCAR Fantasy Picks, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Ryan Newman