The 2014 Nascar Sprint Cup Series rages on this week as the Sylvania 300 takes center stage in the 28th race of the year. Those laying down bets or simply looking to watch the race live will be in for a fairly nice Sunday, where the race fires off at 2:15 pm ET at the New Hampshire MotorSpeedway track. A mile long paperclip track, the New Hampshire MotorSpeedway figures to give these cars a beating – particularly on the breaks and tires. Drivers will need to be on top of their game and pick their moments wisely in this one, as it figures to be a battle of the best.
Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski are three major big hitters that could be favorites to take a stab at first place this weekend. Keselowski is one of the hottest drivers in Nascar right now and he conveniently shows well at the NHMP track routinely. Kenseth has also had a good year and is a seasoned vet, but he’s largely in the early running to take the Sylvania 300 crown due to doing so last year. Harvick has just been dominant at this track with 12 top-10 finishes in 27 races at the NHMS. It’d be shocking if he didn’t at least get close to doing so again, while his regular placing inside the top-10 make him a pretty sexy pick to make a run at the crown this year.
Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon are the next grouping to watch. Johnson has finished strongly here with a top-15 finish in all but four runs at this track, while he actually won it in 2010. Busch is a sneaky bet here, too, as he’s actually been inside the top-10 at the NHMS seven times in his last 16 races. Earnhardt Jr. is right there with these guys, too, with a top-10 finish in 12 of his last 23 tries. Gordon is a different beast out of these two groupings, as he’s had a stellar 2014 Sprint Cup Chase and once dominated this track. He has struggled a bit since 2001, but if he can get over some shaky restarts he has a shot at finishing inside the top-10 or even claiming the win.
Some good dark horses for the Sylvania 300 could be Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart or Joey Lagano. Obviously these guys are still all household Nascar names, but all have a different edge in this race and still probably aren’t locks by anyone placing bets on Nascar races this weekend. Hamlin won on this track in 2012 and has finished inside the top-10 in 11 of his last 23 tries at the NHMS. Stewart is equally formidable here, as he holds the top driver rating at New Hampshire MotorSpeedway over the last nine years. His potential this weekend simply rides on whether or not his mind is completely right yet following his incident on the dirt track. Lastly, Lagano won his first ever Cup race at this very track. This happens to be his home track, so he certainly cannot be ruled out, either.
The safe play: Keselowski
He’s just red hot and it’s tough to go against him right now.
The sleeper play: Stewart
He knows this track and traditionally does very well here, plus this guy needs something good to happen to him with recent incidents in mind. He’s a pretty good sleeper not a lot of people will bank on getting it done, but he certainly could.