Last week at Daytona, Tony Stewart was able to fight his way to a second-place finish and put himself into the top ten in the standings. This week, Stewart is going to continue the fight to secure himself in a spot for the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Camping World RV Sales 301.
The New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) is a 1.058 mile track. Although there are two to seven degrees of banking in the corners and one degree in the straight-aways, the track is basically flat. The track is a true oval track, and the race is 301 laps — 318.46 miles.
Make no mistake about it; although NHMS is a short track just over one mile in length, it is difficult to pass other drivers. It is also difficult to get your car to be good everywhere on the track.
Stewart put it best, “It just has long, sweeping corners. The corners in comparison to where we normally race, we’re used to having a lot of banking, but New Hampshire is pretty flat. It’s one of those tracks where you’re either fighting entry-loose, entry-exit and nice in the center, or you’re fighting tight in the center and you’re good on entry and good on exit. It’s a juggling act trying to get the car balanced for all three sections of the corner.”
He should know, as he leads all active drivers with a great driver rating (111.7) at such a difficult track. He is followed by Jeff Gordon and every driver’s nemesis, Jimmie Johnson, at 109.9 and 105.8, respectively.
Stewart in now tenth in points, but it is so close in the standings that if he doesn’t keep up the good runs, he can easily be back to 15th in one race. He has to capitalize at those tracks he excels at in order to insure he is in the top ten and gets to use the bonus points from his win.
Jeff Burton leads all active drivers with four wins at NHMS, but he has none since 2000. Kurt Busch, Gordon, Johnson, Ryan Newman and Stewart have three wins each here.
Stewart will qualify well and hopefully keep Johnson at bay in order to solidly position himself in the top ten in points. His average finish of 11.4 should go a long way to making that happen. The only problem is that Johnson has an average finish of 9.5, but until the Chase, he isn’t racing against Johnson.
If you cannot get to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the race will be televised by TNT on July 14 starting at noon ET.
Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary, or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google.