1131 N DuPont Hwy
Dover, DE 19903
THE RACING SWAMI'S NASCAR FANTASY REPORTS
1131 N DuPont Hwy
REPORT 29 - aaa 400 - dover
sprint cup series race # 29 of 36 - race to the championship # 3 of 10
Sunday-September 30th, 2012- 2:00pm espn
Official NAscar media guide for dover
Last Week : Last week the series came to the Midwest to the Chicagoland Speedway for the 27th race of the season and the first race in the Championship hunt, the GEICO 400 that was held on Sunday. In qualifying, Jimmie Johnson came out on top and would lead the field to the green flag on Sunday. And that is about all you needed to know about this race as Johnson dominated the majority of the race until the final pit stops when Brad Keselowski was able to get in front of Johnson and he remained there until he took the checkered flag. Johnson finished second, Kasey Kahne was third, Kyle Busch was fourth and Ryan Newman rounded out the Top 5. The Swami had Tony Stewart as his favorite, he finished 6th while Jimmie Johnson was his alternate, he finished 2nd. Brad Keselowski won the race and the Swami had him finishing 3rd. Overall, the Swami had a pretty good day with the race winner picked in his Top 3 and he hit eleven of the Top 15 finishers at Chicago.
This Week : The race this week moves to New Hampshire for the second of the two races that will be held this year at this track. Setups are not real hard at the New Hampshire as this track is relatively flat with the corners having 12 degrees of banking and the straight away's having between 2 to 7 degrees of banking. If you look at statistics, it seems like this is another track that every driver has fluked one good finish there in their career including the fact that we have had 9 different winners in the last 10 races. Clint Bowyer has won two races in the last 10 races. Last year, Tony Stewart won this race after starting 20th. Kasey Kahne won this years spring race here after starting on the outside pole. Denny Hamlin was extremely strong in that race and led the most laps. There are certain drivers that are hands and feet above the rest there and statistics this week will show you that maybe six to eight drivers have enjoyed a great deal of success at New Hampshire. With that said, lets look at this weeks race at the New Hampshire Speedway, the Sylvania 300.
The New Hampshire Track is a 1.058 mile oval, sometimes referred to as a paper clip shaped track. The drivers start out on a 1500 foot straight away that is banked at 2 degrees. As they enter turn one, they transition into a 12 degree bank and continue into that banking thru turn 2. As they enter the back stretch the banking returns to 2 degrees for 1500 feet. As they enter turn 3, the drivers again transition into a 12 degree banking thru turns 3 and 4 till they re-enter the front stretch. Qualifying speeds are typically in the low 130's while the track record for race speed is 133 miles per hour. Pit Road speed is 55 miles per hour. This race will be 301 laps long or a total of 318.5 miles.
Does qualifying really matter at New Hamsphire?
Qualifying in the Top 15 seems to be the place to start if your going to win at New Hampshire. In looking back at all the races that have been run at New Hampshire, there has been just one provisional winner. The race has been won only eight times from a starting position of 15th or worst but three of those have come in the last eight races. Joey Logano won a rain shorten race in 2009 after starting 24th, Kurt Busch won the race from 26th in 2008 on a fuel mileage gamble and Tony Stewart won the fall race last year from 20th after the race leader ran out of gas. In the last 10 races, other then the three I just mentioned, all the races have been won by cars starting in the top 15, including two from the pole. Last year, Ryan Newman won the spring race starting on the pole and in 2007 Clint Bowyer won the fall race after starting on the pole. Ryan Newman and Juan Montoya have each won two pole positions in the last five races. Both were able to notch a Top 5 out of those starting spots while in the other two races they finished 25th or worst. There have been five different pole winners in the last ten races and their finishing average is 16.80, which is pretty high by standards. That doesn't give a lot of hope to the pole winner but as I said it has been won from the pole two times in the last ten races. The average starting position of the race winner in the last 10 races has been 9.90, which is sort of high when compared to other tracks. Overall a little over 77% of the race winners have started in the Top 15. Kurt Busch has the best starting average of the active drivers with a 9.40 average start, followed by Clint Bowyer at 9.60, Ryan Newman is at 9.90, Tony Stewart is at 10.50 and finally Kasey Kahne rounds out the Top 5 with a 11.30 average start. Busch, Bowyer and Stewart all have won races in the last 10 races. So qualify in the Top 15, race hard, stay out of trouble and you might just have a good day at New Hampshire.
Is staying on the lead lap important for a good finish?
horsepower the key to victory?
The answer to this question this week is Yes and No ! Of course, horsepower is important at every racetrack, and it will be important here but the key to winning Sunday according to the drivers handling, brakes, fast pit stops and total concentration by the entire team on every lap. This is a flat track and will challenge the crew chief to get the car set up properly entering and exiting the corners without drifting up the track that much. It is important to qualify well and maintain that track position at minimum. We will see an average of seven cautions during the race so there are opportunities to make up some ground if your car is not handling well early in the race and cars that go a lap down early can make up that lap via the lucky dog rule. Last year, we had a whopping 10 cautions in the spring race versus just 3 in the fall race. In the spring race this year, there was just three cautions again. Drivers have to be smart enough to know when they need to just let someone go by them as often we see pit strategy become huge at this track. The ability of a pit crew to gain their driver positions is a huge factor, especially late in the race. The pit crew has to be on top of their game. There are big variables like taking 2 tires or no tires to improve track position and even fuel mileage could figure into this race. This race will be won by the driver who has great patience, one of the best handling car and a pit crew that is consistently good on pit stops with no errors. The on occasion we have a race like we had in 2009 when the race leaders pitted just before rain set in which made a lot of other teams play the rain gamble and Joey Logano played it the best while quite a few other notables didn't play it quite right.
Will there be a familiar or unexpected face in Victory Lane?
New Hampshire 2011 - Sylvania 300 - Race (2) Recap
Race 2 - Sylvania 300 :Tony Stewart won the race when the race leader Clint Bowyer ran out of fuel with fewer than three laps to go. It was his second consecutive victory, his second of the season and the 41st of his career. Brad Keselowski parlayed pit strategy into a second-place run and Greg Biffle came home third. They were followed by Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers in the Top 5. Matt Kenseth, David Ragan, Carl Edwards, Juan Montoya and Regan Smith completed the top 10. Bowyer failed to complete the final two laps and finished 26th. Jeff Gordon led the most laps during the race with him leading the pack for 78 laps.
Race 1 - Lenox Tools 301 : Kasey Kahne won Sunday in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire, his second victory of the season. Kahne led the final 66 laps, as fast-closing Hamlin ran out of time after starting deep in the field on a restart on Lap 240. Hamlin had dominated the race, but a miscommunication on pit strategy cost him track position in the late going, and Hamlin ran out of time after securing the runner-up spot. The miscommunication centered around whether to take two tires or four on the final stop. Hit crew chief wanted to go with two tires, which would have kept them on par with the rest of the field, but he thought Hamlin wanted fresh rubber on both sides -- hence, the four-tire call. Hamlin had a lead of 5.5 seconds before that caution on Lap 232 scrambled the field. Hamlin, lost 12 spots on pit road and restarted 13th as Kahne and Earnhardt led the field to green with 62 laps remaining. Kahne would go on to win just ahead of the hard charging Hamlin.
Track Records & Stats
who's hot going into new hampshire
In NASCAR, drivers that get on a roll as the season progresses, tend to stay on a roll as it is an indication that the team has all the parts working together as one. We now have had twenty seven races under our belts in the 2012 season and we see that Brad Keselowski with his win at Chicago, is still in charge this week with yet another Top 10 finish, which gives him 9 in the last 10 races. Kasey Kahne finished 3rd at Chicago and that kept him in second place. Martin Truex Jr moves up to third after Jeff Gordon, who was 3rd last week, had a bad race at Chicago and falls to 6th this week. Greg Biffle slides up to 4th while Clint Bowyer stays in the 5th spot. Gordon falls to 6th while Kyle Busch has jumped up to 7th. Dale Earnhardt Jr falls to 8th with Ryan Newman in 9th and Paul Menard in 10th. A bunch of heavy weights appear after that with Kevin Harvick in 11th, Jimmie Johnson jumps up two slots to 12th, while Tony Stewart slides into the 13th spot. Mark Martin is 14th while Denny Hamlin to the 15th spot. Based on their records at New Hampshire, several of the Top 15 drivers could have a big weekend when the checkered flag drops.
The Chase drivers
After Chicago, the first race of the Championship Chase, Brad Keselowski has the points lead by three over Jimmie Johnson. The statistics after one race shows that Johnson was the dominant car at Chicago but Keselowski dominated the race when it counted and picked up the win. Jeff Gordon suffered the biggest blow at Chicago, suffering from a stuck throttle and finished well back in the field. His 47 point deficit makes it nearly all but impossible for him to win the Championship this year. A few others will have their work cut out for them as Keselowski has been hot and Johnson is always hot during the 10 Chase races.
career performance at upcoming tracks
virtual lap at new hampshire
The Swami's Picks
The series heads to the New Hampshire Speedway for this years second race in the Race to the Championship, the Sylvania 300. This is one of those small flat tracks that has had it's share of good races over the years. The has been only one multiple race winner here in the last ten races and that has been Clint Bowyer. In the first race here this year, Denny Hamlin was the dominant car but as we have seen in a lot of races this year, that doesn't mean that they will win the race. That was the case in the spring race as Kasey Kahne came away the race winner. The hottest guy in the series is Brad Keselowski, winning last week in Chicago and he has 9 Top 10 finishes in the last 10 races. The Swami is going to go with one of the hottest drivers in recent races and was great here in the spring race. My pick this week is Denny Hamlin to come away with the win here on Sunday. My alternate this week has to be Brad Keselowski, who like I said has been on a roll and I don't see him letting off in this race. There are a lot of guys capable of winning here on Sunday but I like Hamlin and Keselowski the best of the crowd. I am looking for a good race with very few cautions and a race decided once again in the pits with track position rather then the dominant car. With that said lets look at my picks this week..
The Top 10
1. Denny Hamlin - Well his lead was short lived in the points as he saw a Top 10 finish go to the wayside when he ran out of gas in the closing laps. He can ill afford a second bad finish so he will be on top of his game here. He was awesome here in the spring race, leading the most laps before a bad pit cal cost him the race. In the last four races, he has finished second twice and third once. It is time for him to nail a win here at this track.
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 10.00 Rank 4th / Driver Rating - 101.4 Rank 4th / Last 4 Races - 2nd, 3rd, 29th and 2nd Avg 9.00 Rank 2nd
2. Brad Keselowski - Brad got out to a hot start with his win a Chicago last week and that continues his streak of being the hottest driver in the series right now. He has finished in the Top 10 in nine of last 10 races and in the Top 5 in six of them. So despite a so-so record in his career here, his last two races show that he has improved enough here to contend for the win. In the last two races, he has finished 2nd and 5th so a Top 5 this week
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 17.20 Rank 19th / Driver Rating - 78.8 Rank 19th / Last 4 Races - 18th, 35th, 2nd and 5th Avg 15.00 Rank 14th
3. Jeff Gordon - Gordon saw a Top 5 run go south real quick at Chicago when he had a stuck accelerator and hit the outside wall hard. He finished 35th and is already all but eliminated from the Chase. He has an inner drive though that will keep him on track and if history is any indication he should do well here. Best average over the last 5 races, 2nd best driver rating and has finished 6th or better in the last 3 races.
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 6.20 Rank 1st / Driver Rating - 109.3 Rank 2nd / Last 4 Races - 6th, 11th, 4th and 6th Avg 6.75 Rank 1st
4. Kasey Kahne- Kasey got a new start at Chicago and he was able to make some noise when he finished 3rd at the end of the day. He won this race in the spring and that race is the one that guaranteed him a place in the Chase. His stats show him as a driver who has been just outside the Top 10 statistically but I am thinking that his Hendrick equipment moves him into the Top 5 category and that is where I am picking him this weekend.
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 14.40 Rank 12th / Driver Rating - 90.3 Rank 11th / Last 4 Races - 14th, 6th, 15th and 1st Avg 9.00 Rank 3rd
5. Tony Stewart - Never been so unsure of Stewart as I have been in the second half of this season as they just never seem to hit on all the cylinders. His 6th place finish at Chicago seems like a miracle considering the way that they run. maybe he should have hung onto his crew chief?? Stewart won this race last year and has the best driver rating in the series at New Hampshire. His record is such I think you have to go with a Top 5 this week
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 8.20 Rank 2nd / Driver Rating - 112.0 Rank 1st / Last 4 Races - 24th, 2nd, 1st and 12th Avg 9.75 Rank 4th
6. Kevin Harvick - He managed a fairly good finish at Chicago even if his car wasn't the best . The team tried every thing and it did pay off in the end. He has had some success here and is ranked in the Top 10 in all the statistics. Has won a race here in the past and has finished in the Top 10 more then he has finished outside the Top 10 here in his career. Finished 8th here in the spring and has a Top 5 finish here in the last 4 races.
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 10.20 Rank 6th / Driver Rating - 92.4 Rank 8th / Last 4 Races - 5th, 21st, 12th and 8th Avg 11.50 Rank 7th
7. Jimmie Johnson - He has to be disappointed after Chicago as he dominated about every aspect of that race but lost the lead in the end. Look for that same car to come with him to New Hampshire. The reason why I mention that is that car has won two races this year and finished 2nd three times. This is a track however that I don't have a lot of faith in him although he has multiple career wins here. Maybe a Top 10 maybe more.
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 11.20 Rank 8th / Driver Rating - 105.1 Rank 3rd / Last 4 Races - 25th, 5th, 18th and 7th Avg 13.75 Rank 11th
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr - This has been one of his best years of his career and he has run up in the Top 10 a lot more then he has run outside the Top 10 this year. He has never won at this track and despite the fact that he is ranked in the Top 10 in all the statistical categories, I don't think he will win this week either. In the last four races he has a pair of Top 5 finishes and two finishes right around 15th. Split the difference and go with a Top 10.
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 9.60 Rank 3rd / Driver Rating - 97.8 Rank 5th / Last 4 Races - 4th, 15th, 17th and 4th Avg 10.00 Rank 5th
9. Greg Biffle - I never know what to think of Biffle as one week he looks like a gang buster and the next he looks just so so. That same trend hold true for him at this track also as if you look at his statistics below, you see that pattern. His driver rating is 14th which is so-so and he is ranked in the Top 10 over the last 5 races. He the last four races, he has two of 17th and 18th but in the last two he has finishes of 3rd and 9th which is gives hope.
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 12.60 Rank 9th / Driver Rating - 87.9 Rank 14th / Last 4 Races - 17th, 18th, 3rd and 9th Avg 11.75 Rank 9th
10. Clint Bowyer - Bowyer ran a typical Bowyer race last week at Chicago, a Top 10 without really being all that competitive. When he is competitive, he can win races and that is exactly what he has done here as he is the only driver to win more then one race here in the last ten; he has won two. He is a Top 10 driver statistically so anything is possible and he did have a great race here in the spring finishing 3rd at the end of the day. Top 10 ??
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 10.80 Rank 7th / Driver Rating - 96.0 Rank 6th / Last 4 Races - 1st, 17th, 26th and 3rd Avg 11.75 Rank 8th
The Best of the Rest
( Have a Good Chance to Finish in the Top 10 )
11. Ryan Newman - Finally had a great race last week and ended up with a Top 5 finish. Seems like that has been rare this year so despite one of the better records here at this track, I hesitate to pick him higher. He has won a race here in the last four and finished 10th in the spring race here.
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 10.00 Rank 5th / Driver Rating - 94.8 Rank 7th / Last 4 Races - 8th, 1st, 25th and 10th Avg 11.00 Rank 6th
12. Martin Truex Jr - If he is here, he is a tough competitor and you can bet that he will finish in the Top 15 somewhere. You can see by his stats that he is just a Top 20 driver here but the way he has run all year negates his past. Finished 11th in the spring race and I am looking for about that again.
Avg Finish Last 7 Races - 15.40 Rank 16th / Driver Rating - 86.2 Rank 16th / Last 4 Races - 20th, 8th, 16th and 11th Avg 13.75 Rank 12th
13. Matt Kenseth - Got off to a lousy start at Chicago in the Chase and can ill afford a second bad race this week. His record here would indicate that he could very well have another bad race as he has been so-so here in his career. In his last two races here though he has finished 6th and 13th.
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 15.80 Rank 17th / Driver Rating - 78.0 Rank 20th / Last 4 Races - 23rd, 20th, 6th and 13th Avg 15.50 Rank 15th
14. Joey Logano - Logano has been inconsistent all year so chances are not good that we will see anything special here this week. This is one of the better tracks for him as he has finished in the Top 15 in the last three races and he also has a Top 5 finish in there too. I am thinking Top 15 maybe
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 15.20 Rank 14th / Driver Rating - 71.0 Rank 22nd / Last 4 Races - 35th, 4th, 14th and 14th Avg 16.75 Rank 18th
15. Carl Edwards - Edwards has been a train wreck all year and still hasn't won a race all year so chances are not good he will win this race here at New Hampshire. In the last four races, his best finish here has been 8th and he has three Top 15 finishes in the last four races here at NHIS.
Avg Finish Last 5 Races - 15.00 Rank 13th / Driver Rating - 87.1 Rank 15th / Last 4 Races - 11th, 13th, 8th and 18th Avg 12.50 Rank 10th
Others to Watch : Juan Montoya, Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch
Head to Head
Swami's Top 5 Picks