NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire

Okay, so how did Atlanta Motor Speedway transform into a pack-racing track? The racing sure was exciting and the finish a fan-favorite with Georgia native Chase Elliott in Victory Lane. (Okay, so some fans weren't happy. Elliott is surprisingly polarizing for a four-time Most Popular Driver.)  Corey LaJoie made him earn it though. What a race!

I'm not sure if New Hampshire can match the many story lines from last week-- unless, of course, last year's winner Aric Almirola takes the checkered flag. New Hampshire is the site of Almirola's last win. Currently, the Tampa native sits 18th in the points standings, 42 points behind Christopher Bell in the 16th and final transfer spot on points.
This week's pick strategy: This week I feel comfortable with shying away from the Hendrick Motorsports camp. I'm going to focus on Fords and Toyotas and those drivers who traditionally do well on flat tracks. Hmm. Hello, Denny Hamlin.

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 6 Races 2017-2021):
All with 5 - Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano
Both with 4 - Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney
All with 3 - Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola, and Kyle Busch

Top 10 in Average Finishing Position at New Hampshire
Top 5 in Top 5 Finishes at New Hampshire


Recent Pole Winner:
2021 Kyle Busch (Set by Metric Qualifying)
2020 Aric Almirola (Random Draw)
2019 Brad Keselowski
Last Year's Race Winner: Aric Almirola
The Likely Suspects: My New Hampshire go-tos include Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, and Aric Almirola.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is Denny Hamlin. My next picks are Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, and Ross Chastain. I will complete my roster with Daniel Suarez and Cole Custer.

My Final Four: Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, and Daniel Suarez.

Second-Look Driver: This week's sleeper pick is Brad Keselowski. New Hampshire is arguably one of Brad's best tracks with two wins, nine Top 5s, 14 Top 10s, and four poles with the second-best average finish in the field. Keselowski finished third in this race last season and in total has made 21 series starts here. If he can pull this off, he would punt Christopher Bell out of the Playoff transfer position and move Truex Jr. down to the cutline. Can Brad go from 30th position in points to the Playoffs? Now that would be a great Cinderella story!

Points to Ponder:
  • The first starting position is the most prolific starting position in the field, producing more winners (six) than any other starting position at New Hampshire.   
  • Six of the 50 (12%) NASCAR Cup Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway have been won from the first starting position. The most recent was Kyle Busch in 2017.
  • Five different manufacturers have won at New Hampshire in the Cup Series, led by Chevrolet with 19 victories, followed by Ford with 17, and Toyota with nine.
  • Seven of the 25 NASCAR Cup Series New Hampshire winners are active this weekend: Kevin Harvick with four, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Kyle Busch with three each,  Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano with two each, and Aric Almirola with one win.
  • Joe Gibbs Racing leads the series in wins at New Hampshire in the NASCAR Cup Series with 11 victories.
  • Among active drivers, Denny Hamlin leads the series in runner-up finishes at New Hampshire with six.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers in Top 5s at New Hampshire with 13 as well as in Top 10s with 22.
  • Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in laps led at New Hampshire with 1,134 laps led in 31 starts.  
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, July 16th, and your picks by 3 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, July 17th.

Enjoy the race!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 16 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.
When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, July 15, 2022 Rating: 5