After what could only be considered a “break” in COVID-19 NASCAR, the Cup Series makes the jump back to the northeast. Therefore, let’s jump into this week’s NASCAR DFS preview for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a glance at some NASCAR DFS picks and some of the NASCAR odds.
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An Odd Track for its Time
Loudon, as its affectionately known, is a dinosaur even though it’s only 30 years old. This odd, pill-shaped, one-mile oval is a throwback to tracks of yesteryear when NASCAR was in the process of embracing the intermediate oval. During the time that this track was purchased by the Bahre family, short tracks were falling out of fashion in NASCAR circles. Drivers and teams were tired of spending money to build cars, travel, practice and still fail to qualify because shorter tracks would only run a partial field. Sponsors were tired of throwing millions of dollars at cars just to see what amounted to them as a professional demolition derby.
Thus came the birth of intermediate tracks around the country in the mid-t0-late 90s to solve these woes. Meanwhile, tucked away in Loudon, N.H., NASCAR had just begun to race annually. Initially racing was a giant success. Following 1996, New Hampshire was awarded a second annual race, but it was at the cost of North Wilkesboro losing its lone race.
Fast forward 20 years and what happened to tracks like North Wilkesboro and Rockingham is now staring Loudon in the face. 2017 became the last year New Hampshire would host two races as Loudon lost its fall-playoff race to Las Vegas. Coincidentally, that was the last year the track would host the Truck Series. As part of the Speedway Motorsports group of tracks, real fear exists as to when SMI will pull the plug on Loudon.
Thanks in part to the revised schedule for 2020, DFS research for Loudon is going to be tough. Yes, we have plenty of past race data to look back upon. However, we only have one race at New Hampshire with the 750-horsepower package. Furthermore, if looking for corollary tracks to help point us in the right direction, the data is limited.
So far this season, NASCAR has run a total of four races utilizing the 750-horsepower package. However, two of those races occurred at Bristol, and one of those two races was an exhibition race. So, just seven races away from the regular-season finale at Daytona, we really only have two races to give us any sort of indication towards driver success Sunday. When you realize you’re taking a race from March at Phoenix and a Wednesday night race in May at Martinsville as your two corollaries, things get even fishier.
Therefore, be aware that we’re swimming in a shallow pool of NASCAR DFS data this week.
NASCAR DFS Laps Led Data
We do have one static aspect of Loudon though. It’s the track itself. Since 2002, New Hampshire has remained the same track wise. Thus, if you’re of the opinion that at short tracks, the package being raced doesn’t impact driving all that much, then you’re in luck. One thing to note is that last year’s version of the 750 horsepower package made it nearly impossible to pass the leader.
Above is your typical laps led chart we review each week with just how many laps the top lap leaders are leading. With 300/301 laps on tap, the steady drumbeat has been to expect the top lap leader to lead anywhere from a third to even half of the race. The fall races, versus those in the summer, had a tendency to see the top lap leader lead even more laps. However, with cooler temperatures in September versus July, that outcome should be expected.
As per the secondary lap leader, ever since 2016 their total number of laps led has steadily approached that of the primary lap leader. During this same time period, we’ve had a third driver lead 10% or more of the race in 5-of-6 races. If our third lap leader hits the 40 laps-led mark once again, like the last two races, then roster construction on DraftKings will definitely skew towards three dominators.
Can we Trust the Pole Sitter?
After what we just witnessed at Kansas with Kevin Harvick, this is perhaps the biggest question left to solve each week. The pole sitter has gone through ebbs and flows towards their performance at Loudon. Oddly, it seemed what happened to them in the summer race following through in the fall.
|Laps Led||Fastest laps||Finish||Avg Run Pos|
Since we only have a single race each season, we have no past data to judge expectations against for 2020. However, this is the third year of such circumstances. In 2018, the pole sitter (Kurt Busch) led 94 laps and finished eighth. Meanwhile, in 2019, the pole sitter (Brad Keselowski) led just 12 laps and finished 10th.
What About Those Track Corollaries?
Phoenix – This race turned out to be fairly chalky as per DFS. Our pole sitter (Chase Elliott) led 93 laps while Harvick started second and led 67 laps. However, part of that chalk that didn’t work out was Tyler Reddick starting 29th and Austin Dillon starting 30th, both wrecking out. Regardless, there was so much overlap in terms of lineup construction you could place in the green and still end up losing money via the hundreds or thousands of ties.
What set that day apart at Phoenix was the duo of Joey Logano and Keselowski both leading 60 laps from the 13th and 14th starting spots, respectively. Logano took the lead from Keselowski with 24 to go and held on despite an overtime finish.
Martinsville – This race turned out to be fairly hectic. Within the first 100 laps, several big-name contenders were lapped including Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. Blaney and Keselowski ended up fine, getting their laps back and fighting to get upfront. However, Busch and Hamlin weren’t so fortunate.
Regardless, Logano made amends for his 2019 showing at Martinsville by leading nearly half of the event (234 laps). Martin Truex Jr. showed his continued prowess for the evening into night races, as he took the lead on lap 370 and never yielded it.
Related NASCAR DFS Picks & Content
- The Awesemo YouTube Channel – Weekly NASCAR DFS Picks & Strategy Show
- NASCAR DFS Picks Top Drivers Tool – Dominators on FanDuel and DraftKings (PREMIUM)
- NASCAR DFS Rankings for DraftKings and FanDuel (PREMIUM)
- NASCAR Ownership Projections for DraftKings and FanDuel (PREMIUM)
- NASCAR Projections for DraftKings and FanDuel (PREMIUM)