Seven races in 27 days will finish up the NASCAR Cup Series regular season. The lone stop in Loudon, New Hampshire comes this week for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. With just seven races left, 10 playoff spots are accounted for, which means that the drivers on or around the cut line need to be a lot more aggressive over these final races.
There are two Daytona races, where anything can happen, but you don’t want to put your hopes on a wreck or some fluky occurrence. You want to win your way in this week. And if it doesn’t happen this week, then it has to be next week. In other words, we should see some exciting and aggressive racing.
We’ll break down the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 with odds from MyBookie Sportsbook and give you what you need to know in order to make some money on this race.
|MARTIN TRUEX JR.||+700|
|RICKY STENHOUSE JR||+15000|
|JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK||+25000|
|DARRELL WALLACE JR||+30000|
Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are the co-favorites at +400 with nine races between them out of the 19 races so far. Hamlin scored his fifth last week at Kansas to take the outright lead in that department. Harvick scored his sixth straight top-five finish.
Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Martin Truex Jr. are the co-second favorites at +700. Blaney’s price is better elsewhere in the market, but you can see the respect that his fast car has gotten in recent weeks.
As usual, there are seven drivers given a chance to win and then a big gap down to Kurt Busch at +2500 and Alex Bowman at +2800. Making NASCAR odds has never been easier with how this season has played out.
As mentioned, there are 10 playoff spots spoken for as we head into Race #20. Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Blaney, Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Truex Jr., Bowman, Austin Dillon, and Cole Custer have those by virtue of winning a race. Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, and Kurt Busch will all be safely in the playoffs after this week, but none of them have a win.
Clint Bowyer and Matt DiBenedetto have some decent cushions in the points department, but have not clinched a playoff spot as of yet. William Byron, Tyler Reddick, Erik Jones, and Jimmie Johnson all have some shaky times ahead. Custer is 82 points behind Johnson, but he won at Kentucky, so he is in, unless some crazy happens with the race winners over the next seven races and several drivers ahead of him without a win get one.
The Magic Mile
New Hampshire Motor Speedway used to be a twice-a-year stop for the NASCAR Cup Series, but that is no longer the case. The second race got swallowed up by a second date in Las Vegas. That took away New Hampshire’s playoff race. Instead, they have just one race and it is this Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.
This is a 1.058-mile asphalt and granite oval in the tiny town of Loudon, which has less than 6,000 people. This track opened in 1990 and hosted its first Cup Series race in 1993. Rusty Wallace won that one.
This is a very flat track with low-banked turns. There were nine cautions last year and seven each of the previous three years. Last year’s race was the longest since 2013, which needed an overtime finish won by Brian Vickers.
As mentioned, this used to be a twice-a-year stop, so a lot of drivers have a lot of starts here. Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick are tied for the most top-five finishes with 12 apiece. Kyle Busch has 11, but he’s run eight fewer races here than Harvick and nine fewer than Kenseth, so he has been one of the best.
Jimmie Johnson has 10 top-five finishes here, but his most recent one was back in 2014. Denny Hamlin also has 10 top-five finishes here in just 26 races and is the highest average finisher in the field in 9.9th place.
Harvick has the most wins here with four, but Kenseth, Busch, Johnson, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Newman all have three career wins on the track. Harvick is the back-to-back reigning champ of this race. Hamlin won it in 2017.
Brad Keselowski has also fared pretty well here. In 19 career starts, he’s got seven top-five finishes and 12 in the top 10. He’s also been the polesitter four times. He’s got one win, which came back in 2014.
Fade the Favorites?
Can we really fade Harvick and Hamlin here? Harvick has won this race in back-to-back years and also won the fall race back in 2016. Over his last 10 starts here, he’s got seven top-five finishes. Hamlin was the runner-up last year and also the runner-up in the fall of 2015 to go along with that win in 2017.
Those have consistently been two of the fastest cars on the track and, coincidentally, two of the best cars here.
If you wanted to fade them, which direction would you go? Is the price good enough at +700 on Truex Jr. to take him? He’s finished in the top seven in each of his last five stops at New Hampshire. Blaney is also +700 with three straight top-10 finished here.
What about long shot gambles? How about Matt Kenseth, who has two wins and four additional top-five finishes here dating back to 2014. Is he able to turn back the clock this week and put together his best effort of the season? Is +5000 enough to try?
What about another long shot in Ryan Newman at +10000? Newman was sixth here two years ago and seventh last year.
Is this the week that Kyle Busch finally breaks through? Over his last 10 starts here, he has eight top-10 finishes and two wins, with the most recent in the second NHMS race of 2017. He was runner-up two years ago and eighth last year. We keep waiting for him to break through, and he did win Stage 1 last week, but you’re burning up money if you’re betting on Busch every week.
Skirting the favorites is really tricky this week. Harvick has found a groove over his last six starts on the bigger ovals. Hamlin is more of a short-track guy historically. With that in mind, Hamlin over Harvick in matchups is a decent bet and so, too, is Hamlin to win.
As far as other options, there are less entertaining ways to light money on fire than betting Kyle Busch this week, so he also makes the cut. Expect a chalkier winner here.
Coverage of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 will be on NBC Sports Network with a 3 p.m. ET start time on Sunday August 2.