Race Day: It’s A Question Worth Repeating
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
A lot has been made this weekend about the fact that nobody has repeated as a winner in a Sprint Cup car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the last eight races. In the Nationwide series, there has never been a repeat winner – that is a span of 23 races and includes Saturday’s event.
So, what’s the deal?
Just circumstances? Crazy track? Yankee conspiracy? Obama?
Drivers were asked that question during Friday’s media blitz at New Hampshire and here are some of their answers:
Jeff Gordon: “I think it is because track position and pit strategy plays out so much here that, you’ll get guys that take some big risks. Obviously last year here, Kurt Busch took a big risk by staying out when it rained and that paid for them. Then you have seen guys take two tires, no tires, you just see so many different strategies that have paid off here. The fastest car doesn’t always win at a track like this. It is more true here than others because it is tough to pass. With the aerodynamics, especially with this car, being out front is huge.”
Tony Stewart: “I can honestly say I’ve never thought of that. Never have (laughs); I don’t know, I honestly don’t have a good answer for you. I think every year this track changes a little bit and every year everybody gets a little bit better on what it takes to be good here. This is a unique place and I think that’s the reason guys every year kind of hit it or miss it. Obviously weather has played factors at a couple of these races and changed the outcome. Other than that, I really don’t know.”
Denny Hamlin: “I think it’s a hard race track for anyone to really dominate. The setups here have changed a lot. I know we’ve had a lot of success here each time we’ve been here but we’ve been here with a different setup every single time. It’s just a real hard track to kind of perfect and get right. I think the drivers can make up for a little bit but I think for the team guys, I don’t think we’ve got it figured out on the car side yet. I don’t think anyone has.”
Greg Biffle: “Certainly, this race track is one of the harder flat tracks that we go to. It’s really, really flat, and I think that it changes a lot, and the guy that hits it just right that weekend is why you see different winners all the time with no repeat winners. Hopefully, we’ll break that trend this weekend. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Matt Kenseth: “Last spring’s race was unique, obviously, with the rain situation, so some of the guys gambled on being out front and pulling a win off like that, so that was interesting. But, I think track position is important here, obviously, it’s better to pass than it used to be a long time ago. But, just like everywhere we go, track position is important. And you try to get your car to turn really good and then try to have track position at the end.”
Carl Edwards: “Because this track is straightforward – it’s very smooth, it’s a perfect oval, it’s a very, very technical race track – so, I’ve come here and had the fastest car, we had that Red Sox car that one year and it was just outstanding, I’ve come here and couldn’t run 20th to save my life, so it’s based how well your crew chief gets that car perfect and how precise you can be as a driver. I think one of the reasons you see all the different winners is because it’s almost a strategy race. It’s a tough track to pass on. If a guy gets out front you can go a little faster than if you’re fifth or sixth. So, yeah, we come into this one – if we unload and my car’s fast right off that bat, it’s going to be great. If it’s not, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. It’s a very technical race track.”
Fast Facts For New Hampshire
Race: LENOX Industrial Tools 301
The Date: Sunday, June 28
The Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway; 1.058-mile oval
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
The Distance: 318.46 miles/301 laps
TV: TNT, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN and Sirius Satellite
2008 Polesitter: Patrick Carpentier
2008 Winner: Kurt Busch
Today’s Polesitter: Tony Stewart (owner points because of rain)
Up Next: Daytona International Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitors return to Florida next week for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Superspeedway.
The Saturday, July 4 event will be televised by TNT. The pre-race show starts at 6:30 p.m. ET with the race starting at approximately 8 p.m.
Kyle Busch is the defending champion of the Coke Zero 400. Last year’s victory marked his first at the 2.5-mile venue.
Paul Menard (No. 98 Moen/Menards Ford) is the defending pole winner. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six wins at Daytona.
– Jim Pedley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgOne Comment