The NASCAR Cup Series is in Loudon, New Hampshire this weekend for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a 1.058-mile flat track, so when looking at similar loop data, it’s best to focus on Phoenix and Richmond as comp tracks. You could also throw in Martinsville and maybe Nashville in there, but they really don’t race like the other shorter flat tracks do, so it’s probably best to mainly look in to New Hampshire, Phoenix, and Richmond specifically. We’ve already had races at both Phoenix and Richmond earlier this year.
Be sure you check out the Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for this race (click here), and also this week’s episode of Stacking Dennys, the podcast RotoDoc and I started. You can listen to that by clicking here.
Kyle Busch is on the pole for Sunday’s race at New Hampshire, and his teammate, Martin Truex, Jr. will be starting 2nd. Joe Gibbs Racing has been strong here at Loudon over the years so it wouldn’t be surprising to see those two up front for most of the day on Sunday as well. You can click here to see the starting lineup for this weekend’s race to see where everyone else will line up. Now let’s get to the picks!
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on race day.*
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Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Loudon (Foxwoods Resort Casino 301)
Denny Hamlin ($12,200) – When most people think of flat tracks, they think of Denny Hamlin, and for good reason: he’s as solid as they get at this track type. Here at Loudon, Hamlin is one of only five active drivers with three of more victories, and he has the best average finish of any active driver (9.6) that has more than one start here. In 27 career starts at this track, Hamlin has posted 16 top 10s and only three results worse than 20th. The #11 Toyota will start from 6th here on Sunday at New Hampshire, so there’s a little bit of place differential upside there, and Hamlin should be able to contend for the win. He’s finished 1st or 2nd in three of the last five races at this track.
Joey Logano ($11,300) – There is zero percent change that I’m not picking Joey Logano this weekend. The guy is an absolute stud on the shorter flat tracks, and has a ridiculous average finish of 2.7 on them since the start of the 2020 season. This year, Logano finished 2nd at Phoenix and 3rd at Richmond, and his worst result on a shorter flat track over the last six races has been 4th. Just ridiculous. Just to give him even more upside, though, Logano starts back in 15th on Sunday, so he has great place differential potential as well.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,700) – The word “safe” and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. rarely go together in Fantasy NASCAR, but flat tracks are definitely the type where Stenhouse is pretty solid at finishing at. Obviously we could always have a situation like last week at Atlanta where Cody Ware takes out Stenhouse and Suarez again, but you can’t predict wrecks when it comes to fantasy picks. Anyway, Stenhouse starts back in 29th on Sunday but has legitimate top 15 potential. This year on the shorter flat tracks, he’s finished 12th at Phoenix and 17th at Richmond, and if you add in Martinsville (15th) and Nashville (6th), it’s an even more solid resumé. Here at New Hampshire specifically, Stenhouse has finished 15th or better in five of his last eight starts.
Kyle Busch ($11,900) – Taking the pole sitter in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest is always risky, simply because a bad race can absolutely kill your lineup due to the potential for negative points with lost place differential. Additionally, Kyle Busch has been anything but consistent at shorter flat tracks recently, with just one top 5 and three top 10s in the six shorter flat track races since the start of 2020. Now, obviously, this #18 team really struggled last season, but Rowdy wasn’t overly impressive at Phoenix or Richmond this year, either. Still, Kyle Busch is running better now than he has in quite a long time, and he’s a three-time winner at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Seeing him dominate this race on Sunday wouldn’t be a big surprise either.
Christopher Bell ($9,300) – The $9,300 salary is tough to fit into a great lineup, as well as the 9th-place starting spot, but Christopher Bell has very solid potential here on Sunday. He was absolutely dominant at this race track in the Xfinity Series and had top 5 potential in the Leavine Family Racing car here last season before he had a couple of tire issues during the race. This season on the shorter flat tracks, Bell has finished 9th at Phoenix and 4th at Richmond. Honestly, I’d consider CBell a sleeper for the win…
Matt DiBenedetto ($8,500) – It’ll be interesting to see when the “out the door” performance downturn occurs with Matt DiBenedetto since news just broke today that he doesn’t have a ride for the 2022 season, but not taking that into account, Matty D is a great sleeper pick at New Hampshire on Sunday. Penske overall is very strong at shorter flat tracks, and that extends to Wood Brothers Racing as well. This season, DiBenedetto came home 14th at Phoenix and then 9th at Richmond, and he also posted finishes of 8th in the second Phoenix race last year and 6th here at Loudon. DiBenedetto ran 5th here at Loudon in 2019 when he was with Leavine Family Racing.
“Race Winner” Pick = Denny Hamlin – My algorithm thinks it’s going to be Martin Truex, Jr. in victory lane on Sunday, but I have a feeling we will finally see Denny Hamlin get a win in 2021 this weekend. He’s finished 4th or better in four of the last five races at shorter flat tracks and has also led 205 laps (combined) here at Loudon over the last two years. If Dennis is going to really contend for the Championship this season, he needs a win or two before the Playoffs start. I just have a gut feeling that it comes on Sunday, although I will note that Hamlin has the #JordanJinx this weekend…