2007 LENOX Industrial Tools 300 Preview:
The 2007 LENOX Industrial Tools 300 is a key point in the NEXTEL Cup season. This race marks the beginning of The Race to the Chase as there are ten races left until the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup begins. Teams battling for a spot inside the top twelve in points will start to feel the pressure as time is running out.
New Hampshire International Speedway will also host the first race of the Chase for the Cup when the series returns here in September. This makes this weekend a key event as teams prepare for that critical first Chase race.
Speedway ticket office (603) 783-4931
The 1.058 mile perfect oval that is New Hampshire International Speedway has only 12 degrees of banking in the corners. The straightaways measure 1,500 feet each to make this a true symmetrical oval. The flat corners can make passing difficult as there is usually only one groove.
300 laps = 317.4 miles
The Big Picture:
Jeff Gordon posted another top ten last week to maintain his lead however NASCAR penalized him 100 points which closed the gap between he and Denny Hamlin somewhat. Jimmie Johnson's penalty cost him a few spots in the points but he is still comfortably in the Chase.
The current top twelve in points are:
- Jeff Gordon -0
- Denny Hamlin -171
- Matt Kenseth -333
- Jeff Burton -354
- Jimmie Johnson -366
- Tony Stewart -380
- Carl Edwards -419
- Kevin Harvick -474
- Clint Bowyer -504
- Kyle Busch -533
- Martin Truex Jr. -575
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. -623
NASCAR announced penalties this week to Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson
for illegal modifications their teams made to the front fenders of their cars last week at Infineon Raceway. Both teams were fined $100,000 and docked 100 driver points. In addition both drivers' crew chiefs were suspended for 6 races. These penalties will be a hot topic this week in New Hampshire.
Also, teams will be taking careful notes this weekend since the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup will kick off in New Hampshire just eleven weeks from now. For teams solidly in the Chase this week is an important test session for their Championship run.
TV: TNT Sunday, July 1st, 1:00PM Eastern.
Radio: MRN and SIRIUS Satellite
Actual Race: 2:30PM Eastern
In 2006 Kyle Busch survived a green-white-checkers overtime finish to take the New Hampshire victory. Some big names had troubles as Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. all suffered at the hands of the challenging one mile oval hurting their efforts to qualify for the Chase.
In 2005 Tony Stewart had a 1.5 average finish in the two races at NHIS. He won the first race and finished a very close second in the Fall behind Ryan Newman. In 2006 Stewart was bumped and crashed while leading in the first race and then finished second in September. His Joe Gibbs team has that flat track dialed in and Tony knows how to get around there.
It is impossible to come to New Hampshire and not consider Tony Stewart the favorite.
For my backup pick this week I'm going to go with Tony's teammate Denny Hamlin. Hamlin had a good run going here last year but ran out of gas during the overtime finish. In the fall Hamlin was again up front, managing a fourth place effort. Denny Hamlin makes a solid backup pick this weekend in Loudon.