New Hampshire MotorSpeedway, Loudon, NH — August 4, 2020
By most accounts, Aric Almirola has had a great year in the NASCAR Cup Series. Five top-five finishes, 11 top-10’s, 8th in points, and a comfortable 134 buffer above the cut line for the playoffs. He has done everything but win a race. Almirola is trying to become the 3rd member of Stewart-Haas Racing to secure a playoff spot (Harvick & Custer in) he started from the pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.
Denny Hamlin, who has already won five times this year, started beside Almirola on the front row. Hamlin owns three wins at the New England track and was a favorite to pick up a 4th victory there.
Three drivers were sent to the rear of the field, Bubba Wallace and Corey LaJoie because of improperly mounted ballast that was discovered during pre-race inspection. Austin Dillon because of unapproved adjustments.
Stage 1 Sets Tone for the Race
Almirola took the lead on the start but it did not last long. Brad Keselowski drove from 5th place to the lead. Keselowski, Hamlin, and Ryan Blaney staged an entertaining battle for the lead throughout the 1st Stage.
Kyle Busch’s troubles in 2020 continued, 15 laps in Busch blew a right-front tire, hit the wall, and retired to the garage out of the race.
Keselowski Wins New Hampshire, 11th Ford Mustang Victory in 2020
Ultimately the battle narrowed down to Keselowski versus Hamlin, with Brad getting his 3rd win of the year and 6th win for Team Penske. He also got the Giant Lobster. Keselowski’s victory was the 11th win this year for Ford Performance in 22 events. With the doubleheader at Michigan International Speedway, this weekend brand dominance will get a lot of attention.
With 6 races left before the playoffs, the standings are providing a clearer picture of where drivers stand in the quest for the 16 playoff spots. The Top-10 drivers are locked in with wins, Aric Almirola and the Busch brothers are looking good on points. Despite Kyle’s last-place finish earning just a single point at New Hampshire, he sits 13th 94 points above the cut line. Clint Bowyer +43 and Matt DiBenedetto +40 have a little breathing room.
William Byron sits on the bubble with a slim 15 point lead over Tyler Reddick. Jimmie Johnson is 25 back and Erik Jones trails by 31. For anyone else to crack the top 16 it will take a win in the remaining 6 races to qualify. Should that happen it will make it very difficult for those four to find a spot on points.
Michigan’s doubleheader Saturday and Sunday will further clarify the standings.
|7||Martin Truex Jr.||648||1||In-Win|
|Playoff Cut Line|
*Ford Mustang Drivers
Michigan International Speedway’s Race Weekend
Sorry, it is still racing with no fans at Michigan International Speedway. Because the pandemic caused the postponement of the June race weekend. The NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 will be held on Saturday, August 8 at 4:00 pm (NBCSN), while the Consumers Energy 400 will take place the following day at 4:30 pm (NBCSN).
The top-finishing OEM from the weekend Cup Series events will be presented with the Michigan Heritage Trophy, which has been awarded by MIS since 2013. The distance for each race will be 312 miles.
“The Michigan Heritage Trophy is one of the more unique and coveted prizes in NASCAR,” said Michigan International Speedway President Rick Brenner. “The competitive spirit at any race, especially at MIS, isn’t just confined to the drivers, and this trophy allows the winning manufacturer to boast about their accomplishment. We are thrilled that the race teams have joined us this year in recognizing the prominence of this trophy to our sport and in the state of Michigan, and look forward to an amazing doubleheader of racing in the Cup Series this weekend.”
In an interview today with Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports we asked if “Having two race dates at MIS was important to Ford Motor Company?” His response gave an indication of what we might expect for the future at our local track. “Two races, yes… Two dates, we are open to doubleheaders like we are having this weekend, they have been successful at other tracks, so we would be open to having discussions about that.”
The Lasco Press will be at MIS for live coverage of Friday’s truck race and Sunday’s Cup race. Stay Tuned!
Bubba Wallace Offered Ownership Percentage of Richard Petty Motorsports
In the final year of his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports, Bubba Wallace has been offered a percentage of team ownership if he commits to a long term contract with the team. Team owner Andrew Murstein confirmed that was the state of current contract negotiations. Chip Ganassi Racing had been rumored to have interest in Wallace as NASCAR’s Silly Season rolls on.
Results of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway
|3||19||Martin Truex Jr.||6.075||301|
|14||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||23.137||301|
|36||38||John Hunter Nemechek||-89||212|