Podium Preview: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

In a word, Sunday's Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 proves quite unpredictable! (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

In a word, Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 proves quite unpredictable! (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

If Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 proves quite competitive, this may be a byproduct of Playoff bubble teams making risky calls. By all means, Round 20 of the NASCAR Cup Series season may be wicked exciting, as New Englanders may say.

Whether race fans enjoy the action at New Hampshire Motor Speedway or not, the “Magic Mile” offers unique challenges to drivers and teams. Certainly, as a track that’s like a bigger Martinsville, it’s got superspeedway attitude with short track etiquette.

Ultimately, all eyes will focus on Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin for more reasons than one. After all, Harvick “deposited” a winning bump on Hamlin last year. More than that, these two drivers have been the class of the field.

Each week, The Podium Finish’s panelists, Ashley HobbsChrissi LuttrellCody Shoppe, Kobe LambethMatteo MarcheschiMichelle RaynorTerra Jones, and yours truly will share their thoughts on the latest happenings in NASCAR.

First, we consider the likelihood of a spoiler in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 and any potential Chevy contenders on Sunday!

Podium Preview: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire
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Question 1 
Basically, Kevin Harvick serves as the pied piper at New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Basically, Kevin Harvick serves as the pied piper at New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

With NASCAR shelving practices and qualifying for the remainder of the year, how do other teams catch up to the likes of Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick?

Sisoler :  It is going to take a lot for teams to find a way to catch up. We’ve seen drivers and teams of top-caliber be almost completely neutralized in terms of wins and results. This means we are going to need to see drivers on or near the playoff bubble take chances that they normally might not try to swipe a Playoff spot. 

Lambeth :  At this point in the regular season, I think the teams struggling to roll off the truck with the correct setup must roll the dice moving forward. As Rob mentioned below, drivers near the bubble or those on the outside looking in will be forced to take some risks if they want to secure a spot in the playoffs.

Both Daytona races at the road course and oval are wildcards. So, we could see a surprise winner earn a shot to fight for the championship. Overall, it is time for the teams to get their acts together and try their very best to bring a solid piece to the track each week. Winning would end sleepless nights as we get closer to the playoffs.

Tiongson :  Honestly, at some point, I think some drivers and teams like William Byron, Tyler Reddick, and even Jimmie Johnson may roll the dice if they’re on the lead lap towards the end of a race. In this case, I’d not be surprised to see the Chevrolet camp work closely to close the gap on the Ford and Toyota teams.

Whether that’s by sharing notes remotely or the manufacturer giving the teams some “tough love” like last fall at Talladega, we’ll see. Ultimately, the short answer to this question is that pit strategy and aggressive restarts are the only ways to dethrone Hamlin and Harvick.

Hobbs :  They don’t – or they would have figured something out by now. This new system of NASCAR’s is a mockery and will continue to benefit drivers like Harvick and Hamlin. They will consistently start in the top 12 all year and I reckon they will continue to finish very well. Without laps to figure out the car, teams must rely solely on data. As a numbers person, that can do wonders; but nothing replaces the hands on experience and getting the feel for the car on the track. It is evident that the vast majority falls into this bucket of data-only NASCAR is not conducive.

Shoppe :  It is going to take a lot of aggressive swings on pit road as far as adjustments and strategy to get ahead! At this point teams got that they got. A crew chief is going to have to continue to try to find that good setup to start off with but it could come down to an aggressive pit call staying out or going long in a green flag cycle to luck out with a yellow like we have seen already this year!

Question 2
Sooner or later, William Byron's aggression may pay dividends. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Sooner or later, William Byron’s aggression may pay dividends. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Loudon often gravitates towards Toyota and Ford teams. However, which Chevrolet team has the best shot at victory on Sunday?

Jones :  If I had to go with a Chevy team I’d be inclined to say Chase Elliott’s team given the fact he has won this year and is consistently at the front, with what feels like minimal mistakes. 

Marcheschi : Wishful thinking says Richard Childress Racing is on a hot streak after their 1-2 finish at Texas, but I’d need to see more consistency from them. Hendrick looks like the strongest Chevy team at the moment, with the number 9 team of Chase Elliott being the best individual team. However, Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, and Stewart-Haas Racing will likely make things awfully difficult for Elliott to take the win.

Raynor :  I would say no one since Chevy hasn’t won there since Kevin Harvick in his Chevy days; but if I had to pick I would say Chase Elliott. Elliott’s won this year and has been the better Chevy driver. Though, we could see strategy play out again and see maybe Reddick or Byron winning.

Without a doubt, two laps around New Hampshire proved quite easier than the trek on I-93 in Boston! Now, let’s bang a uey and reflect the action from Round 19 at Kansas Speedway!
Suffice to say, Sisoler sizzled at Kansas with Denny Hamlin!

Suffice to say, Sisoler sizzled at Kansas with Denny Hamlin!

Not to mention, the machine continues its dominant ways.

Not to mention, the machine continues its dominant ways.

Next, Ashley Hobbs crunches the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 numbers like nobody’s business.
First, let's consider how your favorite team fares in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.

First, let’s consider how your favorite team fares in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.

Without a doubt, it's quite competitive between Chevy and Toyota at New Hampshire.

Without a doubt, it’s quite competitive between Chevy and Toyota at New Hampshire.

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By all means, it's a Rowdy track.

By all means, it’s a Rowdy track.

Next, here's the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 trends since 2010.

Next, here’s the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 trends since 2010.

Here, you'll find the trends at New Hampshire in the past five races.

Here, you’ll find the trends at New Hampshire in the past five races.

Goodness, is our machine cheating on Kevin Harvick?

Goodness, is our machine cheating on Kevin Harvick?

Last but not least, here’s our picks for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301!
Goodness, just four race picks for New Hampshire?

Goodness, just four race picks for New Hampshire?

Hobbs :  Is it a shocker that the best drivers at NHMS are the best in 2020? No? Good. Well, time to shake it up with Brad Keselowski!

Shoppe :  After some struggles since the return of racing, Joey Logano will turn things around with a home-race victory in New England!

Tiongson :  I’m going to go out on a limb and pick a driver who’s got the letter e in their name. In this case, I’m choosing Ryan Blaney!

Jones :  I think it would be hard to bet against Denny Hamlin this weekend – or really any race for the remainder of the 2020 season!

Lambeth :  The No. 11 team is clicking on all cylinders and they are really becoming one of the favorites for the championship. Although he will probably stay far away from the lobster, I think Denny Hamlin will collect win No. 6 of the 2020 season!

Marcheschi :  Between his victory at Kansas, his stellar 2020 season so far, and his great record at New Hampshire, Denny Hamlin looks ready to take back-to-back victories at the Magic Mile. Hamlin has three wins there, along with a whopping 15 top tens and 662 laps led in 26 races. Look for Denny to take home the lobster… or he’ll let someone else take it home for him

Sisoler :  Denny Hamlin has been on a charge of late, and always runs well at New Hampshire. Look for this year’s standout driver from Joe Gibbs Racing to take his Toyota Camry to Victory Lane Sunday at NHMS. And then (somewhat grudgingly), he’ll take hold of the trophy lobster.

TPF Stats :  Status: It’s complicated (with Denny Hamlin).

Race fans, thanks for joining us for our preview of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301!

We’re ready for some racing. How about you? What do you think are the biggest storylines heading into this Sunday’s race? Who is your favorite to win?  Tweet us now @ThePodiumFinish and tell us now!

Thanks as always to the TPF team for their amazing efforts this week!  Let’s stay connected as we focus on getting back together on the track soon!  Please stay safe and wear a mask if you must go out!

The opinions and thoughts expressed in Podium Preview are solely of the authors. They do not reflect any organizations affiliated with the participants and author outside of TPF. This weekly feature is strictly for entertainment purposes. Ultimately, they are not indicative of TPF, the organization, and its staff.

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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