Podium Preview: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

By all means, the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire proves quite special for 301 reasons. (Photo: Josh Jones/The Podium Finish)

By all means, the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire proves quite special for 301 reasons. (Photo: Josh Jones/The Podium Finish)

All things considered, the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway throws things back for NASCAR. Yes, race 22 of this cracking season serves as a return to paint trading, close quarters racing.

After all, what track best represents life in New England while driving at high speeds? Moreover, the premier stock car drivers take on a track that puts the racing back in their hands.

Each race weekend, The Podium Finish’s panelists preview each NASCAR Cup Series points-paying race. This weekend, Adam LucasAshley HobbsKobe Lambeth, Matt SisolerMichelle RaynorTaylor KitchenTerra Jones and yours truly ruminate over a potential Playoff spoiler and the next Hendrick driver who may conquer New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Podium Preview: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire
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Question 1
All in all, Matt DiBenedetto remains a win away from joining the Playoffs. (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

All in all, Matt DiBenedetto remains a win away from joining the Playoffs. (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Although New Hampshire does not host a Playoff race, it still plays a pivotal role with determining the Playoff field. After Kurt Busch’s win at Atlanta, which bubble racer has the best shot at winning in New Hampshire?

Hobbs : With five races left before the Playoffs that includes two road courses and Daytona International Speedway – anything can happen! That said, we cannot count out anyone at Daytona to make that last (lap) ditch effort to make it into the Playoffs.

As for this weekend, I am going to the trusty stats board! While Tyler Reddick is above the line, he could spoil the fun and solidify his space in the Playoffs and make it slightly more difficult for the guys on the outside to get in this weekend. I think we will have to wait until after the Olympics to see who might come and shake things up and bring some real pressure at Daytona.

Tiongson : I cannot dismiss Matt DiBenedetto or Ross Chastain. Presently, my gut feeling tells me that DiBenedetto ekes out a final Playoff spot. In this case, New Hampshire races similarly with Richmond, a track favorable for DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing team. If DiBenedetto and his team keep up with the changes in the early going of Sunday’s race, I look for “Guido” heading into the Olympic break with a solid top 10 result and 21 more reasons backing up this Playoff bound racer.

Lambeth : To be honest, I do not anticipate a bubble driver visiting victory lane in Loudon. However, I think we could see some bubble drivers play spoiler in the final races leading up to the playoffs. In my opinion, Tyler Reddick and Ross Chastain have the best shot at finding victory lane.

RCR is performing well and Chastain has a chip on his shoulder, especially with Chip Ganassi Racing ending its Cup Series program at the end of the year. But I would not count out Bubba Wallace in the regular season finale at Daytona. Lots of possibilities!

Sisoler: Hmm, guys who aren’t afraid to mix it up on short tracks. Sounds like our previous winner in Kurt Busch, but seeing as he’s already locked in, I’d say his teammate in Ross Chastain or maybe the fan-favorite Matt DiBenedetto, if given the chance, could be dangerous at New Hampshire. That being said, do not count out Tyler Reddick for some magic. Last year, no one saw the RCR 1-2 at Texas that Austin Dillon won coming, this time, it could be Reddick’s turn for the RCR upset winner.

Shoppe : While I don’t anticipate seeing a bubble driver or someone well below the cut line pulling off a win this weekend at NHMS, I did think the same thing last weekend. And look at what Kurt Busch was able to do! Chevy drivers Tyler Reddick and Ross Chastain are on the top of a short list that have had the speed at times this year to pull off a win. Look for the No. 8 team of Reddick to solidify their place in the playoffs and the No. 42 team of Chastain to put themselves in the hunt!

Question 2
Can Alex Bowman bring Hendrick Motorsports back into New Hampshire's victory lane? (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Can Alex Bowman bring Hendrick Motorsports back into New Hampshire’s victory lane? (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

It’s been over nine years since Hendrick Motorsports won at New Hampshire. Which driver has the best shot at snapping the team’s dry spell at “The Magic Mile” on Sunday?

Raynor : I am just going to say it. Kyle Larson! He has shown and proven that he is good at just about any type of track there is. Out of all the Hendrick drivers, I believe he is the one that can get it done. He seems to go into tracks that he’s never won at or not as good at with a different mindset. He takes on these challenges at these tracks with a winning attitude compared to the other teammates. 

Lucas : Everyone will say Kyle Larson because of obvious reasons. But in the words of ESPN College Football personality Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friends!” I think the sleeper pick from the Hendrick brigade for the Magic Mile is Alex Bowman. I’m going on a positive vibes based assumption for Alex this weekend. Nothing scientific based by any means, just a general and overall chemistry within his team is making me feel real good about his chances of snapping the Hendrick drought.

In all honesty, this weekend has a more probable chance of seeing one of the two veterans of the sport snapping their season long winless streaks, based on the different package that’s aided their results this season.

Jones : Honestly? I believe all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers have a shot. But since you asked for one, and only one can win, I would put my money on Kyle Larson. It’s no secret he is on fire right now and he probably wouldn’t mind marking down a short track in the win column for the ‘21 season.

Kitchen : Though Kyle Larson seems to be the obvious answer, I want to break down remaining drivers’ odds of winning the race.  

To start, the most consistent driver this season, William Byron, has an average finishing position of 12.33 according to DriverAverages.com, which is better than each of his teammates. New Hampshire Motor Speedway is also his fifth-best track. 

Starting this weekend’s race in fifth, Bowman could have a fair shot at the win, though his stats at the track prove otherwise. Yet, he does have momentum on his side, finishing the Quaker State 400 in fourth. 

The last member of the group is Elliott. Rolling off in P3 this weekend, he could be a factor. He finished last years race in ninth. 

All this to say, every member of HMS has a fair shot to snap the dry spell at “The Magic Mile”. But, if I had to choose, I think Byron would have to be the best bet given his impressive stats. 

Undoubtedly, this team proves fearless in its pursuit for that giant lobster. Next, we rewind back to last Sunday’s Quaker State 400 at Atlanta with our race and points reports!
Shoppe and Kitchen nearly won at Atlanta.

Shoppe and Kitchen nearly won at Atlanta.

Moreover, Hobbs enjoys her points lead.

Moreover, Hobbs enjoys her points lead.

Here, Ashley Hobbs crunches the numbers for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire!
First, consider how your favorite team fares in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire.

First, consider how your favorite team fares in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire.

Since 2004, the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire winner has an average starting spot of 11.9, led an average of 70.4 laps, started within the top five 29.41% of the time and started within the top 10 47.06% of the time.

Since 2004, the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire winner has an average starting spot of 11.9, led an average of 70.4 laps, started within the top five 29.41% of the time and started within the top 10 47.06% of the time.

Of course, Kyle Busch loves New Hampshire.

Of course, Kyle Busch loves New Hampshire.

Now, here's the trends in the past 10 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 races at New Hampshire..

Now, here’s the trends in the past 10 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 races at New Hampshire..

Next, consider the trends for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire since 2016.

Next, consider the trends for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire since 2016.

Whoa.

Whoa.

Now, check out the top 10 starters for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire.
Row 1
Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Row 2
Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Row 3
Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Row 4
Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick (Photo: Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Row 5
Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson (Photo: Sean Folsom and Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson (Photo: Sean Folsom and Mike Moore/The Podium Finish)

Lastly, here’s our picks for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire!
In this case, here's our Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 race picks.

In this case, here’s our Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 race picks.

Tiongson : Much like Kyle Busch, some might say that Chase Elliott turns the wick up during these summertime races. Look for Elliott to claim his first “Magic Mile” victory on Sunday.

TPF Stats : Following TPF rules, the math says Denny Hamlin will have a nice lobster dinner. However, The Machine has maxed out on Hamlin. So, who is next? None other than Kyle “Rowdy” Busch – who happens to have the best season stats on intermediate tracks. Lets get rowdy in New Hampshire!

Kitchen : Though my gut is telling me to go with the risky choice of Alex Bowman this weekend (the stats prove NHMS is not his best track), I have decided to play it safe this weekend. The driver I believe has the best chance of taking hone the lobster this weekend is Kyle Busch. He has momentum on his side and a recent win. He also seems to be the only driver to crack the code on how to put run HMS.

Raynor : Kyle Busch. He’s won here before and starts on the pole.

Sisoler : Picking the polesitter has to work eventually right? I went with Chase Elliott last weekend and didn’t quite get the results I was hoping for, but this time, I am going with the Candy Man, Kyle Busch. He always seems to excel at short tracks. And I think he’s gonna get it done and get the lobster trophy at New Hampshire!

Hobbs : Still hunting that elusive victory this year, it is Denny (Hamlin) Time in New Hampshire! He’s found victory at NHMS before and it is about time he does it again.

Lambeth : Despite very consistent performances this season from Denny Hamlin, he still has not been able to find victory lane yet. I think he will get the job done this weekend in Loudon. Maybe he won’t run from the lobster this time around!

Jones : Now that the news is officially out, I think Brad Keselowski will put all the speculation behind him and focus on the task at hand…getting a lobster in his hands!

Shoppe : Alex Bowman will give Hendrick Motorsports their first win in New Hampshire since Kasey Kahne in 2012!

Lucas : Old guys rule the day! Kevin Harvick will have Keelan chasing Delana in victory lane with the giant lobster.

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

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

Thanks as always to the TPF team for their amazing efforts this week!  Stay safe and wash your hands often. Help yourself, your family and friends by getting the COVID-19 vaccine! Take the shot to save your life and others! Also, thanks for reading our content throughout this season.

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.

Presently, Ashley Hobbs challenges each of our fans to participate in the 38 Challenge for mental health awareness! In this case, join her challenge now by visiting this link!

Also, if you are shopping for NASCAR or racing die-casts, be sure to check out our friends at Circle B Diecast! If your order is $20 or more, be sure to use coupon code TPF2021 for free shipping! Tell them we sent you and buy some new die-casts now!

Rob Tiongson

Rob Tiongson is a 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 his eyes.

From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat.

Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Communications at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's just as happy to be a Texan.

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