2007 NASCAR Fantasy Preview: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

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Johnson Defends His Title

Jimmie Johnson will begin defending his NASCAR championship this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway in the familiar top spot. Jimmie will start 20 points ahead of teammate, Jeff Gordon, by virtue of his series leading 6 wins. The only driver in the Chase who hasn’t won a race yet this season is Clint Bowyer, thus he will start 60 points behind Jimmie in 12th place in the standings.

Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing will each have 3 contenders in the Chase while Roush/Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing will each have 2 drivers in the field. Penske Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. will each have a single driver in the Chase. I predict that the Chase will come down to the final race at Homestead-Miami and it will be a battle between Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart for the championship. Right now I have to give the edge to Jimmie because his team is on top of their game right now and has all the momentum on their side.

My Pick To Win Loudon

So, for this week at Loudon I am picking Jimmie Johnson to win his 3rd straight race and put pressure on the rest of the Chase field right from the start. However I don’t think that this will knock anyone out of contention because just about every Chase driver runs well at Loudon and all could find themselves within the top 20 at the end of the race. 10 of the 12 Chase drivers finished in the top 13 in the spring race here.

New Hampshire Front Runners

Denny Hamlin should be battling up front most of the day. Denny won the race this spring and has finished 4th and 6th in his only other Cup starts here. Denny excels on the flatter tracks and hasn’t shown any signs of being fazed by pressure in either of his Cup seasons.

Jeff Gordon finished 2nd to Denny this spring but he hasn’t run consistently well at Loudon lately. Jeff only has 4 top 10 finishes in his last 12 starts here and hasn’t won at this track in a long time. However, Jeff had never won at Phoenix until this year on a very similar track and excels at Martinsville, which is also close to the same configuration.

Tony Stewart won here in the spring of 2005 and has finished 2nd the last 2 fall races here. Tony will definitely turn it up a notch heading into the Chase and is very capable of reeling off multiple wins in a row, as can Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

Matt Kenseth is one of the most consistent drivers at Loudon and had finished in the top 10 in 9 of his last 10 starts here. However the best he has finished in that stretch was 2nd one time. Matt has quietly had a great season so far and this team is capable of putting together a consistent Chase and winning the whole thing.

Kevin Harvick won last fall and his teammate, Jeff Burton, has done well here recently also. Both of these drivers have 4 straight top 10 finishes here and are both capable of coming away with the win this weekend.

The Busch brothers have both won here in the past. Kurt Busch swept the races here in 2004 while Kyle Busch got a win here in the spring of 2006. They are probably 2 of the most aggressive drivers that are in the Chase and if things go their way they could put on a 10-race domination like Kurt did during the first year of the Chase.

Yahoo! Fantasy Picks

Group A

  • Jeff Gordon (starter)
  • Jimmy Johnson

Group B

  • Denny Hamlin (starter)
  • Martin Truex Jr (starter)
  • Kurt Busch
  • Ryan Newman

Group C

  • Johnny Sauter (starter)
  • David Ragan

Stay Away From

  • Clint Bowyer

Dark Horse

  • Ryan Newman