For the first time this season, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is headed back to New England, as drivers are set to compete in Sunday’s New Hampshire 301.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway is one of the most challenging tracks on the schedule, as it’s known for making passing very difficult. Many drivers struggle at Loudon, N.H., thanks to its corners low banking. Predicting who will succeed at NHMS can be tough, which is where we come in.
Whether you need help picking an A-List driver who has a shot at winning or an up-and-coming C-List racer who could help steal you some points, we’ve got you covered. Here are the drivers you should give seats to, and the ones you shouldn’t, for Sunday’s race at the “Magic Mile”:
Must pick: Kevin Harvick
Harvick’s been racing extremely well lately, and we expect that to continue Sunday.
He won at this track in September, and has dominated at NHMS in recent years. In his last five starts at the “Magic Mile,” the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has finished in the top five on four occasions. Make sure he’s in your lineups this weekend.
Stay away: Chase Elliott
Elliott only has two Cup starts at NHMS so far in his career, and he didn’t do well in either of them, finishing 34th and 13th, respectively. But small sample size isn’t the only reason we’re steering clear of the Hendrick Motorsports driver.
Elliott’s been racing great lately, but the fact remains he’s simply too hit or miss on flat tracks. At this point in your season, you need your B-List drivers to be sure bets. Look elsewhere Sunday.
Sleeper pick: Matt Kenseth
“But NESN Fuel, Matt Kenseth is an A-List driver, how could he be a sleeper?”
We know, we know. But Kenseth has had such a down season that most fantasy owners probably have abandoned him at this point, and justifiably so. But if there’s any time to count on the 45-year-old, it’s now. Kenseth has won two of the last three races at New Hampshire, and he finished runner-up in the one race he didn’t win. Furthermore, Kenseth has finished in the top 10 in seven of his eight starts at NHMS with Joe Gibbs Racing. He’s worth a look this weekend.
Value pick: Erik Jones
There’s no need to throw a Hail Mary at this point in the season. Jones is the best C-List driver in the sport, and needs to be in your lineups. If, for some reason, you’ve already used all his starts, then feel free to plug in fellow rookie driver Daniel Suarez. But if the Jones is available, start him with confidence.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew O’Haren/USA TODAY Sports Images