This weekend NASCAR totally shifts gears, from the sprawling high banks for Daytona, to the one mile flat track at New Hampshire. It’s a big swing and always presents a challenge for drivers.
"It's really hard to pass, for one,” said Paul Mendard. New Hampshire is one of those tracks where everyone basically runs the same speed. There are usually about five guys that stand out and everyone else runs the same speed. It's really hard to pass, but it's a couple grooves so you just have to make your car work where the other guys can't. We'll try to work on that apron and get some good drive off, but you have to maintain the turn."
Among those who usually standout at New Hampshire; Jeff Burton (5 wins), Jeff Gordon (3), Tony Stewart (3), Ryan Newman (3), Jimmie Johnson (3), Kurt Busch (3), Denny Hamlin (2), Clint Bowyer (2), Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Gred Biffle, Brian Vickers,Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne.
“Loudon has always been a good and consistent track for us, and I’m really looking forward to this weekend,” said Gordon. “Hendrick Motorsports tested at New Hampshire a few weeks ago and I thought the No. 24 team had a really good test. We’ve had some good cars and some strong runs at Loudon recently, but that doesn’t make a weekend any easier. We still have to work hard from Friday morning through the end of the race on Sunday.”
One of those past winners will be up front when the field takes the green around 12:15 on Sunday, as Kyle Busch won the pole on Friday. Jimmie Johnson. Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray round out the top five.
“We’ve been close here,” said Busch. “I think the biggest thing is I always like to be able to take off and go and when I can take off and go -- it usually means I’m too tight halfway through the run and on after that -- and that’s when those guys seem to be able to beat us. The second race last year we ran a lot better on the long run, but the race was a little too short and ran out of time to our teammate (Kenseth).”
Kansas native Clint Bowyer rolls off eighth.