Updated: Jul 30
Written by Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Sharifah Zaqreeztrina
After an anti-climatic end to the Atlanta 400 due to poor weather conditions, NASCAR heads to Loudon, New Hampshire for the 20th race of the season. In the 30th running of the Crayon 301, can Chevrolet break their 11 year drought at this track? Or would past winners in the form of Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick take their third win at this historic track?
This track is 1.058 miles (1.703 kilometers) long, a typical oval speedway. The track runs anticlockwise and the pit entry lies after turn four, and the pit exit sits before the start of turn one.
One interesting fact about the turns is that it is technically flat. That means drivers are more prone to sliding onto the top of the track, hitting the wall and causing multiple cautions. In the previous year, this race had a grand total of nine cautions, spanning over 52 laps, around 1/6th of the race which means the race will drag on for over three hours.
A driver strategy I discovered while studying last year’s race, is that the fastest drivers either enter corners in the bottom line and stick to the apex until they approach the exit, or they enter the corner in the third line, carry on the third and take a sharp exit on the second lane. Meanwhile, the slower drivers tend to slide around the track, which could be an indicator on who would struggle in the race when referring to practice or qualifying sessions.
The race will commence on July 16th, 2:30 pm ET (11:30 am PT, 8:30 pm CET).
This track hasn’t been in Chevrolet’s favor for a long time. They have gone more than a decade without winning in New Hampshire, and the poor luck might just continue. Vegas odds currently favor the top Toyota drivers: Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr at +600, and there is a good reason for that.
Toyota dominated the race last year, with Truex Jr winning the first two stages, while Bell went on to win the race in truly dominating fashion. On that day, five of the top ten finishes were Toyota Camrys. Factor in the recent good run of performance for the Toyotas, they are the big favorites for the upcoming race.
However, Fords aren’t exactly pushovers. Kevin Harvick is also among the favorites to take the victory. He has won this race twice in the past, the latest in 2019. SInce Stewart-Haas switched to Ford, Harvick has never been outside of the top six in New Hampshire. If anyone is going to pull off a shocker, it's going to be The Closer.