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New Hampshire 300

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The 19th race of the NASCAR Sprint up season takes us to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and as is always the case when races take place there, we have to take a look at what happened in previous races on the year at Phoenix and Richmond. Although all three tracks are configured different in size and shape, the one common denominator between them all is that they’re all relatively flat.

The best reason to group the three tracks together is that the crew chiefs for teams doing well at one of the tracks usually bring the same chassis to each. If it’s a good enough correlation for them, it should be good enough for bettors to follow their lead at the bet windows.

Carl Edwards won the Mar. 3 race at Phoenix and Kevin Harvick took the checkers at Richmond on Apr. 27. Edwards has never won on New Hampshire’s one-mile paper-clip layout, but Harvick did in 2006, a year he also won at Richmond and Phoenix. Both should be considered solid candidates to win this week. Edwards finished sixth at Richmond while Harvick was 13th at Phoenix.

Jimmie Johnson won his fourth race of the season Saturday at Daytona to tie Matt Kenseth for the most this season, and is a three-time winner at New Hampshire. He swept the two races during 2003 season and also won in 2010. He was runner-up to Denny Hamlin last fall, as well as finishing second to Edwards at Phoenix in March. Right now, despite Edwards and Harvick winning at Phoenix and Richmond this season, Johnson is the driver to beat on any track.

Hamlin’s New Hampshire win last fall was his second and he fits the mold of being a driver very adept at all three tracks. He also won at Phoenix last season and has two career wins at Richmond. He was third at Phoenix this season behind Edwards and Johnson. He’s had a tough go of it lately -- finishing 23rd or worse in his past four races, but this is a track that should get him back on his game. His 7.9 average finish in 14 New Hampshire starts is the best among all active drivers.

Tony Stewart is a three-time winner at New Hampshire, the last coming during the Chase on his way to a Championship during the 2011 season. His 111.7 NASCAR loop system driver rating over the past 16 New Hampshire races is the best among all drivers.

At the same time, Stewart's teammate Ryan Newman has to be considered as well. Newman won his third race at New Hampshire in 2011 finishing one spot above Stewart. He finished 10th in both races last season.

Clint Bowyer is a two-time winner here, which fits in perfectly with his past success at Phoenix and Richmond. He finished in third and fourth-place last season and was runner-up at Richmond in May and sixth at Phoenix in March.

The best longshot on the board looks to be Harvick’s teammate Jeff Burton at 75/1. He’s a four-time winner at New Hampshire, the last coming in 2000 while driving for Jack Roush. But based on his performance this season on similar tracks, and Harvick winning at Richmond, he’s live this week. He was 10th at Phoenix and fifth at Richmond.

Top-5 Finish prediction:

1) #99 Carl Edwards (25/1)
2) #48 Jimmie Johnson (5/1)
3) #11 Denny Hamlin (5/1)
4) #15 Clint Bowyer (10/1)
5) #29 Kevin Harvick (12/1)

NASCAR Expert Picks
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