Published on July 18th, 2011 | by Shannon Baxter1
New Hampshire Review: Stewart Haas Dominates
It was a Stewart Haas Racing domination at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart qualified on the front row and finished in the same position. This isn’t the first time these two drivers have finished first and second at New Hampshire. In the 2005 Sylvania 300, Newman won the race driving for Penske Racing and Stewart finished second for Joe Gibbs Racing.
This is Newman’s 15th career Sprint Cup Series win and his first win this season. The victory has moved him up to eighth place in points, 66 points behind leader Carl Edwards. Stewart is now 11th spot, 82 points back.
Comebacks Of The Race
Both Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin got into trouble early in the race. On lap 171, Hamlin got turned around by AJ Almendinger but did not suffer any damage to the car. He finished the race in third spot and maintained his 10th place points position.
On lap 240, Johnson spun and had to restart 27th. He came back to finish the race in fifth spot. He is now second in the Cup points, trailing the leaders by seven points.
For the first half of the season, Dale Earnhardt Jr seemed to have his mojo back and was running in the top 10 every week. His success started to fade at Michigan International Speedway, and his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team has continued its downhill slide. In the past five races, he hasn’t finished higher than 15th. He has now dropped from third to ninth in points, and is just seven points out of 10th place. Is it time for Junior to hit the panic button? Not just yet.
There are seven races until the Richmond race that will determine who makes the Chase. Some of Junior’s best tracks will be coming up; Michigan, Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, etc. Hopefully this off-weekend he can shake off the bad luck and get his mojo back for Indianpolis Motor Speedway. I know all of his fans would love to see him in contention for the Sprint Cup Championship this season. Don’t count Earnhardt out yet, he’s a man on a mission.
Busch Loses Points Lead
Kyle Busch went into Loudon with the points lead, but lost it when he blew a tire on lap 59. Busch went to the pits on lap 31 for four tires and restarted deep in the field on lap 35. He was making his way through the field when he made slight contact with Earnhardt Jr.
Shortly thereafter, his tire blew and he hit the wall. Busch, however, said that the contact is not what caused the tire to blow. “Nice try at making up a story,” Busch said. “There’s contact with everybody out there. It had nothing to do with anybody else. Just blew a bead. Too much brake heat transferring through the wheel and blew a tire. Nothing else besides that.”
The Cup series takes a break this weekend and then we are off to the prestigious Brickyard 400. I’m going to go ahead and say Tony Stewart is my pick for the race. He is eager to make his way into the top 10 in points and get a win at his home track.