ThatsRacin

NASCAR: 5-Hour Energy 301 preview in 3 minutes

Driver Clint Bowyer has a selfie taken with a fan as he heads to his garage at the start of practice for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H., Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Driver Clint Bowyer has a selfie taken with a fan as he heads to his garage at the start of practice for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H., Saturday, July 18, 2015. AP

Everything you need to know about Sunday’s 5-Hour Energy 301 at New Hampshire, in three minutes:

Three things to watch

1. Kyle Busch, who has won two of the last three races, continues his quest to break into the top 30 in Sprint Cup points so he can use those wins in the Chase.

2. There have been 11 different winners in the last 11 Cup races at New Hampshire. The all-time record for consecutive different winners at a track is 13.

3. Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano claimed both of the Cup series wins at New Hampshire last year and have been very strong again this weekend.

Observations

▪  We interrupt this run of new NASCAR aerodynamic rules changes to bring you a race on Sunday at New Hampshire with the regularly-scheduled rules package. Given recent races at the New England 1-mile track, it’s unlikely the track will lack for any excitement.

▪  There is no time like the present for Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR teams have greatly stepped up their performance in recent weeks and just when Kyle Busch needs a powerful run to get in the top 30 of points to make the Chase. Carl Edwards’ confidence has also had a big boost with his recent strong runs. The Chase is getting closer, can you tell?

▪  William Byron, a 17-year-old driver from Charlotte, is on a tear this season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. On Friday at New Hampshire, he picked up his fourth victory in eight series starts this year.

Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy team:

Kyle Busch: He has two wins, so how about three? Since his return from missing the season’s first 11 races due to injury, he’s is one of the biggest threats to win each week.

Joey Logano: This year’s Daytona 500 winner has been knocking on the door to another win in recent weeks. Starting second, he may just open it Sunday.

Ryan Blaney: After missing the past two races due to qualifying being canceled by rain, Blaney and his Wood Brothers team have had one of the fastest cars on the track this weekend.

He said it

“We all know how special Loudon is to me to try to make something happen here, so it’s nice to know we’ve got a fast race car.” – Joey Logano

Notes

Finally in the race: After failing to even get the chance to qualify the past two races due to weather canceling qualifying, Ryan Blaney and the Wood Brothers will start 16th Sunday at New Hampshire.

Blaney was 10th fastest in Friday’s practice session and led the way in Round 1 of knockout qualifying before failing to advance to the final round.

“The past couple weekends have been pretty tough on us with Daytona and Kentucky getting rained out, knowing we had a fast car,” Blaney said. “I think we’ve got a fast Ford for this weekend. It’s not the starting spot we wanted, but I think our race car will be pretty good.”

Practice mishap: Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet suffered serious damage to its right-rear during Saturday’s first practice session when Gordon was backing out of his garage and was hit by Clint Bowyer, who was driving out to the track. Each team was able to fix the damage with moving to backup cars.

“I guess both of us can take fault with that. But I will say our team did an amazing job of fixing it,” Gordon said. “There was quite a bit of damage.”

N@SCAR

Getting there

Race facts

5-Hour Energy 301

Where: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.

Track type: 1.058-mile paved, flat oval.

Race distance: 301 laps or 318.46 miles.

Green flag: 1:45 p.m.

Weather: Partly cloudy with high in the low 90s.

TV: NBC Sports Network.

Radio: Performance Racing Network.

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