The ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is this Sunday and it’s going to be a hot one, as the estimated high is right around 90 degrees. We should also see some “hot” action on the track, too, as there are three or four cars this weekend capable of winning, and you never know how strategy is going to come into play at a track like Loudon.
There was a practice session and qualifying held here on Friday at NHMS, and then two more practice sessions on Saturday. Please note, however, that the first practice on Saturday was done while the track was pretty cool, and that’s not really what teams will be faced with on Sunday during the race. Happy Hour was much more like what they’ll experience. Kyle Busch will, yet again, lead the field to the green on Sunday with Kyle Larson starting alongside, and the full starting lineup can be found by clicking here. The practice speeds from Saturday’s two sessions can be found here: Practice #2 — Happy Hour, and, as always, our in-depth practice notes can be found here: Practice #2 — Happy Hour.
Final Top 25 Ranking For The 2017 ISM Connect 300
1. Kyle Busch – Starts 1st – DraftKings Price: $10,700 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Low-to-Medium Risk**
Kyle Busch’s speed in qualifying this weekend wasn’t as impressive as his speed in qualifying last week at Chicagoland, but his rounds were still impressive nonetheless. You see, Rowdy almost got into the wall during his lap in the second round, and with all the debris on his tires, it was going to be close for Kyle to make it into the final round. He did, and then put down the fastest lap there, so you know the #18 Toyota is good. Joe Gibbs Racing has dominated New Hampshire Motor Speedway as of late, and Kyle Busch is going to lead a good amount of laps here on Sunday. Rowdy has two career wins at this track and has led at least 90 laps in three of his last five starts here. Speed-wise, the #18 Toyota was good on Saturday, ranking 8th-fastest in the first session before posting the 3rd-fastest lap in Happy Hour along with the 4th-best ten-lap average. Rowdy was my #1 ranked driver coming into the ISM Connect 300 weekend, and he remains my favorite to win heading into Sunday.
2. Kyle Larson – Starts 2nd – DraftKings Price: $9,500 – Yahoo! B Group
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**
Kyle Larson doesn’t really like New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but dislike for a track quickly goes away if you have a fast race car–and the #42 Chevrolet is one of the best in the field this weekend. In addition to qualifying 2nd for Sunday’s ISM Connect 300, Larson was the fastest car in Saturday morning’s practice session, and then ranked 5th-fastest in Happy Hour (along with the 6th-best ten-lap average). Last time we were here, Larson started from dead last but almost went on to win the race. This time, he has only one car to pass to get to the front, and the #42 Chevrolet looks good enough on the long runs that Larson could lead a whole bunch of laps on Sunday as long as he can get out front. This will be Kyle’s 8th career start at this track, and he has finished 2nd or 3rd in three of his previous seven.
3. Martin Truex, Jr. – Starts 5th – DraftKings Price: $10,500 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
We can’t forget about Martin Truex, Jr., can we? Last week’s race winner will be a contender once again this weekend (surprise, surprise), and as far as comparing the #78 Toyota to the #18 and #42 cars, I’d say you can throw a blanket over all three of them–they’re that close. It’s going to come down to pit stops and whether one of the three make a mistake. Truex qualified 5th for Sunday’s ISM Connect 300 and showed top 5 speed in both practice sessions on Saturday, posting the 3rd-fastest lap in the morning before ending up P1 during Happy Hour. In terms of ten-lap average, Truex ranked 1st and 3rd in those two sessions, respectively. Martin has never won here at Loudon but he did finish a career-best 3rd here back in July. He’s also led a combined 401 laps over the last three races here. Yeah, in other words, don’t expect the #78 team to falter this weekend.