1) Denny Hamlin / Starting 2nd / DraftKings $10,400 / FanDuel $13,400
Denny Hamlin is arguably the premiere performer in the series at shorter-flat tracks, and at New Hampshire he’ll be tough to beat. At “The Magic Mile”, Hamlin is a 3-time winner who’s finished in the top five 38% of the time and in the top ten 58% of the time. Last year at New Hampshire, Hamlin had the car to beat, but he came up short at the end. There was a late caution and he pitted, and quite a few others didn’t. Prior to that caution coming out he was the leader and led 113 straight laps. In the race Hamlin started in the rear of the field, finished 2nd, led 113 laps and had a 5.7 average running position. In terms of speed analytics, Hamlin was the 3rd “Fastest driver late in a run” and had the 4th best Green Flag Average Speed. In 2018, Hamlin didn’t have one of his better races at “The Magic Mile.” He finished 13th, had a 13th place average running position and earned the 11th best driver rating. In fall 2017, Hamlin finished a misleading 12th. On lap 169 under green he made an unexpected pit stop because of a loose wheel that dropped him a lap down to the high-teens. Shortly before that problem he finished 8th in Stage #2. In Stage #1 he finished 9th. If he would’ve had an incident free race I think he would’ve finished marginally better. In summer 2017, Hamlin had a great car. In addition to winning he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position and led 54 laps. Last year at shorter-flat tracks, Denny Hamlin swept the top five and had a 3.2 average finish.
2) Kevin Harvick / Starting 7th/ DraftKings $11,600 / FanDuel $14,200
Kevin Harvick is a super-elite performer at New Hampshire who’ll be the favorite. He has back to back wins at “The Magic Mile”, and since 2016 minus fall 2017 where he had a misleading result he has 3 wins, a 2.4 average finish and he’s had a result in the top 5 every race. Last year at New Hampshire, Harvick had a phenomenal car and held off a hard charging Denny Hamlin at the end. In addition to winning he ranked as the “Fastest Driver Late In A Run”, had the 2nd best Green Flag Average Speed, led 41 laps, had a 5.1 average running position and finished 8th in both Stage #1 and Stage #2. I will note, Harvick did use pit strategy at the end when a late caution came out which leap frogged him to the lead (didn’t pit), and if that didn’t come into play he was likely poised to finish around 4th. In 2018, Harvick had a great car. He finished 1st, earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 5th place average running position and led 12 laps. With 7 laps to go he nudged Kyle Busch out of the lead and he then raced his way to victory lane. In fall 2017, Harvick wasn’t having one of his better New Hampshire races and he finished a misleading 36th. During the last lap of Stage #2 while he was running in the low double-digits he wrecked after contact with Austin Dillon. In the three New Hampshire races prior to that he had results of 5th, 1st and 4th. At Phoenix, the lone shorter-flat track visited earlier this year he finished 2nd overall, won Stage #1, finished 2nd in Stage #2, was the “Fastest Driver Late In A Run”, had the best Green Flag Average Speed and led 67 laps.
Further Recommended Reading – New Hampshire Speed Analytics Center, New Hampshire Projected Finish Ranges, DraftKings New Hampshire Playability Value Chart, FanDuel New Hampshire Playability Value Chart
3) Kyle Busch / Starting 5th / DraftKings $9,300 / FanDuel $12,600
Kyle Busch is always a force to be reckoned with at New Hampshire, and on Sunday he should prominently be on your fantasy NASCAR radar. He’s thrived at Loudon and since 2013 he’s finished in the top three 58% of the time and minus a misleading result back in fall 2015 his average finish is 4.4. Over the last three combined New Hampshire races, Busch has the best average finish (3.7), the best average running position (4.0) and he’s averaged leading 113.7 laps per race. Last year at New Hampshire, Busch started 2nd, finished 8th, won Stage #1, finished 5th in Stage #2, led a race high 118 laps, had the best Green Flag Average Speed and ranked as the 5th “Fastest Driver Late In A Run.” It’s important to note, Kyle Busch didn’t have an incident free race. On lap 214 he slid up into the wall and it brought out a caution. He was running around 7th at the time, fortunately for him the damage was minimal and the caution coming out quickly didn’t drop him back much. In 2018, Busch finished 2nd, had a 5th place average running position, earned the 4th best driver rating and led 36 laps. Additionally, he finished 6th in Stage #1 and 6th in Stage #2. In fall 2017, Busch had a stellar car and won from the pole. Additionally, he earned the best driver rating, had a 1st place average running position, earned a near perfect driver rating and led 187 laps. At Phoenix this spring, Busch finished 3rd.