Preview: The Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 NASCAR Cup Series Race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Can Kurt Busch secure his first win this season after capturing his third Busch Pole Award of 2018 in New Hampshire?

(Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

It’s all about track position at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing, realized that in qualifying on Friday. Martin Truex Jr. recently won an ESPY for being the Best Driver but it was Kurt Busch who won the Busch Pole Award for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

After deciding to be the first driver to turn a lap during Round 3 of knockout qualifying, Busch ran a slightly faster lap than Truex Jr., who will start P2. It is not impossible to pass at New Hampshire; however, starting from the pole and staying in front of the pack could prove crucial. “We discussed it, and the call was made back at the hauler before the qualifying session started,” Busch said. “It was almost like a non-discussion. It was, ‘This is what’s going to happen in Round 1, this is what’s going to happen in Round 2, and here’s what’s going to happen in Round 3’—and we stuck to our plan.” Busch has secured three pole wins this season and 25 for his career.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule:

Foxwoods Resort Casino 301: (Follow live)
The Place: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, July 22, 2018
The Time: Approximately 1:00 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 318.46 miles (301 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 75), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 301)

Trackside Live (Watch live): 9:15 a.m. ET
Press Pass: (Watch live)
Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race broadcast: 4:00 p.m.

Update: NASCAR changed the start time for the Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to 1 p.m. ET because of the potential of wet weather.


Starting Lineup

(Position, Driver, Manufacturer, Speed)

1. Kurt Busch, Ford, 133.591
2. Martin Truex, Jr., Toyota, 133.502
3. Kyle Busch, Toyota, 133.431
4. Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 133.361
5. Ryan Blaney, Ford, 132.720
6. Brad Keselowski, Ford, 132.715
7. Erik Jones, Toyota, 132.674
8. Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 132.618
9. Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 132.581
10. Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 132.462
11. William Byron, Chevrolet, 132.383
12. Paul Menard, Ford, 132.190
13. Aric Almirola, Ford, 132.586
14. Kevin Harvick, Ford, 132.554
15. Clint Bowyer, Ford, 132.402
16. A.J. Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 132.379
17. Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 132.259
18. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 132.200
19. Joey Logano, Ford, 132.094
20. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 132.039
21. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 131.925
22. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 131.738
23. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Ford, 131.447
24. Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 131.238
25. Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 131.247
26. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 130.954
27. Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 130.860
28. Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 130.783
29. Michael McDowell, Ford, 130.568
30. David Ragan, Ford, 130.532
31. Matt Kenseth, Ford, 130.483
32. Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 129.213
33. Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 129.151
34. Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 129.134
35. Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 127.577
36. B.J. McLeod, Chevrolet, 127.555
37. Blake Jones, Toyota, 124.556

Past 10 Winners at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

(Year, Driver, Manufacturer)

2008, Kurt Busch, Dodge
2009, Joey Logano, Toyota
2010, Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
2011, Ryan Newman, Chevrolet
2012, Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet
2013, Brian Vickers, Toyota
2014, Brad Keselowski, Ford
2015, Kyle Busch, Toyota
2016, Matt Kenseth, Toyota
2017, Denny Hamlin, Toyota

LOOKBACK: Hamlin holds off Larson for Loudon victory, playoff berth

For the first time in close to two decades, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway will only host one NASCAR Cup race this season; in previous years, the series' top-level league raced twice a year at the 1.058-mile oval speedway. NASCAR announced last year that the second race date scheduled for September at New Hampshire would move to Las Vegas. Now, the Nevada speedway will host two Cup races per year with the latter being a playoff race.

Six active drivers have won three races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway including the Busch Pole Award winner Kurt Busch. The other drivers are Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Ryan Newman. Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer along with Penske driver Joey Logano have two race wins at New Hampshire. Kenseth has started 36 races at New Hampshire while Kurt Busch and Harvick each have 34 starts.

This season has been all about veteran drivers—mainly the "Big 3" as in Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. A quick review of the past 10 winners at New Hampshire favors the more established teams with seasoned drivers. Will a young gun experience a breakthrough for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 or will history continue to favor the current streak?