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Last Updated Monday, Jul 6, 2009 1:19 am, EDT

Lenox Industrial Tools 301

Status: Final New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Race Capsule

New Hampshire Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 17 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, NH

  • When:

    June 28, 2009 2:15 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    301

  • Track Length:

    1.058 miles

  • Race Length:

    318.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,423,189

Drivers to Watch

Jimmie Johnson Johnson, who trails Stewart by 157 points, swept both New Hampshire races in 2003 for his only two wins there. He has four top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 14 starts. He was ninth last June and second in September. He likens Loudon to a big Martinsville. "It's fun because it's such a short-distance race and you really run every lap as hard as you can and fight hard for position," he said.
Mark Martin Martin has 13 top-10s in 24 starts at Loudon, including three runner-up finishes, but is still looking for his first win there. He will be driving the same car that he drove to victory earlier this year at Phoenix. "I haven't run at Loudon in three years, but I expect to have another great car this weekend," said Martin.
Jeff Gordon Gordon is a three-time winner at New Hampshire but hasn't won there since the second race in 1998. His other victories came in 1996 and 1997. Those three wins are part of his 12 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 28 starts. He was 11th last June and 14th last September. "We drove up into the top five in June here last year, but a late pit stop and rain hurt our finishing position," said Gordon, referring to a pit stop for fuel that was followed closely by rain that ended the race prematurely. "In September, we lost about 10 positions late when I had to slow to avoid a spinning car." ... Gordon has one win (Texas) so far in 2009. "Our goal is to make it into the Chase," he said. "But you can't help but keep an eye on the bonus points. Right now, I know we're 20 points behind those with three wins, so I'd like to cut -- or possibly eliminate -- that gap before the Chase begins. Over the next 10 races, we're looking to build momentum. You want to enter the Chase with the competition believing you are the team to beat. And a win this weekend can do a lot for a team and a driver. The 10 bonus points, as I mentioned, are important. But the first race of the Chase is here, and that's a confidence boost when you return as the track's previous race winner."
Kurt Busch Busch swept both 2004 races at Loudon and also won this race last year. Those are three of his five top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 16 starts. In addition to his win last June, Busch also finished sixth in September. "To this day, there are still a lot of people who don't realize the whole story when it came to our team winning that race," Busch said. "In our eyes, it will always be a fuel-mileage win. I don't think that the record was ever set straight about what all came down there during the June race last year. The bottom line is that we had a pretty good car that day. It was the same car we raced at Richmond last September and ran decent with (finished 10th). We haven't raced that car this season, but its clone (PRS-576) is the car we finished third with at Phoenix earlier this season, and it's the car we'll be racing again this weekend at Loudon. Having that good of a car there last June put us in position to stretch our fuel a little bit. When we could make it to the end on fuel, we pitted. We needed a few laps to help us. But we were going to be loaded for bear and ready to rock 'n' roll if it came down to the end. When everybody pitted with, I don't know, 30 laps to go, when I was told, you're in the lead, there are 26 laps to go, that's the most motivation a driver could ever ask for because you want to hold it off and bring it home for your team. So we were going to have our work cut out for us. I felt we could have held off some of the guys right behind us, and our pit strategy worked out perfect. We're confident that with as strong of a car as we had there that day, with enough fuel to make it to the end and with a buffer of cars between us and the fast guys, we would have been able to win anyway. Had the race been run in its entirety, I feel we would still have won."
Denny Hamlin Hamlin won this race in 2007 for his only win at Loudon. He has two top-five finishes and five top-10s in six starts there. Last year, he was eighth in June and ninth in September. ... Hamlin is eager to see the results of a recent meeting of Joe Gibbs Racing personnel. "I think everyone needed to get on the same page -- drivers, owners, engineers, crew chiefs," he said. "... What we're trying to do is find a gauge of what we need to work on before the Chase starts. Some things won't be immediate. Some things will probably be a year down the road, realistically. Some things are things we can work on with our test team or something like that. For most of our issues it's going to be a few months down the road before you're going to see any here at the race track itself."
Tony Stewart Stewart's points lead has increased to 84 as the Cup series heads to New Hampshire for the first of two races this season. Stewart has two wins, 10 top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in 20 starts at the "Magic Mile." He was 13th last June and eighth in September.
Greg Biffle Biffle won at New Hampshire last September for his only win there. He has four top-five and five top-10 finishes in 13 starts and was 21st in this race last year. "If we can get the car to turn through the center of the corner during practice, we should have a good race," he said. "We have a few extra fans in the Northeast because of the partnership with Fenway, so it would be great to get a win up there again."
Juan Pablo Montoya Montoya hasn't finished better than 17th in four starts at New Hampshire. He knows he needs a much better finish this weekend if he is to stay in the top 12. "We have really run well the last few weeks, and I expect another strong run at Loudon," he said. "We just need to keep finishing like we have the last three weeks (all top-10s)."
Ryan Newman Newman is a two-time winner at New Hampshire with wins in the second races in 2002 and 2005. Those are two of his five top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 14 starts. He was 15th last June.
Kasey Kahne Kahne had four top-10 finishes in his first five starts at Loudon, but he hasn't finished better than 11th in the last five races there. "It's a track that has very long corners, so it's going to be important that we get our Budweiser Dodge to roll really well through the center of the corners," said Kahne. "We need another good finish this weekend." Kahne is only three points out of the top 12.
Carl Edwards Edwards, who has moved into the top five in points, is winless at Loudon and has two top-five and two top-10 finishes in nine starts. He was 17th last June and third in September. "The team has had a few good weeks lately, and we need to continue to build on that and continue to improve each week," Edwards said. "Hopefully we'll have a good run at Loudon this week and work to solidify our place in the Chase. Loudon is the first track we race in the Chase, so we need to learn all that we can this weekend so that we can apply it to the race in September. Michigan is considered the home track for Ford and Jack (Roush), but with Boston just up the road from New Hampshire, Loudon is another home track for us at Roush Fenway. A win this weekend would be very special."
Brian Vickers Vickers has only one top-10 finish in nine starts at Loudon. But with only 10 races left until the Chase for the Championship begins, he realizes he needs a top-10 run this weekend. "We need to get moving," said Vickers, who is 123 points out of the top 12. "We need to catch a few breaks in the upcoming races. It seems like all we've had lately are bad breaks."
Kyle Busch Busch drove to victory in this race in 2006, his only New Hampshire win. He has three top-five and three top-10 finishes in eight starts. He was 25th last June and 34th last September.
Matt Kenseth Kenseth, who has moved up to 10th in the point standings, has never won at New Hampshire but has five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 18 starts there. He was 18th last June and 40th last September. "I haven't felt like New Hampshire has been one of my strongest tracks over the years, but yet if you look at our stats, our finishes have usually been pretty good," he said. "We have good finishes, but we're never that competitive. It seems like we'll run around 12th to 15th all day, have good stops and strategy and finish somewhere between seventh and 10th. It's always been a challenge. It's a challenge to pass here, although they've made it better over the years after they reconfigured the track a while back, so it's just one of those tracks that's a challenge. It's a little bit unique and it's one that makes us work hard, that's for sure."
Clint Bowyer Bowyer scored his first Cup win at Loudon in September 2007. But, surprisingly, that is his only top-10 finish at the track. "We ran well there last year, we just didn't finish well," said Bowyer. "We got taken out in one race while we were running in the top five. It rained in the other one and we got caught (out of pit sequence)."
David Reutimann Reutimann finished 15th last September at Loudon for his best finish at the track in four Cup starts. He does have two top-10 finishes in two Nationwide Series races there. "We figured we would have trouble at Sonoma, and we did," said Reutimann. "Now we need to get back on the track at Loudon." He is 40 points out of the top 12.
Jeff Burton Burton leads the Cup Series in New Hampshire victories with four. However, his last win there came in September 2000. "The track is a lot different than it used to be," said Burton, who has finished in the top 10 in five of the last seven Loudon races. "It now has a lot of grip, and when we were real good there, the track was real low on grip."
Marcos Ambrose As has been the case for much of the season, Ambrose will be making his first Sprint Cup start at Loudon on Sunday. "Loudon will be interesting," said Ambrose. "We really haven't been to a flat track since Phoenix (where he finished 14th). We really don't know what to expect. You can have a breakout race like Bristol and Martinsville or a tough race like we had at Michigan."
Kevin Harvick Harvick has one win and nine top-10 finishes in 16 starts at Loudon. "It's been a really good track for us from a company standpoint at RCR," said Harvick. "Clint's (Bowyer) run really well there, and obviously we've run well there. It's a place we go to and expect to run in the top five."
Joey Logano Logano made his Loudon Sprint Cup debut last September when he finished 32nd. "It's going to be nice to be going to a track for the second time," said the rookie driver. "At least at Loudon I will have an idea of what the car needs. That is going to be a big help this weekend."
Casey Mears Mears has two top-10 finishes in the last three races at Loudon. In this race a year ago, he led 53 laps before ending up seventh. "Ever since they resurfaced the track, I've liked it," said Mears. "I have learned the last couple of years what a short-track car needs and how I need to drive them."
Jamie McMurray McMurray had three top-10 finishes in his first four starts at Loudon, but his best finish in the last eight races has been 11th. "We're bringing the same car we ran at Phoenix (where he finished 11th) earlier this season since these are similar tracks, so I expect great results this weekend," said McMurray.
AJ Allmendinger Allmendinger has not fared well at Loudon -- his best finish in three starts is 33rd. But after three Petty cars finished in the top 10 at Infineon, including winner Kasey Kahne, Allmendinger said, "I think all of us at Richard Petty Motorsports can't wait to get to the next race."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt finished fifth last September at Loudon after leading for 79 laps. It was his eighth top-10 finish in 19 starts at the track. "We always seem to get tight in the center (of the corner) there," said Earnhardt, "so we'll be trying to get down into the bottom of the corner and be able to turn to the center -- that's the best way to get around there."
Elliott Sadler Sadler finished fifth in the June race a year ago. It was his fifth top-10 finish in 20 starts at Loudon. Sadler believes his 10th-place finish last Sunday at Infineon "gives you a ton of momentum for this weekend. Our people are working a lot of hours, and those efforts are showing up on the track."