Sometimes a combination of timing, ability, momentum and planning come together and certain drivers or teams are the most likely to be victorious at a particular race. New Hampshire Motor Speedway's NASCAR Cup fall event in 2012 isn't one of them.
Almost anyone can and may win this Sylvania 300 but a little extra examination and scrutiny plus a coin flip decided the winner of this September 23rd race at Loudon, New Hampshire. Here are the top lucky seven candidates.
7. Kevin Harvick - He has a win at New Hampshire and his consistency makes him a favorite for at least the Top 10 if not a contender to win.
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Just his ability to finish in the Top 10 so often this year should make him a favorite at just about any race. He's never won at New Hampshire but he does have two top fours over the last few years. He'll be in the running at some time during the day.
5. Jeff Gordon - Does anyone know where Gordon might finish? How can you figure his year? He has three wins at this track and fourteen straight top 15 finishes at New Hampshire. Gordon is surely one of the fastest cars, race-in and race-out but can he finish is the question.
4. Denny Hamlin - He was one of the hottest drivers heading into the Chase. He has a win at New Hampshire and was second to Kasey Kahne in July here. He will be near or at the front all day.
3. Jimmie Johnson - Every time the #48 goes to a track, he has a chance to win. Johnson won here three times and has finished outside the top 15 only three times in 21 starts at New Hampshire. He will work his way to the front at some time during the race.
2. Tony Stewart - The coin flip landed here. Truly Stewart should be a favorite to win at New Hampshire, having logged three wins and five runner-ups here including victory a year ago at this race.
1. Brad Keselowski - He won my coin flip and he'll win the race. How can I say that, considering Brad K has never won this race? He was runner-up to Stewart a year ago but maybe even bigger is the momentum he has after winning the first Chase race and grabbing the points lead. I'm thinking there's some destiny here. By the way, he had the pole at this track two years ago.
I also believe drivers like Kahne, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman could just as easily win this race as the drivers listed above. Some might not think of him as a longshot but Clint Bowyer should be considered a credible choice for winning at New Hampshire. Heck, he has two wins in Loudon and was third back in July plus was leading last years race with two laps to go before running out of fuel.
The race will be on ESPN and broadcast at 2:00PM Eastern Time. The next Chase event following this one at Loudon will be the Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware.
Sources - NASCAR, Racing Reference, You Tube (2011 Sylvania 300)
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.