The short, flat tracks are rhythm courses. To make the best time around their confines, drivers have to brake early and accelerate at the apex. At New Hampshire Motor Speedway, that has to be done up to 602 times around a 1-mile oval with very little banking on which to lean.
That does not necessarily make the short, flat tracks more predictable than other courses. Only four drivers have swept the top 10 on the three short, flat tracks of Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, and Richmond Raceway. Those drivers are Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and Denny Hamlin – and at least two of them (Harvick and Truex) have lacked the consistency to make them outright favorites.
New Hampshire will be the fourth race on the fourth different short, flat track and there is still a little guess work that goes into deciding who is going to be at their best.
1. Kyle Busch
Over the past three seasons, no one has been more consistent than Busch on the short, flat tracks. He enters with 14 consecutive top-10s on courses 1-mile or less in length - including six wins.
2. Denny Hamlin
Once the master of this track type, Hamlin has returned to his old form on the short, flat tracks with three consecutive fifth-place finishes in three races this year.
3. Joey Logano
It has been four seasons since Logano last earned a top-five at New Hampshire. He hasn't been terrible with four top-10s in the past seven races, but he has not been great either.
4. Kevin Harvick
Harvick has the second-longest streak of top-10s on short, flat tracks at 12. Better still, he is the defending winner of this race. If he has an error-free race, the deserves a top-five handicap.
5. Kurt Busch
Busch's win last week at Kentucky was impressive, but he has not yet cracked the top five on a short, flat track with a best of seventh at Phoenix earlier this year.
6. Ryan Blaney
Blaney got off to a good start on short, flat tracks this season with a third at Phoenix and a fourth at Martinsville. He struggled at Richmond, but should be able to rebound.
7. Martin Truex Jr.
It's getting progressively harder to recommend starting Truex on any given week since this team is among the most inconsistent of the front runners.
8. Kyle Larson
Larson finished third at Phoenix, 18th at Martinsville, and 37th at Richmond. Now that he's bottomed out on the short, flat tracks he has no place to go except up.
9. Aric Almirola
Some of Almirola's best results in the past two seasons have come on the 1-mile flat tracks. He finished third at New Hampshire last year, was seventh and fourth at Phoenix in 2018, and added another fourth this spring.
10. Chase Elliott
In 2018 the short, flat tracks were extremely kind to Elliott. He finished in the top 10 in all but one of the seven races. This year in three starts, he has missed that mark twice already.
11. Jimmie Johnson
We were willing to go all-in on Johnson last week. He ran well - as we predicted - but made an unforced error and crashed on a track type that has been very kind to him this season.
12. Clint Bowyer
Now that he has the monkey off his back, Bowyer could rattle off some top-10s. In three starts on this track type, he has two such finishes and an 11th.
13. Brad Keselowski
Last week's 20th-place finish for Keselowski was a huge disappointment, but he should be able to rebound. On short, flat tracks he has seven top-10s in his last nine starts.
14. Austin Dillon
After getting off to a slow start at Phoenix, Dillon has hovered around the top 10 mark at Martinsville and Richmond. Split the difference and look for a mid-teens finish this week.
15. William Byron
Byron has gotten progressively better on the short, flat tracks this year, but his best result is still only a 13th at Richmond. Play it safe unless he has an excellent showing in practice.
16. Alex Bowman
Bowman has not been all that great on short, flat tracks in the past two seasons. In his last 10 races, he has only one top-10, but he does have a majority of top-15s to help make him a better value.
17. Paul Menard
Menard could be one of the best differentiators this week. He has gotten progressively better on short, flat tracks in 2019 with a 17th at Phoenix, 15th at Martinsville, and 10th at Richmond.
18. Ryan Newman
It seems that Newman always surprises fantasy owners when they least expect it. His 12th-place finish in the TicketGuardian 500k probably helped several players win their league this spring.
19. Erik Jones
Don't expect a lot from Jones this week. He has not scored a top-10 in his last nine efforts on short, flat tracks and has an average of 19th during that span.
20. Ty Dillon
If you are looking for a solid dark horse, Dillon should be on your radar screen, In three starts on short, flat tracks he has a pair of top-15s and a 21st.
21. Ryan Preece
The short, flat tracks have been very kind to Preece so far this year. Two of his four top-20s this year came at Martinsville and Richmond. Unfortunately, he stumbled to a 34th at Phoenix.
22. Daniel Suarez
Suarez has been all over the board in terms of his short, flat track finishes this year. He has one top-10 at Martinsville, another top-20 at Richmond, and a 23rd at Phoenix.
23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse is unlikely to challenge for a top-10 this week on the short, flat track of New Hampshire, but two of his three efforts on the type ended in the mid-teens
24. Chris Buescher
Buescher's best finish on a short, flat track this season came on the other 1-mile track of Phoenix. He was 16th in the TicketGuardian 500k, but has not cracked the top 20 since.
25. Daniel Hemric
Watch Hemric closely during practice and qualification because he is capable of scoring a top-20. He was 18th at Phoenix and 19th at Richmond earlier this year.
26. Bubba Wallace
With a little luck, Wallace could contend for a top-20 this week. He finished 22nd at Phoenix and was 17th at Martinsville. He needs a strong run to erase the memory of his late-race spin in Kentucky.
27. Matt DiBenedetto
Mattie D has a pair of top-25s on short, flat tracks this season, but neither of those came at Phoenix. He finished 28th in the TicketGuardian 500k.
28. Matt Tifft
In three starts on short, flat tracks this year, Tifft has swept the top 30 with a best result of 20th in the TicketGuardian 500k at Phoenix.
29. David Ragan
Ragan has been very consistent on short, flat tracks this year with three results landing in a narrow range of 25th through 28th.
30. Corey LaJoie
LaJoie has been a pleasant surprise several times this year. Two of those came on the short, flat tracks of Phoenix and Richmond when he came up one position shy of cracking the top 25.
31. Michael McDowell
We've seen some strong runs for McDowell in the last several weeks but based on his short, flat track record, he has to be handicapped somewhere in the 30s. We hope he surprises us.
32. Ross Chastain
Chastain had a pair of top-25s on short, flat tracks last year; one of these was a 25th at New Hampshire. This year, his best effort has been a 27th on the other 1-miler of Phoenix.
33. Landon Cassill
Cassill's best finish on a short, flat track this season was a 28th at Martinsville. He was not nearly as strong on the other 1-miler Phoenix, where he finished 33rd.
34. Quin Houff
With two starts to his credit on short, flat tracks this year, Houff has some experience. He finished 30th in the TicketGuardian 500k at Phoenix, which gives his fans some hope.
35. Reed Sorenson
Sorenson has not yet made a start on the short, flat tracks, so we will play it safe in regard to his handicap. Last year his only start on this course type ended in a 38th at Richmond.
36. Andy Seuss
With 22 Modified wins to his credit, there is no doubt that Seuss knows how to race. The Cup series will still be a huge eye opener for the Young Gun, however.
37. Austin Theriault
Back in the Golden Era of racing, NASCAR's Northern Swing once challenged the home state heroes. Rick Ware Racing is bringing back that tradition with the addition of Theriault and Seuss to the lineup.
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