What to Watch: 2022 New Hampshire Motor Speedway

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Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
(⏰ 3 p.m. ET | 📺 USA Network, NBC Sports App | 📻 PRN, SiriusXM)

Everything you need to know for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the 20th regular-season event of the 2022 campaign.

Race-day info 📝

Where: Loudon, New Hampshire
Approximate start time: 3 p.m. ET | Full weekend schedule
TV/Radio: USA Network, NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio | Full TV schedule
The purse: $7,102,088
Forecast: Mostly sunny, with a high near 86 degrees, according to NOAA.gov | Weather tracker
Race distance: 301 laps | 318.46 miles
Stages: 70 | 185 | 301
Pit-road speed: 45 mph
Caution car speed: 50 mph
New Hampshire 101: Get the full lowdown
Starting lineup: 
Where drivers will start
Pit stalls:
Where drivers will pit

Key things to watch 🔑

Big story line

What will New Hampshire race like this time around? With the weather primed to be hot and sunny, cars could be slipping and sliding around the flat, 1.058-mile oval as we have seen at times in the past. Teams have already compared it to Phoenix Raceway, Richmond Raceway and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, trying to pull notes from each to get a better handle on what to expect Sunday. We already know one thing for sure: expect to see a lot of shifting. But with increased shifting and close racing through the turns, that leaves room for a lot of mistakes we have already seen cost drivers big time due to the Next Gen’s new shifting pattern. Comparing those valuable notes to key in on a race-winning setup early in qualifying, and giving yourself valuable track position, could be the difference in a stellar finish on Sunday. Miss it by a wide margin and you will likely be playing catchup all afternoon.

Who’s hot? Who’s not? 

Is there a driver in better form than Chase Elliott right now? Elliott is as scorching as the summer heat, finally landing the elusive victory at his home track in Atlanta Motor Speedway. And with that monkey off his back, there is little in the way of his focus on running down another Cup Series championship. Even when he is not reaching Victory Lane, his results are still remarkable — eight more top 10s in the last 15 races (not including the three wins, pushing the total to 11). However, New Hampshire has been his Achilles’ heel in the past, finishing 11th or worse in six of his eight starts. If he can continue his impressive form Sunday at a track where he has struggled mightily, the debate for the current championship favorite should end.

For Kyle Busch, the last handful of races has not gone to plan. From Kansas Speedway to World Wide Technology Raceway, Busch looked like the driver to beat this season, stringing together a trio of top-three results. Since then, he has yet to finish inside the top 19 — a four-race slump. Adding to the Busch fans’ growing concern is back-to-back DNFs at New Hampshire. But with a new car and a new race package, Sunday would be the perfect time to hit the reset button and pick up some playoff momentum. If anyone can do that, it is the two-time Cup Series champion.

Driving under the radar

Trending upward, there is no better time for Kevin Harvick to get a win than at the track he has dominated in the past. Entering Sunday, the No. 4 team has begun to find its rhythm, reeling off three top 10s in the last four races. At New Hampshire specifically, Harvick has reached Victory Lane in two of the last four races and led laps in eight of the last 11. To put it simply, it is arguably his best track and not many are tabbing him to continue the success this weekend. Fighting for a spot in the NASCAR Playoffs, this may be his best chance to punch his ticket with a win. And as we know, Harvick, “The Closer,” knows how to come through in the clutch.

Practice and qualifying

Entering the weekend, all eyes were on Ford as the manufacturer expected to dominate Sunday. But during Saturday morning’s two-group practice session, combined results were a mixed bag — at least at the top of the chart. William Byron topped the chart in his No. 24 Chevrolet, followed by Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota. Then came the first Ford in Chase Briscoe before the Blue Oval made its presence known en masse, grabbing the seventh through tenth spots on the board. But another veteran grabbed the starlight in qualifying: Martin Truex Jr., who finished fifth in practice. Truex blitzed the field, topping an exceptional mark by Chase Elliott in the final round to snag his first Joe Gibbs Racing pole. | Full practice, qualifying recap

Kevin Harvick holds a lobster.
Kevin Harvick holds a lobster.

Race-day staples ✅

Our biggest pieces of the week — get covered for race day from all angles.

• Paint Scheme Preview: Cup and Xfinity looks for New Hampshire | Pick a favorite
• Power Rankings:
Austin Cindric quietly sizzling as the summer heats up | Latest Cup Series driver rankings
• Fantasy Fastlane:
Ford aims for five-peat at New Hampshire | Top plays, sleepers
• NASCAR betting:
Which driver is the favorite for Sunday? | BetMGM betting odds
• Backseat Drivers:
Does Chase Elliott think he can match Bill’s 44 wins? | Watch the debate
• Playoff Watch:
How the 2022 Cup Series playoff picture is shaping up | Bubble battles, playoff locks

Catch the pack 💨

Read up on the top headlines from the week leading up to Sunday’s race.

• Kyle Busch: Feels like he still has a seat at JGR for 2023 | Read more
• Kurt Busch:
Opens up on future, impact of Tyler Reddick signing | Read more
• Blockbuster deal:
23XI signs Tyler Reddick for 2024 season | More details
• Candidates:
Assessing the top potential drivers for the No. 8 | Read more
• Penalty-free:
No penalty for No. 20 team for tire mishap at Atlanta | Full details
• Analysis:
Passing by Joe Gibbs Racing at New Hampshire | Read more
• Ty Dillon:
Dillon, Petty GMS Motorsports to split up after 2022 | Read more
• Ryan Preece:
Driver embracing role at Stewart-Haas Racing, focusing on Cup future | Read more
• Aric Almirola:
Assessing Cup Series future, relishing the moment | Read more
• Corey LaJoie:
Making Whelen Modified Series entry at New Hampshire | Full story
• Departure:
Tyler Reddick’s wake leaves shoes to fill at Richard Childress Racing | Read more
• Official partner:
NASCAR, SeatGeek launch new partnership | More details
• FloRacing:
Kyle Larson, Brad Sweet collaborate to form new Sprint Car series | More details

Get in on the action 💰

Think you know NASCAR? Put your mettle to the test with gaming, fantasy.

• BetMGM: Can Chase Elliott snap Chevy’s drought? | Full analysis
• The Action Network:
Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott highlight tough matchups | Read more
• Play it LIVE:
Full guide to 2022 NASCAR Fantasy Live game | Get the FAQ
• Going all the way:
2022 Cup Series championship odds | See them here

Land of the lobster 🦞

Time to embrace the sea creature, as New Hampshire provides one of the most unique prizes in sports. 

• Do you remember?: Memorable moments at New Hampshire | Relive them here
• Winner, winner:
All-time winners at New Hampshire | See who has the most
• Behind the scenes:
New Hampshire in photos | Scroll through the track gallery
• Last year:
Aric Almirola punches playoff ticket with clutch win | Full race recap
• Race Rewind:
Early drama and a big upset at New Hampshire | Watch the highlights

Fast facts ⏩

Hard-hitting, race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.

Chevrolet has only one pole at New Hampshire since 2014.
Stewart-Haas Racing drivers have won three of the last four races at New Hampshire.
Three of the last four New Hampshire winners started outside the top 10.
At least one driver led 100 laps or more in 14 of the last 16 New Hampshire races.
The winner took the lead within the final 10 laps in 13 of 19 races in 2022.

Say what? 🎙

Notable quotes from the stars of the sport heading into Sunday’s race.

“New Hampshire can be a challenging track. When you hit your setup just right, it‘s an extremely fun track, but if you miss it, it can be one of the most difficult tracks we go to. Hopefully this gives us a chance to work on our short track program on both the Xfinity side and the Cup side.” — AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet (Cup Series part-time and Xfinity Series full-time)

“With the playoff picture being as tight as it is, every point matters. Loudon is a great track for us and we need a good showing. I‘m ready to see what we can do this weekend.” — Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

“We were fast and ran up front all day at Phoenix and we were fast and ran up front all day at Richmond. Gateway, we had a pretty good car. I think our car was better than what it showed. We qualified bad and had a hard time passing cars, but our teammate with the 14 was really fast all weekend and led some laps before blowing the left-rear tire, so we feel good about what we‘ve got and what we‘re taking and probably the most confident we‘ve been in a good while.” — Rodney Childers, crew chief of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford