Paperclips and Rocket Ships

This Sunday, the Sprint Cup series returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedwayto begin the 10 race countdown to the Chase For The Sprint Cup Championship. The LENOX Industrial Tools 301 is touted as the first "Race to the Chase" as drivers scramble to make it into the top 12 in the points standings.

The track itself is often called a "paper clip" track do its shape and layout resembling a paper clip. It is just over 1 mile long so it can be classified as a short track that guarantees lots of bumping and rubbing.
The place is pretty flat with regards to banking in the turns, so you can bet the brake system on the cars will receive another workout this week. There isn't much racing room and drivers are limited to two grooves to race in. The straights are only 65 feet wide and 1,500 feet long. The inside line around each turn is the preferred line as they grow to 92 feet wide with only a 2/7 degree in the banking. But with a decent setup, a driver can pass on the outside if he can carry momentum into each turn and hold onto the car coming out of the bank. Fuel mileage does play an important part in a drivers run at New Hampshire, so not only will the driver have to be spot on, his crew chief will have to make the right calls especially with regards to fuel mileage and the adjustments on the last run of the race. It will be especially interesting to see how the new double file restarts will effect the outcome of the race as well.

Due to the relative flatness of New Hampshire, drivers who have done well at Pocono or Martinsville, figure to run well here. One driver who appears to have New Hampshire figured out is Stewart-Haas Racing's Ryan "The Rocketman" Newman. Newman, an Indiana native and driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, posted the qualifying record at New Hampshire with a top speed of 133.57 mph back in 2003 and has won twice, posted 4 pole positions, 5 top fives, and 9 top tens at this track throughout his career. Tony Stewart, Newman's teammate also has run well at New Hampshire. Like Newman, he has posted 2 wins as well. Stewart has also put up 10 top fives, and 12 top tens in his career at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.