The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series has finally reached the dog days of the season and the summer as for the next three out of four weeks, the premier series will host races at New Hampshire, Pocono, and Michigan. While racing fans receive a palate cleanser with an always thrilling event at Watkins Glen in two weeks, this time of the year is always dreaded and slow-paced. For even the most passionate racing fans, good luck not taking a nap in the middle of this race as this circuit is nearly impossible to complete a pass on. The PJ1 Traction Compound will not provide much grip as Loudon weather is expected to be in the low 90s to high 80s, creating a track surface temperature somewhere in the 110s to 120s. The most excitement we could get out of tomorrow’s race is multiple crashes due to the PJ1 affecting drivers’ exits off of corners to set up numerous restarts and the potential of overtimes. As I stated with Kentucky, set the bar low so that you can only be surprised instead of disappointed, which worked last weekend. I am not very confident about the same happening tomorrow.
One of the great rivalries in the sport for this generation, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski will start on the front row and it should be those two running out front for the whole race. Kurt Busch has shown speed and could be the third horse in this race. Erik Jones starts fourth and needs to show fight tomorrow and secure a playoff spot as he is winless and only two points above the playoff cutline. Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Preece are underdog drivers to get behind tomorrow. DiBenedetto showed top-10 speed in practice and will start seventh. Preece starts 28th but has abundant experience at New Hampshire from his early racing background and could surprise tomorrow. If there was ever a race this season that the Championship 4 drivers from last year were to dominate, this is the one. Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., and Joey Logano should all find their way into the top five at some point and control the racing.
New Hampshire has all the makings of being the worst race of the year so far and that is sadly my expectations tomorrow. I am predicting a Kyle Busch sweep as he will win both stages and claim his fifth win of 2019. Ryan Blaney has had an underwhelming season for his standards and will start in the top five tomorrow. He will serve as my dark horse pick as all of Team Penske should be the team to beat tomorrow.
You can watch the race on NBCSN tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. EST.
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