Open Race Thread: NASCAR Sprint Cup Sylvania 300 | New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Sep 16, 2012; Joliet, IL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) leads Jimmie Johnson (48) during the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE


New Hampshire Motor Speedway may just be the site where we see this year's version of the Chase change significantly. Jeff Gordon looks to rebound from his stuck throttle escapade and came out strong during qualifying taking the pole while Denny Hamlin looks to overcome his pit crew miscues from last week (running out of gas) and this week during qualifying (putting the wrong air pressure in the tires before qualifying deep in the pack after leading during practice).

Brad 'The Kez' Keselowski is also looking to prove that he and his team are more than just a flash in the pan while Jimmie Johnson looks to prove that his team isn't intimidated by anyone at all, especially The Kez. I wonder if JJ was playing mind games with The Kez during practice yesterday by running right behind him for the final ten laps. Wouldn't surprise me none the least.

I'm not that big on racing at New Hampshire but I am looking forward to this race to see how all of these story lines play out, especially how the various teams handle their pit strategies!

With that being said, perhaps the biggest story line headed into today's race is the fact that as I sit here and write this at 11:15 am there are a bunch of teams, including SHR and RCR that have no pit crews at the track at this moment. Approximately 70 crew members from various teams that are regularly flown in on race days met with plane trouble and have since been transferred to another plane and are currently en-route to Manchester air port (40 miles away from the track). There is a police escort waiting for them to take them to the track when they land. Look for some pit stalls being set up while the green flag flies - let's hope there isn't an early race caution!

Starting line-up after the jump. See you on the other side!

FIN CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 132.053 28.843 Leader
2 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 131.683 28.924 -0.081
3 55 Brian Vickers Toyota Freightliner / Jet Edge 131.551 28.953 -0.110
4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 131.207 29.029 -0.186
5 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 131.157 29.040 -0.197
6 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / GE Appliances 131.098 29.053 -0.210
7 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 130.986 29.078 -0.235
8 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Office Depot 130.977 29.080 -0.237
9 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet AMP Energy / Diet Mtn. Dew / National Guard 130.959 29.084 -0.241
10 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 130.959 29.084 -0.241
11 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 130.959 29.084 -0.241
12 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Aspen Dental 130.936 29.089 -0.246
13 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Wheaties 130.878 29.102 -0.259
14 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Zest 130.810 29.117 -0.274
15 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 130.770 29.126 -0.283
16 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush's Baked Beans 130.743 29.132 -0.289
17 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 130.586 29.167 -0.324
18 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Sylvania / Menards 130.577 29.169 -0.326
19 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 130.564 29.172 -0.329
20 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 130.559 29.173 -0.330
21 43 Aric Almirola Ford Trim Fit 130.488 29.189 -0.346
22 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Energizer 130.425 29.203 -0.360
23 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 130.358 29.218 -0.375
24 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 130.336 29.223 -0.380
25 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet LiftMaster 130.313 29.228 -0.385
26 34 David Ragan Ford Shriner's Hospital for Children 130.206 29.252 -0.409
27 98 Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing 129.927 29.315 -0.472
28 22 Dave Blaney Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 129.847 29.333 -0.490
29 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 129.750 29.355 -0.512
30 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 129.679 29.371 -0.528
31 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 129.577 29.394 -0.551
32 191 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Plinker Tactical 129.511 29.409 -0.566
33 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 129.340 29.448 -0.605
34 195 Scott Speed Ford Jordan Truck Sales 129.261 29.466 -0.623
35 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 128.981 29.530 -0.687
36 37 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet MaxQworkforce
.com
128.976 29.531 -0.688
37 30 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports 128.954 29.536 -0.693
38 38 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 128.493 29.642 -0.799
39 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 128.122 29.728 -0.885
40 33 Stephen Leicht* Chevrolet Little Joes
Autos.com
128.001 29.756 -0.913
41 179 Kelly Bires Ford BBI / Bestway 127.954 29.767 -0.924
42 32 Mike Olsen Ford North Country Ford 127.769 29.810 -0.967
43 36 Tony Raines Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 125.699 30.301 -1.458
* Denotes Rookie
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