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!
|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|
|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|
|12||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Aspen Dental||130.936||29.089||-0.246|
|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|
|21||43||Aric Almirola||Ford||Trim Fit||130.488||29.189||-0.346|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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
|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|