NASCAR Picks for New Hampshire
Carl Edwards, #99 Fastenal/Aflac/UPS/Subway, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although he has compiled a respectable 14.1 average finish at New Hampshire, Edwards has done so mainly by avoiding bad finishes rather than by piling up great ones. In 18 starts at the track, he has just four top-10s and only two top-five finishes. Don't be surprised if Edwards salvages a top-15 this weekend, but he isn't the best option in Yahoo! leagues and other similar formats.
Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Yes, Hamlin has been dreadful for the last couple of months, but his numbers at New Hampshire are among the best in the series. His 8.8 average finish at the track is tied for the best in the series over the past 20 races, and in 15 starts, he has finished fourth or better seven times. Hamlin is also the defending winner of this weekend's race, and owners willing to overlook his recent slump could reap a serious reward.
Kurt Busch, #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He has struggled at New Hampshire in his last four starts, posting four straight finishes outside the top 20. On the flip side, he is a three-time winner at the track, and has five finishes of sixth or better since 2008. Busch isn't the best pick for fantasy owners that can afford to play it safe, but his upside makes him an excellent option for those looking to take some chances to gain ground in their leagues.
Jeff Burton, #31 Caterpillar/Cheerios, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Burton might not be the same driver that won four races at New Hampshire more than a decade ago, but he looked pretty stout en route to a third-place run in the July race. More importantly, he has finished 16th or better in seven of his last eight starts at the track. The top-five finish a few months ago was probably a fluke, but a top-15 finish is a real possibility.
Greg Biffle, #16 3M/Bondo, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Since winning at New Hampshire in the fall of 2008, Biffle hasn't been able to recapture his winning form at the track. However, he has managed to crack the top-20 in all nine starts at NHMS since the victory and has three top-15s in his last four starts at the track. Biffle should have a decent showing Sunday, but fantasy owners expecting more than a top-15 are going to be disappointed.
Martin Truex, Jr., #56 NAPA Auto Parts, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
After a brief hot stretch at New Hampshire early in his career, Truex has cooled off substantially. In his last nine starts at the track, he has managed just two top-15 finishes. Truex has finished in the top 20 in seven starts during the stretch, but his lack of upside limits his fantasy value in most formats.
Juan Montoya, #42 Target, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Flat tracks have been kind to Montoya for the most part, but he has been very hit and miss at New Hampshire. He has finished as high as third at the track, but he has also finished outside the top 20 in three straight starts. The fact that he has been running well in recent weeks makes it a little easier to gamble that one of Montoya's solid runs at New Hampshire will come this weekend, but he still isn't a sure thing by any means.
Mark Martin, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
The veteran won at New Hampshire in the fall of 2009, but it has been downhill since. He has finished outside the top 20 in his last four starts at the track, and he didn't even run in the three most recent races. New Hampshire has never been Martin's favorite track, and a top-20 finish is probably the best case scenario.
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His career numbers at New Hampshire aren't anything to smile about, but he has been making some headway recently. Menard has four straight top-20 finishes at the track, including three straight finishes of 17th or better. He may not have the most upside of the sleeper options, but Menard could sneak into the top 20 this weekend.
Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
After finishing outside the top 15 in his first five starts at New Hampshire, Almirola had a breakout performance in the July race -- finishing in the top five. It's hard to say whether or not the top-five run was a fluke or a sign of things to come, but at the very least, Almirola is an intriguing sleeper pick for owners willing to gamble a bit.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although he did manage a respectable 12th-place finish at New Hampshire earlier this year, his lack of upside makes him a mediocre fantasy option at best. After all, he has just one top-10 finish in his last 17 starts at NHMS. During the same stretch, McMurray has nine finishes outside the top 20.
Marcos Ambrose, #9 Stanley/Dewalt Power Tools, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
Ambrose has really lost the handle at New Hampshire the past couple of seasons. He has finished outside the top 15 in his last four starts and has finished outside the top 20 three times during the stretch. After a 33rd-place run at the track in July, it's tough to expect much from Ambrose this weekend.
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