Following Chase Elliott‘s victory in Atlanta, the NASCAR Cup Series heads northeast for the Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Let’s dive into the track information NASCAR DFS drivers need to know, what to expect for this weekend’s running of the Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire and some early NASCAR fantasy picks.
NASCAR DFS Preview: 2022 Ambetter 301 | New Hampshire
New Hampshire Motor Speedway Information
- Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
- Location: Nashua, New Hampshire
- Length: 1.058 miles
- Banking: variable banking, 2-7 degrees in the turns
- Best corollary tracks: Phoenix, Richmond, Gateway
- Dominator Points:
- DraftKings: 75.25 – laps led, 135.45 – fastest laps
- FanDuel: 30.1 – laps led
- Past winners: Aric Almirola (2021), Brad Keselowski (2020), Kevin Harvick (2019, 2018)
- Betting favorite: Ryan Blaney +600
- Entry List: 36 drivers, including J.J. Yeley (15), A.J. Allmendinger (16) and Josh Bilicki (77).
- Weather: High of 88, cloudy with storms forming later in the afternoon
- Watch: USA
- Listen: PRN (PRN, NASCAR.com, NASCAR Sirius/XM Channel 90)
On Track Schedule (All Times Eastern)
- Saturday, July 16
- 11:35 a.m.: practice and qualifying
- Sunday, July 17
- 3 p.m.: green flag (70/185/301 laps)
2022 Ambetter 301 DFS Picks
2022 Points Standings
With another victory notch in his win belt, Chase Elliott has firmly secured his spot in this year’s playoffs. Elliott’s win at Atlanta now brings him to three victories in the 2022 season, leading all drivers in that category. His 2,035 playoff points give him a 14-point advantage over the next closest driver, Ross Chastain.
However, fate nearly wrote a different story on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, as Corey LaJoie was mere laps away from securing his first Cup Series victory and throwing a real wrench into the playoffs. Even after his potential win, LaJoie still wouldn’t have technically been in the playoffs as he was outside of the top 30 in points. He would have been in an uphill battle to overtake Brad Keselowski, but it would have been a fun battle to see Spire fight and claw (perhaps with some additional help from a fellow Chevrolet team like Hendrick or TrackHouse) to get LaJoie into the playoff bubble.
Regardless, with just seven races remaining before the playoffs begin at Darlington, the playoff picture looks fairly static compared to last week. Ryan Blaney‘s point margin has grown to 133 points while Martin Truex Jr. is now 62 points above the cutoff. In the final spot, Christopher Bell‘s lead over Kevin Harvick has been shaved down to 19 points. New Hampshire, this Sunday, could end up being a very pivotal race in the 2022 playoffs as Christopher Bell has a strong history at this track, in both the Xfinity and Cup Series, while Harvick hasn’t been a slouch himself with finishes of first, first, fifth and sixth in his past four races here. Meanwhile, the driver who won this event last year (Aric Almirola), sits 18th in points currently trailing Bell by 42 points and his SHR teammate by just 23 points.
NASCAR New Hampshire Preview
As mentioned above, the schedule finds NASCAR returning to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for 301 laps around the one-mile oval in Nashua. The 2021 version of this race was marred by NASCAR’s refusal to throw the red flag during a rainstorm that seemed to happen no sooner than the dropping of the initial green flag. Kyle Busch started on the pole and sailed off to an early lead before the track became so wet that he spun out and wrecked his vehicle. Almost as soon as Busch wrecked, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates of Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin spun out as well. Busch was unable to finish the race while Truex and Hamlin continued on, although both were about as aerodynamic as a snowplow.
The removal of Busch and hindering of Truex and Hamlin opened the door initially for Chase Elliott who went on to lead the 53 of the next 55 laps once the race was restarted. However, Elliott would go on to lose the lead on lap 62 to Ryan Blaney who would lead 64 laps in total that day. Blaney’s capture of the lead would set forth a chain reaction of sorts among the Fords as Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Blaney, Matt DiBenedetto and Aric Almirola would all take stabs at the lead. In all, the lead was shared so much among these drivers that no one really away with dominator points that day. Kevin Harvick’s 66 laps led was the lowest total for the top lap leader in any New Hampshire race during the Generation Six era. Furthermore, Ryan Blaney’s 64 laps led was the second-lowest total for the driver that led the second-most laps since the Summer race at New Hampshire in 2014.
In all, four drivers led at least 10% or more of the race with no one leading more than 66 laps while the lowest among them was 53 laps led. With the impact of rain early on, Chase Elliott getting removed from the scene as a contender (finished a lap down in the 18th position) and the race getting shortened by eight laps due to a lack of sunlight, this event was just a wonky event in general and shouldn’t be a guideline as per expectations for Sunday.
Finding Correlation Elsewhere
Instead, let the three races of Phoenix, Richmond and Gateway be a better guidepost as per driver expectations for Sunday. For those weighing prior New Hampshire stats into their models this week, they will end up giving too much credence to Brad Keselowski as a potential race winner instead of a driver whose average finish at the three corollary races is 17th with an average running position of 19.3. On the flip side, Ryan Blaney showed promise in this race leading the second-most laps and finishing with his second top-five finish in his past three New Hampshire events. Meanwhile, he’s also been one of the stronger competitors at shorter tracks with minimal banking this season with three top-seven finishes and averaging nearly 100 laps led per event. As per BetMGM’s opening odds for the Ambetter 301, he’s the odds-on favorite currently at +600.
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