Brad Keselowski conquers New Hampshire

With this being my first race review, I’ll put it out there right away that the race summaries are mostly going to be really quick, unless something spectacular has happened, as my main objective will be to analyse certain events and give my views on the news coming out of the NASCAR world.

We had a crazy Sunday evening at New Hampshire with a lot of close racing, varying pit strategies and even a short sprinkle of rain at the beginning of the second stage. The first major incident came already on lap 16 when reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch blew a right front tire, sending him straight in to the wall and out of the race, meaning he is still winless in 2020. Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin were the dominant cars pretty much the whole race, with Hamlin winning stage one and Keselowski winning stage two.

Unfortunately, the battle for the lead died off at the beginning of the final stage when Keselowski finally managed to clear Hamlin and set the pace. Keselowski scored his third win of the season with Hamlin in 2nd and Martin Truex Jr. in 3rd. Kevin Harvick restarted 26th with 95 laps to go and drove all the way up to 5th, just a lap or two short of catching Joey Logano in 4th. Matt DiBenedetto scored an impressive 6th place finish, Aric Almirola scored his ninth straight top-10 finish in 7th and Cole Custer finished 8th.

The main battle towards the end of the race was for the bottom end of the top 10, where Chase Elliott eventually prevailed to take 9th ahead of Tyler Reddick, William Byron and Jimmie Johnson. This was probably the most important battle of the whole race, as it involved all the main drivers who are currently right on the bubble for the final spot in the playoffs. With the help of a few stage points, 16th placed Byron managed to increase his gap down to Reddick in 17th. With only six races left of the regular season, this battle is getting very interesting.

14. Clint Bowyer +43
15. Matt DiBenedetto +40
16. William Byron +15
17. Tyler Reddick -15
18. Jimmie Johnson -25
19. Erik Jones -31

Next weekend we will see four races across the main three series. Friday evening the Trucks Series race 100 laps at Michigan where Matt Crafton will be looking to build on his momentum from last weekend. Saturday will start off with the Xfinity Series racing 45 laps around Road America where Chase Briscoe will be going for his sixth win of the season, while Austin Cindric will be looking for redemption for the Indianapolis race. That will be followed by the first part of the Cup Series double-header at Michigan, racing 156 laps, were we can expect Kyle Busch to try to bounce back and capture his first win of the season. Then Sunday evening will see another 156-lap race in the Cup Series, with the grid being set based off of Saturdays result and the top 15 being inverted.

The two drivers to keep a close eye on for Michigan, apart from the obvious front runners, will be Alex Bowman and Tyler Reddick. Bowman scored his only win of the season at Auto Club earlier this year, which is the only other 2-mile track the Cup Series go too, and with the playoffs getting ever closer, he will need to put in some more good results to build momentum for his team going in to the Round of 16. Reddick as we all know, loves to run along the wall, and Michigan is a track where you will benefit a lot if you are able to do that. Depending on if and how they apply the PJ1*, we will probably see Reddick being one of the first drivers to venture all the way up the wall. With the playoff picture being as it is, he will need as many points as he can get, so expect him to be pushing really hard right off the bat.
*PJ1 is a traction compound applied to certain parts of the track to increase the grip of the cars in that certain area

Later this week we will take a look at the current contract situation in the Cup Series, which seats are currently vacant going in to 2021 and who I predict will end up where. Until then, stay safe!


Introduction of a new blogger

The name is Linus Broström. I’m 28 years old and self-proclaimed as Swedens biggest NASCAR fan. Now even though that may not be completely true, I’m still very passionate about the top tiers of the American oval racing series. I’ve followed NASCAR since roughly 2003 and been watching just about every Cup Series race since the 2007 Daytona 500. In recent years I’ve also started following the Xfinity and Truck Series a lot more closely as well. Towards the end of the 2018 season I also joined the NASCAR Fan Council which is something I enjoy very much being a part of.

I attended my first NASCAR races in 2015 when I went to Charlotte, NC and the 10 Days of Thunder which included the All-Star race, Coca-Cola 600, Xfinity, Trucks, Legends and an evening of World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and Late Models at the dirt track. Since then I’ve been to Richmond in 2017, the inaugural ROVAL race at Charlotte and Dover in 2018 and then another two week trip to Charlotte for the All-Star and Coca-Cola 600 in 2019. We were going again this year but due to the current world health situation unfortunately we had to postpone that trip.

So why do I want to start blogging? Well to put it simply, I’m always very opinionated on everything regarding NASCAR, especially when they make rules changes or announce other types of changes. Initially I was thinking about starting my own podcast, but with the amount of work that would require, I believe a blog is the best way to go. Hopefully I will be able to bring some enjoyment to all of you reading my entries, as well as a different point of view to what some of you may have.

Quick summary of my 2020 key points:

It’s been a great season so far in all the top three series and I’m going to start off by doing a really quick summary on where we’re at at this point of the season. More focus on specific events, rules or news within the sport will come in separate posts over time.

Despite Kevin Harvick pretty much running away in the point standings, dominating the Cup series with four wins along side Denny Hamlin with five, it’s been uncertain through most races up until the very end on who’s going to win each race. The most surprising win so far came at Kentucky when Cole Custer out of nowhere made it four-wide coming to the white flag, took the lead and won the race. Then just one week later at Texas Quin Houff tried to pit from the middle of the track, which ended up brining out a caution. Tyler Reddick stayed out on 50 lap old tires while his teammate Austin Dillon took left side tires only. They started 1-2 with 26 laps to go, and a couple of restarts and a green-white-checkred later, Dillon took his first win in three years with Rookie of the Year contender Reddick in 2nd. The biggest surprise for me this season though is Aric Almirola. Even though he’s yet to win a race this season, he’s been very consistent this year, and he’s currently on a streak of eight straight top 10 finishes. He’s also the highest point scoring driver without a win, ahead of Kyle Busch, who is still looking for his first win 19 races in to the season.

Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric are the only two Ford drivers in the Xfinity Series, but have managed to rack up a total of eight wins together over the 17 races ran so far. These two are also the drivers currently fighting it out for the regular season championship, 56 points ahead of Noah Gragson and Ross Chastain. The highlight of the season for this series for me was Chase Briscoe outrunning the reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Busch to take the win at Darlington, just days after his wife suffered a miscarriage. But who can forget the amazing first ever NASCAR race at the Indianapolis road course? Amazing five-way battle over the last few laps, with Chase Briscoe coming out on top yet again! Another exclamation point to keep an eye on throughout this year is Kaulig Racing, who are having their best season ever this year.

In the Truck Series we’ve only seen four of the full season drivers capture a total of five wins over the ten races ran so far this year. Austin Hill has started the season out best with a very solid nine top 10’s, and he’s currently leading the championship by 43 points. Grant Enfinger is the only driver with multiple wins so far, but he’s been struggling to keep consistent and finds himself all the way down in 7th place in the regular season standings.