Home / Cup Series / Who’s Hot & Who’s Not in NASCAR: Lobster Kissin’ and Magic Mile Repeats
(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Who’s Hot & Who’s Not in NASCAR: Lobster Kissin’ and Magic Mile Repeats

This weekend’s events at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway mirrored 2018’s results, with both Christopher Bell and Kevin Harvick defending their victories.

In the Xfinity Series’ Roxor 200 on Saturday, July 20, Bell led all but 14 laps en route to his fifth win of the season.

In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, Harvick again hoisted the lobster. This time around, though, was under slightly different circumstances. For one, this was his first win of the 2019 season. Last year he had five trophies on his shelf before the race at Loudon. Also, crew chief Rodney Childers having Harvick stay out while the leaders pitted on the last caution was key for his victory. He was able to hold off a surging Denny Hamlin in the closing laps, who tried to do what Harvick did to Kyle Busch in 2018.

HOT

Harvick, thanks to that final strategy call, came out on top at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He picked up Stewart-Haas Racing’s first win of the year and broke the Chevrolet’s recent win streak. It was his 46th win of his Cup Series career. He also has six top fives and 12 top-10 finishes this season, and has an average finish of 12.2. The win puts him third in the points standings behind Joey Logano and Kyle Busch.

NOT

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. It wasn’t an ideal finish for someone who was less than 50 points out of the playoff picture coming into this race. Stenhouse cut a tire down after racing with Erik Jones, hitting the wall hard. The damage was too severe to repair, and he was scored as next to last, ahead of Daniel Hemric. It was a frustrating afternoon for the Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 team, which is now 20th in the championship standings.

HOT

Ryan Newman. On Roush Fenway Racing’s other end of the spectrum, Newman earned his fifth top 10 in the past six races. What looked to be a washed-out weekend for the No. 6 team turned out fine once the Scott Graves-led group repaired the engine’s issues, rebounding to seventh. This was the team’s second car of the weekend (as was the case for quite a few drivers), but Newman worked his way through the field for a good finish. It helped him to get to one spot above the playoff cut line, up to 15th in the standings.

NOT

Austin Dillon. Since earning 10th place at Chicagoland, Dillon has three straight finishes of 32nd or worse. He’s starting to look like he’ll need a win in order to get in to the playoffs, but his chances are looking slim. If Dillon doesn’t crash out early next week at Pocono, like he did earlier this season, he could have a strong race. He’ll look to earn his fourth top 10 of 2019 there.

HOT

Matt DiBenedetto. “Guido” has two top fives and three top 10s in the past five races. It’s a pretty strong stretch so far for the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing team. His top fives in 2019 are the first two of his career, and Sunday’s fifth-place run was his first on an oval. Quite an accomplishment for an underdog, though his team has an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing.

NOT

Jimmie Johnson. After he looked to be turning his bad luck around, Johnson now has two consecutive 30th-place finishes. This time at Loudon, the poor finish was a result of a power steering and water pump issue. He ended the race 13 laps down and still only has three top fives and eight top 10s out of 20 races this year. His average finish so far is 15.1, and he’s just outside the cut line in the points standings behind Clint Bowyer.

Paint Schemes of the Week

Not only was Harvick victorious Sunday, but fans were too. For every green flag pass Harvick made, a fan won an annual pass to National Parks and Forests. Busch Beer also is donating to the National Forest Foundation the amount one annual pass costs for each pass on the track. One annual pass equals about 80 trees to plant in a National Forest.

This unique scheme was both fan and environmentally friendly, and fit the brand and team very well.

Ross Chastain’s No. 15 Yvars Branding Chevrolet is one of the more underrated paint schemes in my opinion. With the black flames, yellow numbers and mostly blue background, it certainly stood out on the track. Even the tiniest details are set so precisely, enhancing the Camaro’s beauty. Considering Yvars utilizes “multi-color heat press technology,” it’s no surprise that the vastly bright and dark colors worked so well together.

Socially Speaking

You know you have a fast car when you suffer this type of damage and still finish in the top 10.

More proof that NASCAR drivers are athletes.

Congratulations to Shane Lee and his family!

Also, keep Kaulig Racing and Nick Harrison’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Predictions

All three national series are back to racing this weekend. The MENCS and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series head to Pocono Raceway, while the Xfinity Series returns to Iowa Speedway.

The Gander RV 150 is slated to run Saturday, July 27 at 1 p.m. ET, with TV coverage on Fox. Todd Gilliland finished seventh in this race last year after starting second, and hopes to earn his first victory at the Tricky Triangle.

The US Cellular 250 is set to air later on Saturday, with coverage at 5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Cole Custer looks to end Christopher Bell’s win streak at Iowa. He finished second behind Bell in June after capturing the pole.

The Gander RV 400 is scheduled to run Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Kyle Busch hasn’t won in the past six races this year. He won at Pocono earlier this year in June, and including that win, he was first to the checkered flag in three of the previous four races at this track.

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6 comments

  1. Avatar

    Regarding Henry….I am a Dudette. What that team did was not a PUSHING the LIMIT THANG! IT WAS A WEEKLY OCCURENCE that resulted in him winning MANY races. MEANING those wins are tainted. That isn’t at all what shit you are talking about. Just stop! Pay attention, educate yourself!

  2. Avatar

    Todd Gilliland !!!, who cares ??? I agree with I KB on cheater Harvick, the proof and stigma should always be noted. I feel the same about True x and his crew cief, still something fishy smelling with those two. All of a sudden Marty learns how to drive like a champion on a small team out of Colorado. What are those officials missing on that car time after time. Are those officials hired off the street before every race and getting paid in beer !

  3. Avatar

    Sad when Harvick won I thought “oh the cheater won”. And I stand by that in a big way, because he won many a race last year and cheated!! He had that non compliant contraption not noticed for MANY RACES, RACES “HAPPY WON” with that illegal bs as part of the car! And then those 10’s of thousands (it seems) of NASCAR large and small people with the helmets on and the funny “Official” fire suits on FINALLY NOTICED and ONE MAN DID HIS JOB! Hurray and how embarrassing this was not addressed or noticed many races ago! His 2018 is a tainted, should be, will be forever! IMO! Only if those praising him care to have some moral honesty. Sorry, I don’t feel like cheering this Ford driver at all, SHR for that matter. All is forgiven? “YEAH HAPPY”. Ah no, just no. I think it was not made a bigger deal because of Tony being part owner, IMO. Now all is right “HAPPY” the big time cheater is back. Pffftttt SHR is back..PFFFTTT.

    • Avatar

      Dude, get over yourself. Every team that wants to win in motorsports has to push the limits and try to get something by the officials. They got caught, so they changed it. Who cares. I’m not even a Harvick fan, that’s just how motorsports work, and always have. Look up the stuff Smokey Yunick, Bobby Allison, hell even DEI in the early 00s (at restrictor plate tracks) were pulling off.

    • Avatar

      One thing to note about kb’s rant about cheaters, look at how Hendrick Motorsports has run since the inception of the laser scanning system versus the templates/claw contraption. My reaction to Johnson’s immediate falling back on the restart at the end of stage two as a mild “yeah” and arm cock. Not quite the vitriol kb has about SHR but similar sentiment. Wonder how kb feels about Hendrick Motorsports when they win or do well? Technically should be similar reaction to above due to that organizations cheating past.

      • Avatar

        Brian I feel the same way about any team. No fan of Hendrick..am a Ford fan. Imo I feel SHR has cheated the brand. Anybody with a brain knew HENDRICK was getting away with something, IMO. I still remember vividly the “if you win, back it up into the wall” comment from Chadly. That struck a nerve with me and was ignored by the lack of morals people. I get it is a competitive business, an expensive business, I do. But the crap some teams get away with, is astounding. Then others get nailed to the cross.