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The Backstretch Blog: Loudon Calling

Auto RacingMatt KensethKevin HarvickJoey LoganoKasey KahneJimmie JohnsonJeff Burton

This week NASCAR is heading to Loudon, New Hampshire home of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This track used to be the first race in the chase until two seasons ago. Now it's race number two. A second chance to make a chase statement.

"It matters.  Every single point, every position is equally as important from here all the way until the last lap at Homestead," said last week's winner Matt Kenseth, who is also the points leader.  "So, you want to get as many points as you can get each and every week.  We did a great job of that at Chicago.  You want to enjoy the wins, then go to work on the next race, try to go there and get as many points as you can.  Just kind of take it one week at a time."

 This week's track is not one of the mile and a half tracks that litter the chase and that Kenseth is so good at. It's only a mile long, and flat compared to most tracks.

"The hardest thing is just making your car turn in the middle of the corner and being able to have enough forward drive up off," said Kevin Harvick. "It always seems like the New Hampshire race comes down to a track position strategy call on two tires or four tires toward the end of the race. Track position will play a big part, but getting your car to handle right will probably play an equal part."

Harvick has been able to find that balance in the past, he won in Loudon in 2006. But when you talk about the drivers who really run well at New Hampshire you have to start (as you do with most tracks) with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Each has three wins.

Clint Bowyer, and Kurt Busch have not won in 2013. Each has two wins at New Hampshire is calling their name and they have this race circled on the calender.

Ryan Newman is a multiple time winners in New Hampshire with two victories. Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano are also chasers with Loudon victories.

"Maybe we’ll do it again, I don’t know," said Logano. "You have to prepare for whatever the race throws at you and that includes the weather. We fought the weather last week, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Something always happens here in Loudon because it seems like you have the opportunity for rain when you come up here, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens."

Of the non-chasers Denny Hamlin (2), and Jeff Burton (4) have more than one win at this track. Brian Vickers, Mark Martin, and Joe Nemechek have also found victory lane in the Granite State.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Auto RacingMatt KensethKevin HarvickJoey LoganoKasey KahneJimmie JohnsonJeff Burton
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