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Best Early Bests for the Crayon 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

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Sunday the Cup Series will make its one trip of the year to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. New Hampshire is a 1-mile long true oval. The track has just 1 degree of banking on the straightaways and is progressively banked from 2-7 degrees in the turns.

Given its length and limited banking the track is most often compared to Phoenix and Richmond. There are significant difference however as both of those tracks have more banking and neither is a true oval. Some handicappers also include Gateway in the model for New Hampshire. I am not using Gateway though. When looking at my incident adjusted speed metric, the correlation from Gateway to New Hampshire in 2022 was fairly low. Looking at correlation from New Hampshire 2022 to Gateway 2023 correlation was also low. As NASCAR is also using a different areo-package from Gateway at New Hampshire. This simply confirms that the Gateway data is likely to be less useful.

Turning to my expected performance metric, as you might expect, the metric is dominated by drivers with strong short flat history. Toyota in particular sticks out this week. Three of the Top 5 drivers in my metric, Martin Truex Jr, Christopher Bell, and Denny Hamlin, drive Toyotas. Christopher Bell tops the metric, which should surprise no one. Bell dominates this track, having won all three of his Xfinity Series starts as well as the 2022 Cup race. Bell also finished second here in 2021. However, its not Bell, or even a Toyota that I am keying in on this week before practice and qualifying.

Kevin Harvick | Top 10 -175 and Top 5 +150 (BetRivers and Barstool Sportsbook)

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Every time when I dig into the numbers I am amazed at just how consistent Kevin Harvick is on short flat tracks. We have had seven races at Phoenix, Richmond, and New Hampshire in the Gen 7 car. Harvick has finished inside the Top 10 all seven times. He is the only driver to have done so. He also has six Top 5 finishes. No other driver has more than three.

He is not lucking into good finishes either. Harvick has completed 85% of his laps inside the Top 10 at these tracks. The next best driver is Kyle Larson at 80%. He has completed 44% of his laps inside the Top 5. Only Kyle Larson and William Byron have done better.

In his time with SHR Harvick has finished in the Top 10 in 10 of 13 races (76%) at New Hampshire. He has finished inside the Top 5 nine times (69%). The three races where he finished outside the Top 10 all involved incidents. Given the percentage of laps he has run in the Top 10 and Top 5 in 2022 and 2023, I’m willing to follow these numbers. I would bet his Top 10 odds down to -190 and the Top 5 odds down to +125. I have 1.75u to win 1u on the Top 10 bet and 1u to win 1.5u on the Top 5 bet.

Harvick hasn’t qualified well the past few years. As such It’s possible that these odds get longer after a poor qualifying effort. That said, I’m happy with these odds and I want to lock in the prices now. Unless he has a total disaster in qualifying I don’t really see the odds getting longer. If he qualifies well, well then even the Top 5 could end up minus money.

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