Sylvania 300 race day preview

What You Need To Know 

Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, NH

Track Specs: 1.058-mile oval, banking variable at 2°-7°

Race distance: 300 laps ; 317.4 miles

Scheduled green flag time: 2:17 p.m. ET

Weather forecast: Partly sunny, high 73° with a 20-percent chance of rain

Broadcast television: ESPN with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET

Radio: Performance Racing Network/ Sirius XM Channel 90

Things to Keep an Eye On

Brad Keselowski looks to maintain is lead in the Sprint Cup standings after winning last Sunday’s GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Keselowski currently holds a three-point lead over Jimmie Johnson.

After winning the pole for Sunday’s Sylvania 300, Jeff Gordon looks to race his way back into title contention with a solid finish—or even a win—on Sunday. Gordon currently sits 12th in Sprint Cup points, 47 points behind.

In final practice on Saturday, Toyota drivers swept the top-five positions on the overall speed chart with Denny Hamlin leading the way. Hamlin, who will start Sunday’s race from the 32nd position after an error in qualifying, lead the way in all three practice sessions. In final practice, Hamlin was followed by: Joey Logano, Brian Vickers, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr.

Repeat winners at New Hampshire Motor Speedway are hard to come by as of late. In the past 10 races at NHMS, nine different drivers have gone to victory lane. Clint Bowyer was the only driver to repeat wins in 2007 and 2010.

Following an engine change after final practice, Brian Vickers will start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field. Vickers qualified his Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in the fourth position on Friday.

This Weekend’s News 

It was announced on Saturday that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will compete in three of the eight remaining (following Sunday’s race at NHMS) Sprint Cup Series races in 2012. Stenhouse Jr.’s first start will come next weekend at Dover International Speedway with additional appearances at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October and Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.

According to a report by NASCAR.com, Regan Smith will not return to Furniture Row Racing in 2013. Smith currently sits 23rd in Sprint Cup points.

Fantasy Racing Picks 

“A” Driver: Denny Hamlin

“B” Drivers: Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne

“C” Driver: Brian Vickers

Sylvania 300 Starting Lineup 

1: Jeff Gordon

2: Kyle Busch

3: Tony Stewart

4: Brian Vickers*

5: Carl Edwards

6: Kasey Kahne

7: Paul Menard

8: Ryan Newman

9: Martin Truex Jr.

10: Sam Hornish Jr.**

11: Jeff Burton

12: Clint Bowyer

13: Greg Biffle

14: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

15: Brad Keselowski

16: Kevin Harvick

17: Bobby Labonte

18: Joey Logano

19: Aric Almirola

20: Jimmie Johnson

21: Marcos Ambrose

22: Regan Smith

23: Kurt Busch

24: Juan Pablo Montoya

25: Matt Kenseth

26: David Ragan

27: Scott Speed

28: Landon Cassill

29: Jamie McMurray

30: Casey Mears

31: Michael McDowell

32: Denny Hamlin

33: Travis Kvapil

34: David Reutimann

35: Reed Sorenson

36: Joe Nemechek

37: David Gilliland

38: Casey Mears

39: Stephen Leicht

40: JJ Yeley

41: Tony Raines

42: Mike Olsen

43: David Stremme

*Engine change

** Dave Blaney qualified the car for Hornish Jr. while Hornish practiced his Nationwide Series car at Kentucky Speedway.