NASCAR in New Hampshire: The Eckel 4 pick Kyle Busch, longshot Ryan Blaney, more, at the Foxwoods Resorts 301
Foxwoods Resorts 301, Loudon, New Hampshire 3 p.m. TV: NBCSN
It’s certainly not breaking news. It is still rather astonishing that as NASCAR enters its 22nd race, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin have yet to record a win.
There have been 12 different drivers through the first 21 weeks to hit Victory Lane, with Kurt Busch making it a dozen last week in Atlanta. Yet Harvick (58) and Hamlin (44) with 102 combined wins are not among them in 2021.
If the drought for either Harvick or Hamlin is going to end this could, or should, be the week.
Harvick won here in both 2018 and 2019 becoming the first driver to repeat since Jeff Burton won three straight from 1997-99. Last year Harvick made it three straight top five finishes with a fifth-place.
Hamlin has won twice here as well in 2007 and 2017 and finished second the past two years.
Among The Eckel 4, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis, there is some sentiment toward Hamlin. But none for Harvick.
Here’s how “The 4’’ see the race.
Kyle Busch (6-1): Busch is getting hot at the right time and both “Left Turn’’ who celebrated his birthday this weekend and the Doc think he’s in line for his second win of the season. He has won this race twice (2006, 2015).
Martin Truex Jr. (5-1): This has never happened before. None of “The 4’’ picked Truex to win the race, but all four picked him to finish second. Not sure what that means, but don’t leave him out of the mix. The New Jersey native finished third here last year and fourth in 2018.
Denny Hamlin (5-1): The line tells me something. This could be Hamlin’s week. I mean the overall points leader is racing too well not to win eventually, right? Right? Two of the four mentioned Hamlin, with one (me) putting him on top.
Kyle Larson (5-1): “Tobacco Road’’ is looking for Larson to get back to his winning ways after a 16th-place finish in Wisconsin and an 18th-place finish last week in Atlanta.
Longshot Play: Ryan Blaney (18-1): Those are pretty good odds for a driver who has been very consistent all season.