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Each year in New England, the vicious and icy grip of especially intense winters give way to the reward of the most magnificent of summers -- a great payoff for hearty New Englanders, whether they make their living in business, by trade, or in the marine agriculture industry that the area is so well-known for. And for all these people, summer starts at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for an especially well-loved northeast pastime.

The NASCAR Cup Series makes its annual visit to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend for the USA Today 301. With the New England area having a long and rich history of modified racing, NASCAR's top division has visited New Hampshire every year since 1993, providing the area's race fans with over 30 years' worth of memories as well as supplying a platform for its local racing heroes to emerge. That includes defending New Hampshire winner Martin Truex Jr., who went from watching his father race and win at this track in the Busch North Series to finally getting his first New Hampshire Cup win a year ago.

How to Watch the NASCAR Cup Series at New Hampshire

Date: Sun., Jun. 23
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway -- Loudon, N.H.
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Stream: fubo (try for free)

What to Watch

As much emphasis as is put on qualifying and the importance of track position each week, there is an interesting trend that has played out at New Hampshire. In six of the last 11 New Hampshire races, the eventual winner has started from outside the top 10.

The most dramatic recent example came in 2021 when Aric Almirola won after starting 22nd, but there have been a number of examples of such a feat being pulled off by NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers. Matt Kenseth won two in a row here in 2015 and 2016 after starting outside the top 10, as did Kevin Harvick on three different occasions in 2016, 2018, and 2019.

That being said, it isn't as though starting up front at New Hampshire doesn't correlate to race day success. Quite the opposite: Four of the last seven winners at this track have started within the top five, including both of the races here since the Next Gen car was introduced in 2022. Christopher Bell started fifth before winning Loudon in 2022, and Martin Truex Jr. started on the outside pole before cruising to victory in this race a year ago.

For what it's worth, the deepest in the field any New Hampshire winner has come from is 38th, where Jeff Burton started in July of 1999. But it's been over a decade since anyone has come from that deep in the field: The last New Hampshire winner to start outside the top 30 is Denny Hamlin, who rolled off 32nd in the fall of 2012.

News of the Week

  • Despite the impending shutdown of Stewart-Haas Racing, team co-owner Gene Haas has announced that he will retain one of his charters and remain a NASCAR owner: Haas announced Thursday that he will remain in the sport in 2025 as the owner of Haas Factory Team, which will field one Cup team and two Xfinity Series teams. The team will operate out of the existing Stewart-Haas Racing facility with Joe Custer (father of defending Xfinity Series champion Cole Custer) as team president.
  • Daniel Suarez was sworn in as a United States citizen on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., completing a major step in his journey from his native Monterrey, Mex. to racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. Suarez is now a dual citizen of both the U.S. and Mexico.
  • Reaume Brothers Racing announced this week that actor-turned-racer Frankie Muniz has joined the team for a select number of Craftsman Truck Series races. Muniz will make his Truck debut next week at Nashville and then also compete at Bristol and Kansas while making an additional ARCA Menards Series start at Michigan.

Pick to Win

Christopher Bell (+400) -- If it wasn't for a crash late in last year's race that relegated him to a 29th place finish last year, Christopher Bell's record in Cup at this track since moving over to Joe Gibbs Racing would be virtually spotless: He was second in 2021, an event in which he was catching Aric Almirola for the lead before impending darkness cut the race eight laps short, and then finished the job by winning in 2022.

His record in NASCAR's feeder series is even better, as he finished second and first in two career Craftsman Truck Series starts at Loudon and then went a perfect three-for-three in Xfinity starts here. Bell is the easy favorite for this weekend, and you'd almost be a fool not to pick him.