Welcome to Loudon, New Hampshire! After last week’s disappointing fuel mileage finish we come to one of Austin’s better tracks! It is certainly a welcome change, while the 3 team is good at mile and a half “downforce” tracks, it’s good to come to something different, a track that really tests drivers.
Kentucky wasn’t a bad race, the 3 team ran near the front all night and showed speed, strength, and great stops. The problem was, we were on the wrong side of the fuel mileage game. Fuel mileage races can be exciting but also can leave you scratching your head and asking, “What happened?” That’s exactly what happened to Austin. 16th isn’t bad, but when you run top 5 or top 10 all night, it feels disappointing.
So we come to Loudon. Home of Clint Bowyer’s first win in the RCR 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet Impala. Clint dominated that race, lead almost every lap, and all 43 cars were running at the finish that day. I bring this up because RCR has another driver in a black and white car looking for his first win. Could this weekend be it?
Austin averages a 21st starting position and an average just above 14th. It’s one of very few tracks where he normally finishes better than he starts. Averaging 6th place in trucks and 9th place in Xfinity, this is one of Austin’s better tracks. He holds a lifetime average of about 10th, with a momentum modifier of +4 positions over his career average, we should see Austin finish around 6th.
A quick overview of the track, it’s just over a mile, variable banking in the turns from 2-7 degrees and 1 degree banking on the straights. The surface is asphalt & granite, a unique combination which will surely challenge S.J. Golembeski with tire setup. Slugger & Greg will have to make sure the 3 car is turning pretty through the corners for Austin. Austin is a dirt track racer and use to getting through some flat turns, so this track should play to his strengths.
Finally, with Dale Jr. sitting out due to concussion symptoms, please wish him well, say a prayer if you’re willing to do that. It’s a reminder that this is a sport, a dangerous sport, one that is played with lives, not just high horsepower vehicles. As our drivers go out each weekend, they risk their lives for our entertainment. Every time that Jason, Justin, Ty, Sam, Brian, and Josh jump over that wall to service the car, they put themselves in harms way, for we fans. Make sure you thank these gentlemen for all that they do, so we can enjoy the race. It’s amazing we don’t have more incidents in racing, but let us be thankful for that also.
Enjoy the race, I’ll see you in the box.