Loving Loudon: Shorter race means more urgency — and excitement

Brad Keselowski takes the checkered flag to win at New Hampshire in July.

Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images

So New Hampshire Motor Speedway is stop No. 2 of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase. The thing about this racetrack is passing is hard and the race is short. Last Sunday’s winner, Brad Keselowski, won the first race at Loudon this year in dominating fashion.

So I think if you are going to win Sunday at Loudon, you are going to have to beat Team Penske because in addition to Brad winning the first race, teammate Joey Logano was running second or third when he had the run-in with Morgan Shepherd.

I think the key word here is short race. I love it when we have shorter races. I love the Phoenix, Richmond and Loudon races. It puts more of a sense of urgency into these drivers and they don’t race the racetrack. They know on these shorter races they better go and go quickly. The other thing they know is there won’t be many trips to pit road, which means you aren’t going to get a lot of opportunities to adjust on your car.

The drivers in the Chase who struggled at Chicago know they are already behind and will need to really go on Sunday at Loudon or their chance to win the championship will be all but gone. We know strategy will be all over the place. It always is there and always will be. I love it because it makes for very interesting racing.

The other thing that will play a role, as it has all season week in and week out, is the restarts after a caution. We said it again last Sunday at Chicago. I also think some of these crew chiefs will approach this race somewhat like a road course where they run the race backward to calculate the fewest possible trips to pit road.

So there is going to be even more pressure on everyone this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. For some of those 16 drivers the noose will tighten even more after the checkered flag waves Sunday afternoon.