Why New Hampshire presents drivers with unique set of challenges
New Hampshire Motor Speedway might not be the most difficult track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit, but it does give drivers a unique set of challenges.
So different in fact, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth says you won’t find another track like it.
"Loudon is so unique in its characteristics that I really don’t think that you can compare it to anywhere else that we race," he said.
Kenseth, winner of the fall race last year at NHMS, knows that getting the car smoothly through the 12-degree corners is key.
"Loudon is a flat one-mile race track where you need to make sure that your car is turning well in the middle of the corner," said Kenseth. "There’s also usually a big swing there from the beginning of the run to the end of the run where everybody’s usually free at the start and then tight at the end."
The two-time New Hampshire winner also says finding the right balance in the car is important.
"It’s important to find that balance where you can still restart really well but also be decent in the long run," Kenseth added. "It’s challenging to find the balance necessary in order to be decent at the start but then also to have your car turning well enough to be competitive at the end of the run."
Tony Stewart, racing in his final Sprint Cup season, is one of only four active drivers with three wins at the 1-mile New England track.
But "Smoke" finds more joy in racing there than difficulty.
"There’s nothing tricky or fancy about it. It’s just a fun track," said Stewart. "It just seems like it’s always been a fun driver’s track."
"Your car has to work well there but, when you get to racing guys, you’re trying to out-brake them, trying to get your car to turn and you struggle for forward bite. It’s just got a little bit of everything the drivers look for to have a good race."
Maybe a veteran driver like Stewart or Kenseth can rise to the challenge in Sunday’s New Hampshire 301 and put an old school whooping on the rest of the field.