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Posted: Friday, July 11th 2014 at 9:28am

NASCAR Preview: 12-in-12 - For some, enough is enough

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Brian Vickers would like to see a repeat of last year's surprise win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which would put him into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. / Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
LOUDON, NH - It’s been a nice run. And for the likes of Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne and a bunch of others, extending the “unique winners” streak at New Hampshire was a blast … at the time.

But 12 is enough, at least for those aforementioned drivers. Over the course of the last 12 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, 12 different drivers have won. Surprisingly, that’s not a record. Texas Motor Speedway holds that one, with 13 winners in 13 races from 1998 through 2007.

Here are the 12, many of which are looking for their first win of 2014: Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth.

Of those 12 (11 of which are running full time), seven are looking for their first win of 2014.

So while 13-in-13 would be a record-tying accomplishment, there’s a really good chance we’ll see another driver added to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field.

Aric Almirola became the 11th different winner this year, thereby most likely becoming the 11th different Chase grid member.

A look at a few drivers who could join him…

Matt Kenseth: A winner in the series’ last trip to New Hampshire, Kenseth led 106 laps. Few saw that coming – it was his first win, and going into the race he had finished outside the top 10 in eight of 10 races at NHMS.

Brian Vickers: Vickers’ win at New Hampshire made Matt Kenseth’s win at New Hampshire look like a Jimmie Johnson win at Dover. (It was really surprising.) At the time of his victory, Vickers was running a full-time schedule in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He’s finished in the top 10 in each of the past three NHMS races, so a repeat here would be a lot less surprising.

Kasey Kahne: Kahne could have ended this streak in 2012. He won the July race, and looked very strong in the Chase edition, finishing fifth. He’s led laps in five of the last six New Hampshire races.

Tony Stewart: A three-time New Hampshire winner, only Jeff Gordon has more top fives and top 10s at the track than Stewart. He’s almost always in contention, leading laps in 11 of the last 12 NHMS races.

Ryan Newman: There was a time when Newman was unstoppable at New Hampshire, starting his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with three consecutive top-five finishes there. Last year was a tough go, with finishes of 39th and 16th.

Clint Bowyer: Bowyer’s 2007 victory at New Hampshire, in which he led 222 laps, earned him a rare perfect driver rating of 150.0. He has since added another win (Sept. 2010).

WDUN will have live PRN Radio coverage of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH beginning at Noon on 102.9 FM and at 1 pm on 550 AM.

NASCAR Nationwide Series: 1-2 Finish At Daytona Gives JR Motorsports The Win, Points Lead

In the third closest finish in NASCAR Nationwide Series history at Daytona International Speedway (0.021 second) last weekend, two of the three JR Motorsports Chevrolets crossed the stripe with not only the win, but the series standings lead.

Kasey Kahne brought the No. 5 JRM Chevrolet its third victory and second consecutive win of the season; while Regan Smith, who finished runner-up just short of the Daytona sweep, took over the standings lead by 12 points ahead of Elliott Sadler in second.

Of the 16 races this season, car owner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. now has six wins (37.5%). The JR Motorsports owner was not shy to state the essential foundation of their success lies in its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and the pickup of crew chief Greg Ives.

“We have a great relationship that has gotten stronger with Hendrick,” said Earnhardt, Jr. “It’s important to have the engineering with the resources, and now the information is flowing both ways. I think that HMS gets a little out of our program and we get a whole lot of help from them. It certainly makes a big difference when you have those resources. We have been on both sides of that fence in the last six years.”

JRM heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend looking to make it three-in-a-row for the second time this season (Texas, Darlington and Richmond). Smith has made three starts at NHMS, posting a best finish of eighth last fall. Chase Elliot, third in points, will be making his series debut at NHMS.

New Englander Austin Theriault will pilot the No.5 Chevrolet this weekend. The 20 year-old from Fort Kent, Maine will be making his second start of the season and his series debut at New Hampshire. Theriault finished 15th at Iowa in his previous 2014 start.

WDUN will have live PRN Radio coverage of Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series New England 200 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH beginning at 3 pm on 102.9 FM.

NASCAR Camping World Trucks: Iowa Victory Lane Welcomes Newcomers

In its six-year history hosting the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Iowa Speedway has seen one repeat winner, Timothy Peters. With only three past winners (Peters, Ryan Blaney and Matt Crafton) expected to run Friday’s race, a new face in Victory Lane would be no surprise. Among the winless are two drivers with the highest active driver ratings with multiple starts at the track, Erik Jones (107.4) and Johnny Sauter (107.0).

By now most have heard of Jones, who’s exceling as Kyle Busch’s understudy in the No. 51 Toyota. This NASCAR Next driver from Byron, Michigan boasts an impressive average finish of 5.5 after two starts at Iowa Speedway. A win at Iowa would give Jones his second victory in the truck series and place his name in the history books as the youngest race winner at the track. His first win was in November 2013 at Phoenix when he became the youngest NCWTS winner in series history at 17 years, five months and eight days old.

On the other hand, there is nine-time series race winner Sauter. Sauter claims six top-five finishes in seven starts at Iowa Speedway, and at 36 years old he has nearly twice the experience of Jones. Sauter owns the best average finish of 4.9 at the track and is currently the series points leader.
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