Top-10 Tuesday: Drivers to Watch
With four different NASCAR series descending upon the Magic Mile this weekend, there will be plenty of racing for everyone and a plethora of talent for fans to choose from with five races in three days.
With NASCAR's Whelen Modified Tour, Whelen Southern Modified Tour, K&N Pro Series East, Nationwide Series, Sprint Cup Series all scheduled to race on the 1.058-mile oval, there will certainly be a number of drivers to keep an eye on. From pilots pulling double-duty (or in one case, quadruble-duty) to drivers making their NHMS debuts, here are the top-10 drivers to watch this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
- Eddie MacDonald - A six-time New Hampshire Motor Speedway winner (three wins in both the K&N Pro Series East and American-Canadian Tour), MacDonald will make the biggest start of his career in the July 13 Camping World RV Sales 301. The native of Rowley, Mass., will pilot a Sprint Cup Series vehicle around New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the first time in his career. It will be the second race of the weekend for MacDonald, who will also compete in Friday's Granite State 100 K&N Pro Series East race.
- Ryan Preece - No one will be busier than Ryan Preece this weekend. The defending Whelen Modified Tour champion will get behind the wheel four times - three of those starts coming at the Magic Mile. Preece will suit up for Friday's inaugural Whelen All-Star Shootout, and Saturday's Sunoco 100 Whelen Modified Tour points race and the Sta-Green 200 Nationwide Series race. Preece will also run Friday night's Late Model event at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn.
- Austin Dillon - Fittingly, the No. 3 spot goes to the rookie Sprint Cup Series driver. Sunday will mark the first time since 2000 that the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 will race at the Magic Mile, and should Dillon find the Sunoco Victory Lane at the end of the Camping World RV Sales 301, it will mark not only his first-career Cup win, but the first time the No. 3 has ever won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
- Ryan Newman - Preece won't be the only driver pulling double-duty this weekend. Newman, a two-time Whelen Modified winner and three-time Sprint Cup Series winner (he got his first-ever Cup win at NHMS) will drive Saturday's Sunoco 100, as well as Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301. Newman has had a strong season so far in 2014, currently sitting eighth in points, but a win would make the first-year Richard Childress Racing pilot a serious contender.
- Andy Seuss - A native of Hampstead, N.H., Seuss cut his teeth in the northern Whelen Modified Tour before dominating the Whelen Southern Modified Tour, where he's race full-time for the last seven years. Seuss will be in the field for Friday's Whelen All-Star Shootout and Saturday's Sunoco 100, where he'll try and win at the Magic Mile for the first time in his career.
- Ben Rhodes - Rhodes, a 17-year-old in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, is having a heck of a rookie campaign. Rhodes has won five of the last six K&N races, including four in a row heading into this weekend's Granite State 100. Rhodes' four straight wins are tied with Ricky Craven (1991) for the most consecutive wins in the series and is one win away from tying Dylan Kwasniewski's record of six wins in a season set last year.
- Jeff Burton - Now a part-timer in the Sprint Cup Series, the longtime NASCAR veteran will make just his second start of the season on July 13 in the Camping World RV Sales 301. Driving for Michael Waltrip Racing, Burton could be in a perfect position to pull off the rare part-time driver victory given Brian Vickers' success last July.
- Kyle Busch - Another driver pulling double-duty, Rowdy has been simply unbeatable at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Winner of four of the last Nationwide events at the Magic Mile, Busch will go for his second straight Nationwide victory at NHMS in Saturday's Sta-Green 200 and first Cup win in Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301 at NHMS since driving for Hendrick Motorsports in 2006.
- Chase Elliott - Regan Smith might be leading the point standings, but it's the 18-year-old native of Dawsonville, Ga., that has captured the hearts of young fans and the attention of NASCAR's veterans. Already a two-time winner and currently ranked third in the standings, Elliott could become the first rookie driver to ever win a Nationwide race at New Hampshire and the first Nationwide full-timer to win at New Hampshire since Martin Truex Jr. in 2005.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Last, but certainly not least is Junior, who looked very confident when leaving a test session at New Hampshire in May. A two-time winner already this season, Earnhardt Jr. has never won a race at the Magic Mile, but Sunday could be as good a time and as realistic a moment as ever.