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A look at the Cup active wins list ahead of 2018

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When the 2018 Cup season opens with the 60th Daytona 500 in February, the field will include 22 drivers who own at least one win in their career.

Six of those drivers are past champions.

Not among them will be Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth. Earnhardt ended his Cup career in 2017 with 26 victories, the last coming in the fall 2015 Phoenix race. Kenseth likely capped off his career with his 39th Cup win in this years’ fall Phoenix race.

Here’s how the active wins list will look when the season begins in February in Daytona.

Jimmie Johnson, 83 wins: The seven-time Cup champion won three times in 2017. His win at Dover in June tied him with childhood hero Cale Yarborough. A win by Johnson in 2018 would move him into a three-way tie with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for fourth on the all-time wins list. Johnson is 10 wins behind Jeff Gordon.

Kyle Busch, 43 wins: The Joe Gibbs Racing driver won five times in 2017. He began the year tied with Kenseth with 38 wins. He moved past Hall of Famers Tim Flock and Mark Martin on the all-time wins list.

Kevin Harvick, 37 wins: The 2014 Cup champion won twice in 2017, winning at Sonoma and Texas. The Texas victory advanced him to the Championship 4. Harvick is three wins away from having 100 over all three of NASCAR’s national series.

Denny Hamlin, 31 wins: The Joe Gibbs Racing driver visited Victory Lane twice in 2017 at New Hampshire and the Southern 500. He’s won at least two races in the last three seasons. He’s the winningest Cup driver without a championship. A win in 2018 would tie Hamlin with Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.

Kurt Busch, 29 wins: The Stewart-Haas Racing driver earned the biggest win of his career in 2017, claiming the 59th Daytona 500. Busch has won at least one race in all four of his seasons with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Brad Keselowski, 24 wins: The Team Penske driver began the year tied with Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Hall of Famer Benny Parsons and Jack Smith with 21 wins. His three victories at Atlanta, Martinsville and Talladega now have him above Hall of Famer Terry Labonte (22 wins) and Ricky Rudd (23 wins).

Ryan Newman, Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne, 18 wins: Each driver won a single race in 2017.

Martin Truex Jr, 15 wins: The 2017 champion won eight times this season. Three years ago, he had just two wins in his first nine full-time Cup seasons. He is tied with Ernie Irvan on the all-time wins list.

Clint Bowyer, eight wins: The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has not won a race since 2012.

Jamie McMurray, seven wins: The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has not won since 2013.

Kyle Larson, five wins: The Chip Ganassi Racing driver claimed four victories in 2017 after finally breaking through with his first win in 2016.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr, David Ragan, two wins: Both drivers’ two wins have come at restrictor-plate tracks.

Drivers with one win: Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher, AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne and Paul Menard.

 

Driver-to-Driver with Jimmie Johnson: ‘I’ve got a lot to prove still’

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Jimmie Johnson is in his 17th year of full-time Cup racing and is in the midst the longest winless streak of his career at 42 races.

But the seven-time champion’s competitive drive is as strong as ever.

Johnson sat down with NBC Sports’ Dale Jarrett to discuss his career at this point in the latest edition of Driver-to-Driver.

“I can honestly say I spend more time now than I did my rookie year focusing on my job,” Johnson said. “I think that the support I have from my wife (Chandra), my kids are 7 and 4, to have them watch me be passionate about something has another meaning I didn’t anticipate coming. I’m lovin’ what I’m doing. I wish the results were a little better than what we have right now, but the process of what I’m going through is really fun.”

Hendrick Motorsports as a whole is in a slump. The team is in the middle of the second longest winless streak in its history at 35 races.

Johnson admits it’s hard to know when the right time will be for him to retire.

“The thing I can pull out of it is, don’t pick a number, make sure that fire’s gone out and that fire hasn’t gone out,” Johnson said. “The other thing that’s weighing on me, I don’t want to go out not at my fullest potential and not on my terms. The last thought that’s going to run through my mind is to walk away or, ‘Oh, it’s not going right, time to stop.’ Uh uh. I know I still got it. I’m going to go down swinging. I’ve got a lot to prove still.”

Watch the above video for more.

 

New Hampshire Cup race in rain delay

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The Foxwoods Resort & Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is in a rain delay.

The race was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET. The start time had been moved up from 2 p.m. ET due to the threat of weather.

Kurt Busch is on the pole and Martin Truex Jr. will start second.

Check back for more.

Staff picks for today’s Cup race at New Hampshire

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Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Nate Ryan

Denny Hamlin. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver rediscovers his magic here and locks into the playoffs.

Dustin Long

Martin Truex Jr. wins back-to-back races for the first time in his career.

Daniel McFadin

Kevin Harvick earns a career-best sixth win of the season.

Dan Beaver

Martin Truex Jr. is getting into the same groove he had last year. This week he catches Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Next week, he starts to pull away,

Today’s Cup race at New Hampshire: Start time, lineup and more

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The Cup Series holds its only race of the year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway today with the Foxwoods Resort & Casino 301.

Kurt Busch starts on the pole and Martin Truex Jr. starts second.

Here’s all the info you need for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Jean Swift, treasurer of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Counsel, at 12:51 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 1 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 301 laps (318.46 miles) around the 1.058-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 35

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 7:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 11 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:05 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Vanessa Salvucci will perform the anthem at 12:45 p.m. The Canadian National Anthem will be performed by Kirk Young at 12:42 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 1 p.m. Coverage begins at noon with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at noon p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 70 degrees and a 78 percent chance of rain and storms at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin won this race last year over Kyle Larson. Kyle Busch won the playoff race over Larson.

TO THE REAR: Landon Cassill (backup) and Michael McDowell (backup).

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the complete starting lineup.