The Backstretch Blog's Race Day: A Rock and a Lobster
Race two of the NASCAR's playoffs takes us to New Hampshire. It's a state that is famous for the great 'Old Man of the Mountain' rock and of course lobster. Some people are bigger fans of the latter than others, right Denny Hamlin.
But I'm sure Hamlin would relive that 'terrifying' encounter with the beast lobster he had in back in July again, if that meant he could picky up a win at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the playoffs.
"I've never really liked them to begin with. I don't like the taste of them. I don't - I just don't like looking at them," said Hamlin. " It's obviously a great race track for us and we've performed really well here. I didn't think we had the best car here earlier this year, but we found a way to win and that was really important. Hopefully, we have a little bit better car, give ourselves a better chance to win."
Hamlin is one of 11 former New Hampshire winners in Sunday's race and one of nine playoff drivers with a win. Since it's a good track for so many drivers, they are all hoping this is the place their team can punch a ticket to round two of the playoffs.
"It just gives you confidence, because of the wins and everything," said Kurt Busch who has three New Hampshire victories. "It's a place where I feel like I especially know what It takes from the car and the driver to be successful."
Early success this weekend has been with Kurt's brother Kyle, who will start Sunday's race on the pole.
"I didn't think I hit it very well, actually," said Busch after his lap in the final round of qualifying. "I was going to go out and run my second lap and try for a little bit more, but I slipped off of (Turn) 2 really bad, so I just had to abort. It definitely wasn't going to be any faster."
But it was fast enough. Kyle Busch will be joined on the front row by Kyle Larson, with Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex, Jr. rounding out the top five starters.
Tennessee native Trevor Bayne will start 23rd.
"We definitely are ready to get back to New Hampshire this weekend and see if the changes we made from the summer race will apply well this weekend," said Bayne. "It's always fun to race in Fenway's backyard up here and hopefully on Sunday we will put on a good show."
The green flag is set to drop on the ISM Connect 300 at 2:15pm. You can watch the race on the NBC Sports Network.