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The Backstretch Blog's Race Day: Taking on the Magic Mile

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Track nicknames always amuse me. Some, like Bristol's 'Last Great Coliseum' or Daytona's 'World's Center of Speed' are spot on. Others leave you scratching your head.

This week NASCAR takes on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway or the 'Magic Mile.' New Hampshire is a perfectly fine race track, but there is nothing particularly magical about it. It's not your typical short track, it's definitely not a speedway. Again, it's a fine track and it has maybe the best victory lane (winner gets a lobster). None of this makes this weekend magical to me, but I digress.

"It's really a blown-up Martinsville pretty much," said Ryan Blaney. "Martinsville times two I guess you could say. There are some characteristics about Phoenix that you can apply to New Hampshire. Turns three and four at Phoenix are pretty similar to New Hampshire, really the whole race track."

Eleven former NHMS winners are in the field this weekend, including three-time winner Jimmie Johnson. Matt Kenseth won this race a season ago, Kevin Harvick won the last time we were here, in September.

"New Hampshire is a scrappy track - it's tough," said Johnson. "We've had some speed there lately but just haven't challenged for wins. If its anything like last race, tires will be really important."

Kyle Larson won the pole but he had it stripped because he failed post-qualifying inspection. So he will start 39th and Martin Truex, Jr. will start from the pole. Johnson, Kenseth, Jamie McMurray and Kasey Kahne round out the the top five starters.

The greene flag is set to drop at 3:15pm. You can watch the race on the NBC Sports Network.

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