Clint Bowyer could take a lot of stress out of his life with a victory at the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on Sunday. Bowyer is angling to get into the playoffs, which begin September 15 at Las Vegas.

Clint Bowyer could punch his tickets to the playoffs with a victory this Sunday at the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. (Image: AP)

The reason Bowyer is so optimistic is his record at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The 40-year-old has won two of his 10 Cup Series races on the flat 1.058-mile layout, dubbed the “Magic Mile.” But those victories were in 2007 and 2010. His record the last three times there has been 35th, seventh and seventh.

Nonetheless, Bowyer is optimistic about his chances this weekend. He is listed at 16/1 to win.

“I love New Hampshire,” Bowyer said. “That place just fits my driving style. We don’t get up to that part of the country a lot, so it’s good to see the race fans there.”

Currently Bowyer is tied for 14th with seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

It is quite bunched at the cut line for the playoffs. Bowyer and Johnson have an eight-point margin over Erik Jones. Ryan Newman, who is the first driver outside the bubble, is two points behind Jones.

Bowyer worked himself out of a mini-slump last week in Kentucky. He finished sixth there, after finishing  35th at Michigan, 37th at Chicagoland, and 34th at Daytona.

“We dug ourselves a hole in June and we are trying to climb out of it,” Bowyer said. “We aren’t a 16th-place team. I know we are better than that.”

Odds Favor Joe Gibbs Racing

Teammates Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are the top picks for this week. Busch, who was edged out by his brother Kurt last week, is at 5/2. Truex is next at 4/1.

The two Joe Gibbs Racing members have been tearing up NASCAR this year. Both drivers have four victories, and JGR has two more on top of that.

They also have a stranglehold on New Hampshire. JGR has won five of the last seven races there.

“Loudon is a Martinsville-like short track, but it’s just over a mile,” Busch said. “It’s a little more spread out, but there’s some rooting and gouging going on because it’s a one-lane track and everybody fights for that particular groove. To be fast at Loudon, you have to have good brakes and you have to roll the center really well and get that good forward bite off the corners and make sure it sticks.”

Harvick Looks To End Slump

One driver that broke up JGR’s dynasty at New Hampshire is Kevin Harvick. The defending champion also won here in 2016.

Harvick is winless this season, but the 11/2 favorite to win on Sunday.

“I feel like we’ve always run fairly well here,” Harvick said. “I feel like we probably should have been to Victory Lane 10 times here, but you look at the results, and it’s just hard to win these races, but over the last few years it’s gone OK and we’ve been on the right side of it.”

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