NASCAR back in New England this weekend

Sunday race will feature final NASCAR appearance of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in New England

Denny Hamlin celebrates win in Overton's 301 back in July. Image Courtesy: Matt Wiernasz

LOUDON, N.H. (WWLP) –  NASCAR is back in New England this week as drivers head to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for their final NASCAR playoff race this year.  The race will head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in September 2018.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs kicked off this past weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.  Martin Truex, Jr kicked off the playoffs with a win in the event.  He plans to carry the momentum heading into the Magic Mile this weekend as he has come close to winning at Loudon and hopes to be holding the lobster in victory lane this weekend. There were 11 out of the 16 playoff drivers that finished in the top 11 in the race.  It will be the final appearance for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr as a driver here in New England.

Joe Gibbs Racing hopes to continue their magic at Loudon as Denny Hamlin took down the win in July at the Overton’s 301. Kevin Harvick is the defending winner of the ISM Connect 300.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will also have their final appearance here in New England for the UNOH 175 as the series will kickoff their playoffs this weekend at the Magic Mile. Johnny Sauter took down the win at Chicagoland Speedway.   The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series features veteran and young talented drivers.  William Bryon is the defending winner but will not be at Loudon this weekend as he will be racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kentucky Speedway.

A fan favorite the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return for the F.W. Webb 100. Bobby Santos took down the win back in July.  The race saw 16 lead changes among four drivers. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour raced at Riverhead Raceway. Timmy Solomito picked up his fourth win of the year.  Ryan Preece carries a six point lead over Doug Coby and nine points over Solomito. Preece will not be at New Hampshire racing this weekend as he will be racing for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kentucky Speedway.

The racing community in Western Massachusetts and throughout the country were saddened with the passing of NASCAR Champion Ted Christopher.  Christopher, out of Plainville, Connecticut, was flying to Riverhead, New York when his plane crashed between the Guilford/North Branford line in Connecticut. The pilot was also killed.  Christopher was a multi time winner at the Magic Mile in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Christopher was 59-years old.

The American Canadian Tour Invitational will take place this weekend.  It will be 43 of the best drivers from all over the Northeast and in provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Four local drivers from Western Massachusetts will have the opportunity to showcase their talent at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  They will be Adam Gray of Granby, Joel Monahan of Whatley and Tom Carey, Jr and Tom Carey, III out of New Salem.

The action will kickoff with practice and qualifying.  Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying will take place at 5:15 on Friday.

Saturday will feature practice, qualifying, and racing.  The UNOH 175 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. The F.W. Webb 100 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. and the ACT Tour Invitational will cap off the day at 5:00 p.m.

The ISM Connect 300 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race will kickoff at 2:00 p.m.