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Analysis: Joe Gibbs Racing’s wicked good 1-2 punches at New Hampshire

A driver from Joe Gibbs Racing has finished first or second in 14 of the last 15 Cup Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Half of the times that happened, it was a JGR car parked in Victory Lane. And then twice there was a 1-2 finish between teammates in Loudon.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Betting odds | Starting lineup | Paint schemes Screen Shot 2021 07 15 At 3.09.26 Pm

The winners in that span include Matt Kenseth (three times), Kyle Busch (twice) and Denny Hamlin (twice). Kenseth no longer races in NASCAR after two part-time seasons in 2018 and 2020. Busch still pilots the No. 18 JGR Toyota, and Hamlin remains with the No. 11 entry. Martin Truex Jr. (No. 19) and Christopher Bell (No. 20) complete the four-car garage now, joining the team in 2019 and 2021, respectively, from other organizations.

Still looking at New Hampshire alone, Hamlin and Busch have the most career wins out of their teammates with three apiece. They also each have 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, oddly enough. Hamlin has that stat line in 27 starts. Busch does in 29.

Neither Truex, nor Bell have won at New Hampshire. Truex has seven top fives and 13 top 10s in 27 starts. Bell only has his 28th-place run last year, but he did go two-for-two in the Xfinity Series from 2018-19.

With that said, BetMGM has Truex as not just the JGR favorite to win Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 in Loudon (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM) but also the overall favorite. He stands at 5-1 odds – more than likely because he has won three of the seven oval races with the same 750-horsepower package that’ll be used at New Hampshire. Kyle Larson from Hendrick Motorsports has the second-best odds at 21-4, followed by Hamlin at 11-2 and Busch at 13-2, in order. Bell is further down on the board with 20-1 odds.

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Truex (three), Busch (two) and Bell (one) have already won this season, thus locking themselves into the 2021 NASCAR Playoffs. Hamlin has not.

Hamlin’s 369-point cushion on the cutline looks promising, but there are still five regular-season races left and only four spots remaining in the 16-driver postseason field. If he claims the regular-season title – Larson is catching up, now just 10 points behind – Hamlin will be playoff-bound. If he doesn’t win that or a race, and there are four new winners, he will get the boot. It’s best he wins, and New Hampshire offers a solid opportunity.

Speaking of those who have surprisingly not won this season and could at New Hampshire, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick was victorious in three of the last six races there. He has four wins at New Hampshire for his career, making him the winningest active driver in Loudon despite Joe Gibbs Racing’s recent success.