NASCAR Pre-Race Media: Dover Track Trends, Race Preview, etc

TRACK: Dover International Speedway (1 mile oval) DISTANCE: 400 Laps — STAGE 1: 120 Laps, STAGE 2: 120 Laps, FINAL STAGE: 160 Laps, MILES (400 Miles)

  • Only the 2nd time since 1970 that we will run just one race on the track.
  • Since the stage era started in 2017, the eventual race winner has finished in the top 10 at the end of the two stages per race in all but one try (2019 Race 1). That was due to the doubleheader and pit strategy for the end of the first stage.
  • Furthermore, 14 of the 16 stages run have seen the eventual race winner finish in the top five.
  • In the final stage (9 times) the race winner finished in the top 10 in all of them with a top five finish in 8 of the 9.
  • 6 of the last 7 final stages have seen the eventual race winner finish either 1st, 2nd or 3rd at that including both races in 2020 seeing the winners sweep both stages.
  • The pole winner has won 13 times at Dover. But, what’s odd is, there’s not been a pole winner to win on the Monster Mile though since 2011.
  • Ford has only won 2 of the last 20 Dover races.

TRACK COMPARISONS

Most banked among the 3 one-mile tracks on the schedule. Also a concrete track that makes it vastly different too. Very fast which makes this very tough on equipment and tires. A place where 4 tires on every stop is key. Closest to Bristol in resemblance.

Talladega Preview Show

Dover Recap Show


Favorites

Hendrick Motorsports

Kyle Larson (+450)

Just look at what he’s done at this track with Ganassi (3 straight top 3’s), then see a runner-up last year too with Hendrick Motorsports on the Monster Mile. He also has 10 top 10’s in his last 12 starts there including 7 of them being in the top five. On the season, Larson has 3 top 5’s in the last 4 races at that.

William Byron (+900)

He has two straight 4th place finishes at Dover and has led the most laps in 4 of the last 6 races on the season as well.

Chase Elliott (+900)

He’s scored four top five finishes in his last six Dover starts. Also, the current Cup Series points leader has scored 5 top 10 finishes in the last 6 weeks run on the year.

Alex Bowman (+1000)

A top three finish in both races in 2019 to go along with a fifth place run in race 2 of 2020 and a win last year gives him 4 top 5’s in his last 5 tries there. He has 5 top 10’s in the last 6 weeks.

DOVER, DELAWARE – MAY 16: Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, wins during the NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 16, 2021 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Sleepers:

Kevin Harvick (+1200)

Why not? 7 straight top six finishes including two of which being wins. He was fourth in both races in 2019, fourth and first respectively in 2020 and sixth a year ago.

Joey Logano (+1200)

He has 3 straight top 8 finishes including 5 in his last 6 in Dover.

Denny Hamlin (+1200)

Hard to ignore here. Hamlin, has 5 top seven finishes in his last seven Dover starts including a runner-up in 2018 and a victory in 2020.

Martin Truex Jr. (+1200)

The speed is there. Truex, has a win in the spring race of 2019 and three straight runner-ups to follow before being 19th last season. Since 2014, he has 12 top 10 finishes (15 starts) including eight top four finishes in his last 10 tries.

Kyle Busch (+1400)

Which Busch shows up this weekend? In the spring race, he has just one top 10 in his last seven tries if you ignore 2020 since it took place in late summer. In fact, his 10th place showing in 2019 was his only finish in the top 15 in that time frame. But, in his last six Fall races, Busch has six top 10’s including a win and two runner-ups. Now, the weekend’s are combined..

Chase Briscoe (+2000)

May be a good stretch of racing for him coming up. Briscoe took over a car that Clint Bowyer scored four top 10 finishes including a runner-up in the spring race in 2018, in his last seven starts on the Monster Mile. Plus, Briscoe was 10th and first respectively in the two races in Xfinity Series competition in 2020 to go along with 3 top 5’s in 4 NXS starts on the track. That’s why despite a 35th place finish in 2021, I still have him as a sleeper.

Daniel Suarez (+5000)

Trackhouse has been vastly improved in 2022. Suarez, finished 9th for them there last year. With two wins from his teammate this season, Dover is a place to where Suarez can scored his 1st career win at. He has 6 top 11’s in 9 starts on the Monster Mile in Cup competition. In Xfinity, he has 5 top 10’s in 6 starts including a win in 2016. In 2 Truck Series starts, Suarez finished 2nd in both. To say this track is one of his best is an understatement. That’s 17 career national touring divisions starts at Dover with 13 top 11’s including 5 of which in the top 3.

Cole Custer (+10000)

A pair of top 10’s as a rookie, a 10th place run last season and a win in the Fall of 2019 in the Xfinity Series makes him a strong sleeper. Custer, actually had five top eight results in six NXS starts on the Monster Mile to go along with a fifth place finish in Trucks there in 2016 too.

Fades

Ryan Blaney (+1200)

0 top 5’s and just 2 top 10’s in 11 career Dover starts isn’t ideal. His last 6 Dover starts have seen him finish 12th or worse.

Brad Keselowski (+3500)

No top 5’s in his last 9 Dover starts to go along with only 1 in his last 13 puts him on this list.

Austin Dillon (+5000)

The odds wouldn’t necessarily put him here, but Dillon has 4 top 10’s in the last 5 weeks on the season including 2 top 3 results in the last 3 in general. However, while this may be a sexy picks then at +5000, Dillon was ninth in 2020 at Dover for just his third top 10 in Monster Mile starts. He’s never had a top five there.

Kurt Busch (+5000)

While he has 3 top 10’s, 2 of which being 5th place run over his last 8 Dover starts, he’s not had a result better than 5th since his 2011 win.

Aric Almirola (+10000)

Just 1 top 10 in his last 10 Dover starts including 4 of his last 5 being 16th or worse.


DOVER, DELAWARE – MAY 16: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 NationsGuard Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 16, 2021 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

DuraMax Drydene 400 Race preview

Dover has been a place that rewards the best on the season winning. Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick combined to win 16 times in 2020. 2 of those 16 came in the two Dover races. Alex Bowman won 4 times last year. 1 of which was in Dover. It’s just a place that rewards speed. Well, if you go back to 2016 even, we’ve had 10 straight races at Dover to where someone led at least 100 laps.

However, in each of the last 2 weeks on the year, the eventual race winner led just 1 lap – the final one. In fact, they didn’t even lead the full final lap. They only led on the final stretch.

We’ve actually had 6 races to where the race winner didn’t even lead a lap in the 1st two stages run and another to where they had led just 1 lap at the point of the second stage break. That’s a big part of the reason as to why we’ve had 1 race winner al year come from 12-1 or lower odds.

So, will we see another unpredictable race on Sunday?

You really have a Hendrick Motorsports vs. Stewart-Haas Racing battle shaping up.

Hendrick Motorsports (stats above) went 1-2-3-4 last season and has all 4 drivers in the top 7 in points this season. I think you start there with the favorites.

The reason for SHR? Well somebody has to step up to the plate to challenge HMS.

For Penske, they’ve had just 1 win all year with the No. 2 car having only won 2x in the last 2 years – both on superspeedway’s. Joey Logano (2 Dover top 5’s last 13 tries), has 2 wins in the last 77 races. His last 2 wins came in a football stadium (Busch Clash) and Bristol Dirt.

His last points paying race win not on dirt?

Oct. 18, 2020.

Ryan Blaney (0 top 5’s in 11 Dover tries) has been the most consistent in finding victory lane, but he hasn’t won since the 2021 regular season finale.

Joe Gibbs Racing may not fare much better. Denny Hamlin has 1 top 10 all season, Christopher Bell has 1 top 5 all year, Martin Truex Jr. has 2 top 5’s all season while Kyle Busch has just 1 top 10 in his last 7 Dover spring starts. In fact, he has 1 top 15 in that span too.

That may open the door to SHR then. You can essentially eliminate Almirola (1 top 10 in his last 10 Dover starts) but factor in Cole Custer (stats above), Kevin Harvick (stats above) and Chase Briscoe (+2000) as sleepers.

Trackhouse with Daniel Suarez (stats above) and Ross Chastian (2 wins in 2022) are the only other main challengers.

Of Note

Dover’s history could be up in the air after the sale of the track. NASCAR has come here every year since 1969 as this could potentially be the 104th and final race depending on the future schedule.


Key Stat

3 of the last 5 Dover winners have come from a starting spot of Row 7 or worse. However, the 2nd place starting spot has won half (4) of the last 8 races there too.

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