Who to Watch for at the Monster Mile
Dover International Speedway is one of the toughest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. It has high banks and narrow pit roads and has a short track feel with superspeedway speeds.
Over the past few years there has been five drivers that stand out at Dover. These drivers always seem to be in the mix when it comes down to the end of the race and you will have to keep your eyes on them this weekend.
Jimmie Johnson- During the past 14 Dover races, no one has had a better driver rating than Johnson. He has a rating of 118.6 and and is a six-time winner at the track. He was dominate during the fall race but finished second to Kurt Busch. His success should not falter this week as the No. 48 team has been on a roll as of late and show no signs of slowing down.
Matt Kenseth- Last year Kenseth won for the second time at Dover after taking two tires on his final pit stop. Strategy may have gotten the 17 team to victory lane that day, but that doesn’t mean Kenseth won’t be a threat to win this weekend. This is one of the few tracks where Kenseth qualifies good which is always a dangerous sign for the competition. Also, he has led 12 percent of the laps in the past 14 races at Dover which is second best to only Jimmie Johnson. The problem he has at this track is closing. Kenseth leads most of his laps early at Dover but eventually is overtaken by someone else at the end. If Kenseth is able to maintain his position or gain spots past the halfway point, he will be a threat for the win.
Greg Biffle- Another two-time winner at Dover, Biffle will be looking to extend his point lead with a win. Biffle has been strong all year long and has shown great consistency at all tracks so far. The Biff usually has a tendency to run really well at only some tracks and horrible at the others. This season Biffle is running well at tracks that for the most part cause him trouble. If he is running well at tracks that are not his best, imagine how good he will run at his most successful tracks. One of his most successful tracks is at Dover. He has a driver rating of 105.4 in the last seven years and will be a major threat this weekend.
Kyle Busch- The younger Busch brother has not always had success at Dover, but that changed ever since he joined Joe Gibbs Racing. With two wins in the past four years at Dover, Busch has has shown that he will be a threat this weekend. He finished fourth and sixth in last year’s races.
Carl Edwards- Cousin Carl has only won at Dover once, but he has the best average finish among active drivers (6.6). He is all but guaranteed to finish in the top 10 this weekend and will join his Roush-Fenway teammates in battling for the win. Edwards has not been performing like he was last season and Dover will be the perfect place for him to start turning his season around.
These five drivers have combined to win 11 of the past 14 Dover races and there is a good chance one of these five will win this weekend. They are the only drivers to have a driver rating over 100 at Dover and the track has not changed much which makes it more likely they will have the right setup.
It’s going to be hard to beat Jimmie Johnson this weekend. He has been so dominant at this track and this weekend we should see more of the same. In the last 14 races at Dover, Johnson has led 28.4 percent of the laps and as mentioned before has the highest driver rating. Hendrick Motorsports has been on a roll and every since their 200th win they have been unstoppable.
Ever since the Car of Tomorrow, Dover has had many races that were full of long green flag runs. That has been the theme for this season so far and it should continue at Dover. This means that there will be few opportunities to make adjustments on the cars. This will favor drivers who are well prepared heading into the weekend. Say what you want about Jimmie Johnson and the 48 team, but they are probably the most prepared team heading into any race weekend.
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