Thursday, October 1, 2015

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: The Dover Contender Round Closer


Track Classification: Short Track
Similar Tracks: Bristol Raceway • Martinsville Speedway
Phoenix International Raceway •  Richmond International Raceway
Distance: 1 mile

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Both with 5 - Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch  
Both with 4 - Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer
All with 3 - Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth 

By Track
Clint Bowyer - 9
Jimmie Johnson - 8
All with 6 - Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch  

Recent Pole Winners:
2014 Kevin Harvick
2013 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The Likely Suspects:  Racing at the Monster Mile is always exciting, but add in the Chase format and you'll have 12 really happy drivers, four disappointed drivers and perhaps even a non-Chase spoiler. Look for these drivers to run well this week: Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon, "Concrete" Carl Edwards, Matt Kenneth, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.

My 2 Cents: This closing race of the first round of the Chase will be dramatic in many ways, not the least of which is an unsure weather predicament: Hurricane Joaquin. About the only sure thing we know is rain is a likely outcome all weekend. We may be looking at an unusual race day scenario since Dover has a spotless record when it comes to running full races. In fact, not one of the 91 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Dover International Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions. Hmm, this may be the first. Could we be racing on a Tuesday?

My no-brainer pick for whenever we race is a tie between Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick. Ordinarily I would pick Matt Kenseth, but Harvick needs the win to remain a Chase contender unless he wants to depend on lots of bad luck happening to at least four of his Chase competitors.

My next picks are: Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray. If I had a Carl Edwards start left I would pull McMurray and start Edwards. I will round out my team with Danica Patrick and Justin Allgaier.  

My final four: Harvick, Truex Jr., Bowyer and Patrick.

Points to ponder:
  • The second-place starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position at Dover International Speedway.  
  • About three-quarters -- 71 of the 91 (78%) -- of the Sprint Cup races at Dover have been won from a top-10 starting position.
  • Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins at Dover in the Cup Series with 18: Jimmie Johnson (10), Jeff Gordon (five), Geoff Bodine (one), Ken Schrader (one) and Ricky Rudd (one).
  • Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in the Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Dover with a 9.926.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Dover with a 7.889.
  •  Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Dover with 2,999 laps led in 27 starts. If he leads one lap or more this weekend Johnson will surpass the 3,000 laps led mark at Dover International Speedway, becoming the seventh driver in series history to lead 3,000 or more laps at a single track. Jeff Gordon is the only other active driver to accomplish the feat, at Martinsville with 3,744 laps led.
Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter at @purplecatpr.

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