Thursday, September 28, 2017

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Dover playoff cutoff showdown

by Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):

By Race
Both with 5 - Kyle Busch and Joey Logano
All with 4 -  Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth
All with 3 - Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer

By Track
All with 6 - Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth
All with 5 - Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch

Recent Pole Winners:
2016 Rained Out
2015 Rained Out
2014 Kevin Harvick

Last Year's Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

The Likely Suspects: Dover International Speedway is my home track. It juts out of Route 13 (N. Dupont Highway) like a monster, emerging from the surrounding shopping centers and residential areas. For some drivers the Monster Mile is unforgiving, but for others it's a challenge they have mastered. These drivers are among the Dover elite: Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenneth, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick.

My 2 Cents: The Monster Mile is synonymous with exciting racing. But make it a cutoff race for the playoffs and everything gets turned up a notch. There are some key drivers that need to win to go to the next round; however, I am going to stick to stats and momentum and not get drawn in by the drama.

My no-brainer pick is Kyle Busch. My next picks are: Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. I will round out my roster with Ty Dillon and Daniel Suarez. If you have any Erik Jones starts left switch him with Ty Dillon. If you are short on Martin Truex Jr. starts Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth are always safe bets at Dover.

My Final Four: Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez.

Points to Ponder:
  • No non-Playoff driver has ever won the Playoff race at Dover International Speedway.
  • 35 different MENCS drivers have won at Dover International Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with 11 wins (2002 sweep, 2005 Playoffs, 2009 sweep, 2010 Playoffs, Spring of 2012, 2013 Playoffs, Spring of 2014, Spring of 2015 and Spring of 2017). 
  • 10 different drivers have won the Dover Playoff races, but Jimmie Johnson (four) is the only driver with multiple wins (2005, 2009, 2010 and 2013).   
  • Four manufacturers have won MENCS Playoff races at Dover International Speedway, led by Chevrolet (seven); followed by Dodge (three), Ford (two) and Toyota (one). 
  • Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in the series in average starting position at Dover with a 9.960.
  • Six active drivers have won the pole for Dover’s Playoff races – Jimmie Johnson (three), Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman (each has one).  
  • Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in Coors Light poles at Dover with four.
  • Two active drivers have posted consecutive Coors Light poles at Dover: Ryan Newman (fall 2005 and spring 2006), and Denny Hamlin (fall 2012 and spring 2013).
  • 73 of the 95 (77.8%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup races at Dover have been won from a top-10 starting position.
  • Kyle Larson (seven starts) leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Dover with an 8.286.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in laps led at Dover with 3,100 laps led in 31 starts. 
    Remember, if you're playing Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing, your pick deadline is Friday, September 29, at 5 a.m. EDT.

    Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter at @purplecatpr.

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