Bryan Davis Keith and Mike Neff · Thursday May 28, 2009
Leaving the Beast of the Southeast behind in a flood of rain, the Cup circuit heads to the aptly titled “Monster Mile” that is Dover International Speedway, a one-mile high-banked concrete oval that lives up to its reputation as a Bristol on steroids. The high-speed facility is one of the more treacherous circuits on the Cup schedule, with its slippery concrete surface, narrow exit off the corners, and boilerplate metal walls. Just as in the track’s adjacent casino, the stakes will be high this weekend — and the Frontstretch Fantasy Insider is going to be right there with you to count the cards.
By the Numbers
Best Average Finish at Dover International Speedway (Since 2005, active drivers)
Greg Biffle, 8 starts, 4.9
Carl Edwards, 8 starts, 6.4
Jeff Burton, 8 starts, 8.0
Jimmie Johnson, 8 starts, 8.1
Mark Martin, 8 starts, 8.5
2008 Best Buy 400 Top 5 Finishers
Kyle Busch, 158 laps led
Carl Edwards, 64 laps led
Greg Biffle, 164 laps led
Matt Kenseth, 1 lap led
Jeff Gordon, 3 laps led
Roush Fenway Racing’s stock always seems to come up when the Cup circuit visits Dover, and Greg Biffle led the charge for the Ford gang in both Dover races a year ago. Biffle hasn’t finished outside the top 10 at the track since 2005, and has a win and an average finish of 2.0 in the last three Dover races. RFR is too talented an organization not to rebound from their recent slump quickly, and the No. 16 will likely lead the way for that rebound on the concrete high-banks Sunday. Bryan
Carl Edwards is not called Concrete Carl for nothing. Edwards has shown a propensity for running well on tracks with the white surface, a stock car success from Nashville to Bristol to Dover. Edwards has got the highest finishing average position since 1998 at the Monster Mile with a 7.7 average; and if you like to buy into numerology, his last five finishes were second, third, first, second, and third. Based on that sequence, he is due for a win. He’s also coming off of a fourth place at Charlotte, which was a turnaround from his previous three races with no finish better than 24th. This weekend will offer a prime opportunity for the No. 99 to continue building momentum. Mike
Given his extensive background racing in the Camping World East Series, Martin Truex, Jr. considers Dover to be one of his home race tracks. It’s also one of his best; he scored his only career Cup win here in 2007. Plus, since the changeover to the CoT, Truex has amassed a top 10 finishing average at the Monster Mile. No matter where one is racing, it’s hard to go against the hometown guys. Bryan
Ryan Newman is on a roll. He has finished in the top 5 in his last four races, which he has not done since 2005. Newman was also at the front of the pack on Monday before a pit road miscue cost him track position. A gamble at the end of the day salvaged a good finish, but the team knew they could have gotten more. That follows some wackiness in the All-Star race, where Newman was battling for the lead before he was involved in some bumping that ended up costing him the big trophy. Now, he’s back on the verge of getting a win, and this will be a prime weekend for that to happen considering he has the second best finishing average and three wins at the track. If Newman can stay on this wave, he’ll score some big points this weekend. Mike
Throw the stats out the window: Sam Hornish, Jr. really is starting to learn how to drive stock cars. Ever since scoring his first career top 10 at Phoenix in April, Hornish proved to be a contender at Talladega as well as scoring a top 10 at Richmond and a clean, solid 16th in the Coca-Cola 600. Much like with A.J. Allmendinger last season, Hornish has started to figure these cars out, and the resulting confidence is allowing him now to perform on tracks that he is returning to instead of riding around. A fifth top 20 finish in the last seven races is likely. Bryan
Marcos Ambrose has been characterized as a road racer who is getting better on ovals. He’d like to be known as a race car driver instead with no specialty attached to his name. One thing that Ambrose has proven is he’s a quick learner. In his first trip to Bristol in a Cup car, Ambrose came home in 10th place. He’s going to Dover for the second time now with Waltrip’s Toyota support after running the second race there last year for the Wood Brothers. Something that has seemed rather constant over the last few years are drivers who are good road racers are also good short track racers. While Dover can be considered a big track, it is still just a mile in length. Expect to see Ambrose log another quality finish this weekend. Mike
Dover is not called the Monster Mile because of its cute little trophy/mascot. It’s called the Monster because it is big, evil and will jump up and grab you when you least expect it. And when it does open its mouth and bite, it usually doesn’t take just one victim.
Because of the speed and banking at Bristol, sight lines can be difficult in the car and a driver can come up on someone else’s problem with very little warning. The end result is we see almost as many “Big Ones” at Dover as we see at Talladega or Daytona. Your fantasy team could be wiped out in a single accident because of someone else’s error — and that’s something to keep in mind before you see the checkered flag fly.
Results of our experts in the Frontstretch Games
Game of Tomorrow
Hat Dance Dynasty
In order to help the readers track how well our experts are doing, we’ll keep track of the cumulative points scored by all three drivers every week and the total for the season.
Brian 354 4087
Mike 345 4035
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