Sarah’s Weekly Picks: Dover Edition


The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism and our Sarah Handy breaks down her picks and who you may want to pay attention to this weekend.

Top Picks:

Jimmie Johnson: The seven-time Champ knows his way around Dover International Speedway. In 32 Cup starts he has found victory lane 11 times to go along with 17 top-5’s, 23 top-10 finishes and has led 3,105 laps. He has completed 98.2% of the laps he’s attempted at the track as well.

Johnson and his 48-team led by crew chief Chad Knaus have started to turn around the slow start they’ve had to their 2018 season. Dover is the place that Johnson could very well earn his first win of the season and in turn clinch a spot in the playoffs.

Johnson is the defending race winner from the spring race last season after starting last and then he went on to finish the fall race in the 3rd position.

With his 11 victories Johnson leads all active drivers with wins at the track. Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch both have three, but that’s a long way to go catch Johnson’s record.

Johnson is my top pick to win on Sunday and while I haven’t picked him much this season, I can’t count against him at Dover because he’s great at the track and he’s coming off some great momentum after finishing 12th at Talladega Superspeedway and 6th the previous week at Richmond Raceway.

Martin Truex Jr: The 2017 MENCS Champion has two wins at his home track of Dover with his most recent win coming in October of 2016.

However, it’s important to note that Truex’s first win in the Cup Series came in the 2007 Autism Speaks 400 from Dover.

In his last eight starts at The Monster Mile his worst finish has been 11th which came back in October of 2015. Truex Jr has certainly been very consistent at the track and shown he can run towards the front of the field.

Last season Truex Jr posted a third-place finish in the spring race and a fourth-place finish in the fall race, leading laps in both events, as well as starting on the front row in each.

If Truex doesn’t capture his third win come Sunday afternoon I still look for him to be consistently running in the top-5 when the checkered flag is flown.

Dark Horses:

Kasey Kahne: Kahne’s last five starts at Dover have been consistent finishes with his worst finish being a 17th place in this race last year.

Kahne is coming off a 14th place finish in the fall race at The Monster Mile but that was when he was under Hendrick power.

Throughout 2018 thus far we’ve seen that when given a race car with a good setup Kahne can have a decent run. A top-15 result is possible for him come Sunday but a win…that’s a long shot.

Ryan Newman: Dover is one of Newman’s best tracks on the schedule. He has three wins at Dover but his last win at the track came 14 years ago when he was racing for Penske.

In Newman’s last five starts at The Monster Mile his best finish is fourth which came in this race last season. Otherwise he has consistently finished in the top-20.

While a win may be far fetched since it’s been so long since he’s found victory lane at Dover, it’s still a great track for driver known as The Rocket Man and with an average finish of 13.63, I look for him to have a decent finish come Sunday.

Who to Watch:

Kevin Harvick: In 34 career Cup starts at Dover, Harvick has 1 win, five top-5 finishes, 15 top-10ís and only one DNF. Harvick has also led 955 laps at Dover and completed an astounding 98.6% of his laps attempted at The Monster Mile.

With three wins already, this season itís only a matter of time before Harvick finds victory lane yet again. His last two starts havenít had the best end results with finishes of 17th and 9th but Harvick has certainly shown the speed this year that is needed to win.

Kyle Busch: Just like his fellow competitor Kevin Harvick, Busch has three wins already this season and Dover isnít a horrible track for him. Busch has three wins at the track with his last coming in the fall race last season.

Busch can never be counted out each race weekend as heís carrying a ton of momentum with finding victory lane on multiple occasions. Iíd keep an eye on Busch this weekend, he could surprise the field and capture his fourth win at The Monster Mile and fourth victory of the 2018 season.

Who do you think we will come Sunday? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to tune into the AAA 400 Drive for Autism which is set for 2:00pm/EST on FS1.

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About Sarah Handy

Sarah is going into her third year covering NASCAR for Rubbings Racing as well as helping run their Social Media platforms. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Sarah is an avid racing fan as well as a fan of the major New England sports teams. She is currently studying Public Relations and Marketing at SNHU with plans to move to North Carolina after graduation. Sarah also enjoys visiting her home track of NHMS each year, reading, running and photography.

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