AAA 400 Drive for Autism Preview

Ed. – The second segment of Dan’s Nascar pool is coming up in May and he’s opening it up to anyone interested. If you are already well out of it in your season long pool or are just looking to get in on a growing pool, check out the Rubbin’s Racing Round 2 Rules & Settings!

A lack of cautions and some vastly different pit strategies broke up the field at Talladega in both stages, and created some uneventful lap logging, at least by Talladega’s standards. However, once the field got regrouped with less than 50 to go, we started seeing some 3-4 wide racing heat up, and inevitably The Big One followed. For those who survived, congratulations, but don’t get too cocky: Miles The Monster is up next, and he’s always hungry…

DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Another one of my favorite tracks, Dover International Speedway is a 1.0 mile oval, affectionately nicknamed “The Monster Mile”. For all intents and purposes, Dover is pretty much a longer version of Bristol, and many drivers tend to have similar results at both tracks. Like Bristol, the racing surface is concrete, and there is comparable banking in the turns (24 degrees). Though it’s a shorter track, the steep banking allows drivers to enter the turns at an astounding 165-170 mph, and only dip down to about 140 mph in the center of the corner. Also like Bristol, it may take some time to rubber in multiple grooves, as the preferred line is typically around the bottom in the turns.

PIT STALL PICKS: THE DOWNFORCE, THE DRAFT, & THE DRAG

This section is less about prognostication, and more about highlighting drivers catching my eye at a given moment. We all play in different formats and have different strategies, but hopefully this adds some value to your results. Good luck!

THE DOWNFORCE (start ’em)

Winners profiled: 60%
Top-5 finishers: 54%
Top-10 finishers: 74%
Avg Finish Position/profile: 9.4
Avg Points/profile: 36.8

Chase Elliott (Pit Stall Rating 326.06, 1st) – I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I think Chase Elliott gets his first ever Cup win this weekend. In 4 career starts at Dover, Chase has finished 3rd, 3rd, 5th, and 2nd. He has been the bridesmaid too many times now, finishing second 8 times in 86 career starts. This includes another runner up two weeks ago at Richmond, and last fall here at Dover in the playoffs. It won’t be easy, especially given the next 4 names on this list, but things are bound to come together for the #9 team soon.

Martin Truex Jr. (Pit Stall Rating 213.93, 2nd) – Any time a driver’s Pit Stall Rating exceeds 200, that driver is killin’ it at a particular track, and Martin Truex is no exception this weekend. The #78 team has thrown together 3-consecutive top fives at Dover, including a win in 2016. In fact, we’d have to venture all the way back to 2013 to find a finish worse than 11th. Martin is from Mayetta, NJ, a couple hours across the Delaware Bay, and this is widely considered to be his home track.

Kyle Busch (Pit Stall Rating 107.16, 5th) – Back to Earth for the #18 after falling short on his 2,400,000:1 probability of linking together 4 straight wins this year. Like Kevin Harvick, what a disappointing loser! More importantly though, back to the scene of the crime for Kyle, as he committed Grand Theft Trophy on Chase Elliott in last fall’s playoff race. I was there, it was cold blooded. Anyway, like Logano last week, this is probably just coincidence, but Kyle’s average finish in the last 5 spring Dover races is 25.6, compared to 4.0 over the last 5 fall races. The way this team is running though, I guess it doesn’t deter me much.

Jimmie Johnson (Pit Stall Rating 64.94, 9th) – It’s not too often a current driver can brag about being better than Richard Petty in the record books, but when you have 11 wins at one track, your odds of having that ability are pretty good. Jimmie has gone to victory lane in 34% of his attempts at Dover, which is astounding when I think about it. This team fought off adversity at Talladega to earn a respectable 12th place finish, which may be even more encouraging to me than their two prior top-10s. That’s right, I’m putting the defending race winner, 11-time track winner, and 7-time series champion on this list. I know, so bold.

Kyle Larson (Pit Stall Rating 122.67, 4th) – Kyle’s year is starting to sound like a waltz in 3/4 time… bad-good-good, bad-good-good, bad-good-good. Lucky for us, Talladega was a 40th place base drum bad, and the progression suggests we should get back to the snare this weekend. A few weeks ago, Bristol was a good beat, and if they bring another car of that caliber to Dover, it’s safe to expect similar results. Kyle has 4 top-fives over the last 3 seasons at Dover (last 6 events, for those who dislike math).

THE DRAFT (dark horse)

Daniel Suarez (Pit Stall Rating 132.43, 3rd) – In his debut visits to Dover last year, Suarez finished 6th in the spring and 8th in the fall. He quietly finished 11th at Bristol a few weeks ago, and this is generally a good track for Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole (honorable mention to Hamlin and Jones here as well). I think the biggest vote of confidence is Suarez’s average loop rating of 92.7 (8th), which means he’s running pretty well throughout the races, and his finishes are less of an aberration.

THE DRAG (avoid ’em)

Ryan Blaney (Pit Stall Rating 28.66, 21st) – Dover has not been kind to Blaney over his first 4 career attempts, with an average finish of 25.3 and an average loop rating of 72.5. Granted, he’s with a new team this year and generally running well, but unless you’re desperate to go contrarian this weekend, it’s probably best to back off for a week.

AVERAGE FINISH POSITION @ DOVER (last 5 track events)

3.3, #9 Chase Elliott
5.6, #78 Martin Truex Jr.
7.0, #19 Daniel Suarez (2 races)
8.6, #42 Kyle Larson
10.2, #18 Kyle Busch

AVERAGE LOOP RATING @ DOVER (last 5 track events)

119.8, #78 Martin Truex Jr.
109.3, #18 Kyle Busch
107.6, #9 Chase Elliott
105.5, #42 Kyle Larson
105.0, #4 Kevin Harvick

2018 MOMENTUM (last 5 overall races this season)

48.0, #18 Kyle Busch
44.0, #22 Joey Logano
39.2, #4 Kevin Harvick
36.0, #14 Clint Bowyer
35.2, #41 Kurt Busch

Dan Roman Contributor|User role
Dan Roman is an opinion writer, content contributor, and league manager from Charlotte, North Carolina – the proud home of NASCAR! Dan is passionate about furthering the reach of NASCAR, and expanding its base of fans and fantasy players everywhere. In his spare time, Dan enjoys simulator racing on iRacing.com, and learning the nuances of motorsports; including racing physics, setup configurations, strategy, and history. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NASCAR Pools Online.

Leave a Reply