Camping World RV 400 presented by AAA fantasy NASCAR preview

by Bob Frykholm on September 18, 2008 @ 14:30:38 PDT


Dover is a one mile concrete track. The concrete surface, which differs from the typical asphalt, creates a challenge to the durability of the cars. The toughness of the track has christened its name, The Monster Mile. Dover is one of the most difficult of all the tracks to make a pit. It is very narrow, and the pit boxes are small. Driver and crew must all be alert and on their game. Races have been won and lost at Dover in the pits.

The track's banking also creates an individual identity. Its turns are banked at 24 degrees, but it is the straightaway, which is banked at 9 degrees that offers challenges to the drivers. Nine degrees on the straightaway is similar to some of the shorter tracks in their turns. The race earlier this year had five cautions, and the average speed for the race was 121.171 mph.

Location: Dover, Del.
Shape: Oval
Length: 1.0 miles
Laps: 300
Banking: 24-degree turns; 9-degree straights

Table: Do not bench

Leading the pack

Greg Biffle | No. 16 3M Ford | Roush Fenway Racing

Biffle wasted little time in making a strong push for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. He is seated second in the Chase with 5,190 points. Last week he dominated much of the race leading 58 laps in his victory. Remember that Biffle can be a streaky driver; his average finish for the last five races is 6.4. Biffle's record at Dover International Speedway has been very good, especially of late. He has run at Dover 12 times with an average finish of 12.1. He has seven top-10 finishes and one win. In his last race here he finished third. Biffle is not someone you want to sit given his recent victory and record at Dover.

Ryan Newman | No. 12 Alltel Dodge | Penske Racing

Newman has two consecutive weeks of poor finishes. Last week he left the race due to engine failure, the week prior it was simply a poor run. Even with his recent uncompetitive runnings Newman's chances at Dover International Speedway should not be discounted. This is a track that he runs well at. He ran fairly well on his last visit at the track finishing 14th. His average finish is 10.3 and has eight top-10 finishes in his 13 starts. Newman also has three victories at this track. Newman is due for a strong run, and Dover looks to be a likely track for it to happen at.

Martin Truex Jr. | No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet | Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Truex ran a good race last week, finishing seventh. Dover International Speedway is definitely a track that he could parlay last week's strong finish into a victory. His average finish in five starts at Dover is an excellent 9.6. Consider his sixth-place running at his last visit and the fact that he has taken the checkered flag when you look for drivers to fill your team. Truex may escape the casual fan's attention this week. There is little doubt that he has mastered this track. Look for Truex to make a strong run this week and run competitively with the Chase Drivers.

Mark Martin | No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet | Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Martin is poised to have a good run at Dover International Speedway. He has run an incredible 44 times at Dover with 27 top-10 and 20 top-five finishes. Given Dover's track peculiarities, experience is a definite plus. His average finish at the track is 13.0, with four victories. His last visit at Dover resulted with a 23rd-place finish. Consider for a moment Martin's average finish of 13.0 this season. That is identical to Kevin Harvick's record. If Martin ran every race with similar results he likely would have qualified for the Chase. Selecting him when he runs is a wise choice, especially at Dover where he has been successful.

Kurt Busch | No. 2 Miller Lite Ford | Penske Racing

Busch has run 16 times at Dover International Speedway. His average finish is 20.6 along with four top-10 finishes and four DNFs. This is a track that he has not won at. He is hoping that a strong race at this track can begin a hot streak for the remainder of the season. He appears to be making some progress with his last two races. Both were top-10 finishes and a return to consistency is just what is needed. Finishing sixth last week is a good point for him to re-energize his disappointing season. Busch's talent and competitive nature cannot be ignored.

Drivers to keep an eye on 

Clint Bowyer | No. 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet | Richard Childress Racing

Bowyer sits in ninth place in the Chase. It wasn't long ago that he sat well out of the Chase standings and was struggling on the track. Fortunately, he was able to run much stronger in the last 11 races and qualified for the Chase. His current ranking gives hope that strong finishes could still result in a championship. He has run only five times at Dover with two top-10 finishes and no victories. His record has been somewhat inconsistent. His last race resulted in a 36th place finish. Selecting a talented driver in the Chase like Bowyer makes sense.

Jamie McMurray| No. 26 Irwin Industrial Tools | Roush Fenway Racing

Prior to the start of the season, McMurray was counted on to be a serious contender. He runs for one of the top teams and has the experience as well as the ability to be a top driver. He failed to qualify for the Chase but has shown some glimpses of good driving this season. His record at Dover International Speedway is fairly good with an average finish of 14.4 with five top-10 finishes in his 11 starts. His last four races at Dover mirrors his career average of 14.0. However, he has two consecutive top-10 finishes. McMurray's record shows that he can run competitively here. Select him if you have a spot for him.

Elliott Sadler | No. 19 McDonald's Dodge | Gillett Evernham Motorsports

Dover International Speedway is a track that Sadler has not had much success with. He has raced at Dover 19 times in his career, with an average finish of 20.8. In his last visit Sadler was involved in an accident and finished 42nd. This has been a very challenging season for him. He missed the cut for the Chase and is ranked 23rd. Even though Sadler did not qualify for the Chase, he has shown that he has the talent to run a strong race. Based on his ability and experience, Sadler is a driver you should take a close look at.

Brian Vickers | No. 83 Red Bull Toyota | Red Bull Racing

Vickers is a proven driver that has shown that he can run competitively this season. He failed to qualify for the Chase, but was not far from making the cut, finishing in 15th place. At Dover, he has run nine times with an average finish of 20.1, with no victories and only one top-10 finish. He finished 13th in his last race without leading a lap. Finishing 15th in the standings is tough to accept. Vickers would like nothing more than to win this race. It would be a mistake to not consider Vickers when you select your drivers.

Sam Hornish Jr. | No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge | Penske Racing

Hornish leads all rookies in the standings. He brings open wheel experience along with the rich resources of Penske. He finished 30th in the Sylvania 300 race last week. This marks four consecutive weeks of poor finishes following an improved running at Michigan International Speedway. The good news is that he ran fairly well at Dover in his only visit, finishing 18th. Hornish still is adjusting to the rigors of NASCAR racing. He has yet to record a top-10 finish but the stage is set at Dover for him to break through with a top-10 run. Chances are that he sits ready to be selected from waivers. Need someone to fill that spot? Look no further.

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About Bob Frykholm

Frykholm has been a KFFL contributor since February 2008.

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