DOVER, Del. – Miles the Monster will oversee NASCAR racing action this weekend at the one-mile concrete oval of Dover International Raceway for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series. Whoever can tame the Monster Mile claims bragging rights and a darn cool trophy.
If one needs to make an easy pick to win then Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Jr. and Chase Elliott are your drivers. Their stats at the track back the facts.
Busch is the current points leader, despite having two dismal finishes in the last three races. Being the Regular Season Champion earned him 15 bonus points for the Playoffs, and they’ve helped.
He comes to Dover with three previous wins at the track doing so in 2008, 2012 and 2017. The 2015 series champion finished in the top-10 in three of the last four Dover races. In total, he has 12 top fives and 18 top 10s in 29 starts at the Monster Mile.
Truex earned his first career victory at Dover in 2007. Since then, the 2017 Champion also has three Monster Mile victories with six top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 27 starts here.
For the opening round of the Playoffs, Truex was a perfect three-for-three in top-10 finishes with an average finish of 3.0, which is the best of any driver. He’s also the most recent winner here claiming the checkers in May with a mere nine-second victory over second place. Oh, and he’s finished seventh or better in the last nine races at Dover winning twice.
There’s a casino on the grounds of the track, circling Truex on a Sports Page entry might not be a bad idea.
But, don’t tell that to Chase Elliot. Not only is he the defending winner of this race, he comes to town on a roll after handily claiming the ROVAL victory last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In seven Dover starts, Elliott has one win and six top-five finishes with his only “bad showing” of 12th place in that span. The only better Driver Rating in the current field is held by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson. His is 111.3 to Elliott’s 108.3 at Dover.
Speaking of Johnson, if someone would have said his last win would come here in 2017 and he’d go winless since, folks might have laughed. But, that is the case as the teams come to town for racing and the local seafood fare.
Kevin Harvick is right where he needs to be as the Round 2 of the Playoffs begin this weekend. He has three top 10s in the opening round of the Playoffs, was runner-up to Truex at Las Vegas, seventh at Richmond and third at the ROVAL. He was leading until a late-race caution brought the field together and put Elliott next to him for the restart.
Since his first win at New Hampshire this year, Harvick has nine top-10 finishes in 10 races. Dover has been a good one for Harvick winning this race in October 2015 and May 2018.
This is the first, of three, tracks to determine who makes it to the eight drivers who go on to Round 3 of the Playoffs. Race time is 2:30 p.m. on Sunday being aired on NBCSN-TV and MRN Radio.
Xfinity Series action on Saturday
The Big Three of Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick continue to make the headlines. This week, it was announced Reddick would be replacing Daniel Hemric in the No. 8 Chevrolet next year for Richard Childress Racing.
On the track, Bell made headlines last year winning this race. He and Custer are already locked into the next round of the Playoffs, so that leaves Reddick looking to race his way in on points or a win. As it stands right now, he’s looking good with drivers Noah Gragson and Michael Annet looking to hang on to seventh and eighth, respectively, in the points.
After the Dover race, eight of the current top-12 will move onward and the rest will be fighting for checkered flags as their championship hopes come to an end.
They go green on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN-TV and MRN Radio.