Pre-Practice Notes: Dover
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Delaware this weekend for the first of two 400 mile races at Dover International Speedway. “The Monster Mile” has hosted two Cup Series races each season for over 40 years, so Fantasy NASCAR owners should have no problem finding the historical data they need to fine tune their setups for the FedEx 400.
If you crunch the numbers, Carl Edwards owns the best average finishing position (7.3) at Dover. Edwards has 11 Top 10 finishes in 15 starts, including a win in 2007. If you’re talking wins, Jimmie Johnson is your man. In 20 career starts, Johnson has 6 wins, 5 poles, and 14 Top 10 finishes. He’s also next in line in terms of average finishing position (9.2).
Fantasy NASCAR owners will have a tough time ignoring the track record of last year’s winner Matt Kenseth. Kenseth was the only driver to finish in the Top 5 of both 2011 races. In 26 career Cup series starts at Dover he has 2 poles and 12 Top 5’s including 2 wins. Tack on 5 more Top 10 finishes and an average finishing position of 12.2 and you’re looking at the mathematical favorite to earn the most fantasy points this week.
These 3 drivers are the obvious favorites, but don’t overlook Kyle Busch. He finished in the Top 10 of both Dover races in 2011, and he is quietly working his way up the Sprint Cup standings. Busch has finished 4th or better in the last 4 regular season races. In 14 career starts at The Monster Mile, Kyle Busch has 7 Top 5’s including 2 wins, and that’s why Wild Thing is the GoPro Favorite to win the FedEx 400 at Dover this weekend.
Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing owners will have the luxury of watching two practice sessions on Friday ahead of Saturday’s qualifying runs. Take advantage of this opportunity. For once, NASCAR actually scheduled practice and qualifying at times that will simulate Sunday’s track conditions. Pay close attention to the teams with strong qualifying runs. The last four Dover winners have started from the Top 2 starting positions.
My Pre-Practice Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing Team for Dover:
A: Kyle Busch #18 – 2 Career Cup Wins at Dover. Busch hasn’t finished worse than 11th since April 1st.
A: Jimmie Johnson #48 – 6 Career wins. If it weren’t for an unfortunate pit road penalty, last week’s GoPro favorite would have finished in the Top 5. I’m going with JJ’s 5 career poles vs. Kenseth’s 2. The safe play is to carry both this week.
B: Martin Truex Jr. #56 – Truex won at Dover back in 2007. He has 3 other Top 10 finishes and 2 poles in 12 career starts.
B: Kasey Kahne #5 – Kahne will be making his 17th career Cup appearance at Dover. He has never conquered the Monster Mile, but last week’s winner at Charlotte will look to add another Top 10 to his 2012 resume. Kahne has finished 10th or better in the last 6 Sprint Cup races.
B: Greg Biffle #16 – The current Sprint Cup Points Leader finished 4th at Charlotte last week for his 8th Top 5 finished of the year. He has 6 Top 5 finishes including 2 wins in 19 career starts at Dover.
B: Ryan Newman #39 – Newman has started on the pole in 4 of his 20 races at Dover. He has 3 wins and 8 other Top 10 finishes.
C: Bobby Labonte #47 – In 39 starts at Dover, Labonte has 11 Top 5 finishes including 1 win.
C: Casey Mears #13 – Mears has 3 Top 10 finishes in 18 career starts.
I will update my rosters on Saturday after this week’s qualifying and practice results. Remember “If you ain’t first, you’re last”.