Jake Ernst gives us his preview, predictions and picks as the series heads to Dover International Speedway.
Following Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval, four drivers (Aric Almriola, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Erik Jones) were eliminated from the playoffs and this week’s race at Dover International Speedway will now begin a new round of the playoffs. The second round of playoffs will feature races at Dover, Talladega and Kansas and following the race at Kansas, four additional drivers will be cut, ending their hopes for the 2019 Championship.
Although it’s just the first-of-three races in this second round, every race from here on out will be even more crucial than the last. With there being just seven weeks remaining in the season, it’s go-time for the remaining 12 drivers and a mistake on Sunday could drastically impact a driver’s chances going forward. There are however, a few drivers who are rock-solid at Dover and should have no problem finishing near the front or even winning. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of my best bets for Sunday’s Drydene 400 at Dover.
Just like his father was, Chase is going to be a major problem for the rest of the drivers at Dover. His father Bill had four wins at Dover ranging from 1985-1990, an impressive feat to say the least. Chase only has one win so far at Dover but something tells me that he will have plenty more when everything is said and done.
With just seven races under his belt at the track, Elliott has six top-fives. SIX. His 4.43 average finish at Dover is by-far the best of any active driver and in addition to his win in 2018, the 23-year-old has led 294 laps in his last four races at the track. What is remarkable about that stat however, is that he only led 11 laps in his lone win, meaning 283 of those came in non-wins. He not only has the ability to finish in the top-five nearly every race, but he’s also capable of leading laps, something you obviously need to do if you want to win.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that he won last week. One word: momentum.
With eight top-10’s in his 13-career races at Dover, it is easily one of Larson’s best tracks. The concrete one-mile track offers high banking in the corners, which fits Larson’s driving style to a tee.
He’s never won at this track but has always had success finding his way to the front, leading 378 laps in his last five races at Dover and has racked up two second-place and two third-place finishes throughout his career at Dover.
Having won the last race at Dover and finishing inside the top-10 in nine out of his last 11 races here, Truex Jr. is my best bet for Sunday. Since his first race at Dover in 2006, he has a total of three wins but with his driving ability aging like fine-wine as his career advances, two of those wins have come since 2016, of course. It seems he gets better and better at Dover every time he races there and I expect that to continue on Sunday.
With six wins on the season, the 39-year-old leads all drivers in that category and will be looking to add to that win total at what he refers to as his hometown-track.
If you told me a few years ago that Vegas was offering odds of +2000 for the all-time wins leader at Dover, I would say it’s a typo and they must’ve added an extra “0” to the end of +200.
I know, he hasn’t won a race 2017 but at what track did that win come? Dover. I wouldn’t advise breaking the bank for Johnson, but with these odds, you’d be foolish not to throw a few bucks on the 11-time Dover winner.