Driver Handicaps: Dover

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This weekend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway for the Neighborhood Excellence 400. To help you make your Dale Jr. Reality Cup Racing fantasy picks, RacingOne brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 400-lap event.

Who's HOT at Dover International Speedway
  • Greg Biffle is the defending race winner.
  • Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon lead all active drivers with four victories.
  • Kyle Busch finished second in both of his starts.
  • Jimmie Johnson captured his third win last fall.
  • Ryan Newman has the best average finish (6.5) over the last 10 races.

    Keep an Eye on at Dover International Speedway
  • Evernham Motorsports - Although the averages might not show it, they have had some strong performances at the one-mile speedway, and as of late in 2006.
  • Dale Jarrett holds the best finishing average (11.7) among all drivers that have entered every race (16) since 1998.
  • Last year Elliott Sadler finished 10th and sixth, respectively, and for the first time, led more than one lap in one race when he combined to lead 154 laps.
  • Casey Mears is coming off his first top-10 finish last fall.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. has one win and five top 10s.
  • Tony Stewart. Will he race 400 miles on Sunday?
  • Continuing where Rusty Wallace left off, Kurt Busch will look to give the No. 2 Dodge its third consecutive top five.
  • Most drivers will be running their Darlington chassis this weekend. Of the drivers not already listed, Matt Kenseth finished third with his chassis last month.

    Dover International Speedway Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005 season)
  • Kurt Busch is the fastest driver early in a run during the first 25 percent of a green flag run at 147.114 mph (Must have completed 75% of scheduled laps). Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch round out the top five.
  • Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, respectively, hold an average running position of 4.6 and 4.7.
  • Dave Blaney is the fastest driver late in a run at 143.340 mph - when he drove the No. 07 for RCR (Fastest speed during last 25 percent of standard green flag run. Must have completed 75% of scheduled laps). J.J. Yeley, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Tony Stewart are close behind to round out the top five.
  • Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch, respectively, have completed 68 and 45 quality passes (Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag).
  • Jimmie Johnson has the best Driver Rating at 124.5.

    Dover International Speedway Rookie Report
    J.J. Yeley is the only Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate that has competed in a NEXTEL Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. Last year Yeley entered the fall race at Dover - fifth-career Cup start - and finished 25th in the No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet. Martin Truex Jr. has started the most Busch Series races at Dover, with nine, and has had the most success with two wins. Reed Sorenson is the only other rookie to have posted two NBS top fives at Dover. Clint Bowyer finished second last September at Dover. Rookie of the Year leader Denny Hamlin has one Busch Series top-10 finish at Dover in two starts.

    Qualifying Tidbits
    Ryan Newman and Jeremy Mayfield have won two poles each in the last six races at Dover International Speedway. Two years ago in the event, Mayfield established the new track qualifying record of 161.522 mph. Qualifying last June was rained out along with the 2003 fall race. Rusty Wallace was the last driver to win a pole in a Ford (Fall 2002). In the two races prior to Wallace's pole, current active drivers Dale Jarrett and Matt Kenseth also won a pole in a Ford. Only 13 of 72 races have been won from a starting position outside the top 10. Past Pole Winners

    Outside Looking In
    The only major change this week outside the top 35 in owners' points is Michael Waltrip falling three spots to 39th after failing to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. Scott Wimmer now sits in the 36th position in the points. Owners' Standings

    Last Five Number of Lead Changes
    2005-15
    2005-9
    2004-13
    2004-13
    2003-13

    Last Five Number of Cautions Laps
    2005-50
    2005-33
    2004-38
    2004-90
    2003-63

    RacingOne Staff Picks
    Jeff Wackerlin: Greg Biffle
    Pete Pistone: Mark Martin
    Jorge Mondaca: Jeff Gordon
    J.J. O'Malley: Ryan Newman
    Shawn Akers: Mark Martin

    More Driver Notes - In order of point standings

    1. Jimmie Johnson (Points 1861): Johnson won in his first two starts at Dover International Speedway after leading a combined total of 358 laps in 2002. Last fall, Johnson led 134 laps en route to another win - sixth top 10 in eight races - after starting fifth. Two years ago in this event Johnson posted his second DNF when he finished 32nd. This weekend Johnson will race the same car (chassis No. 48329) that most recently finished fourth at Darlington last month.

    2. Matt Kenseth (Points Behind -109): Kenseth made his first Cup start at Dover International Speedway back in 1998 when he stepped in for Bill Elliott. This weekend will mark Kenseth's 15th start at the one-mile oval. In his previous starts, Kenseth captured seven top-10 finishes, with his best (second) coming in the June event in 2000. He will be driving the same car (chassis RK-295) that finished third at Darlington last month.

    3. Mark Martin (Points Behind -209): Martin's last of four wins at Dover International Speedway came in this event in 2004. In the next three races, Martin finished second, third and fourth, respectively, given him a series leading total 19 top fives at the "Monster Mile." Martin, who is second among active drivers in laps led at Dover with 1,658, will pilot the same car (chassis: RK-315) that finished eighth at Darlington.

    4. Tony Stewart (Points Behind -231): In 14 races at Dover International Speedway, Stewart has posted two wins (both in 2000), nine top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. His average finish (6.0) is the best among all active drivers with two or more starts. Stewart has completed 5,600 of a possible 5,604 laps at Dover, and has led 1,066 laps. After fracturing his right scapula last weekend in the Coca-Cola 600, Stewart will have Ricky Rudd practice and qualify the No. 20 Chevrolet. Stewart will start the race and if he can't continue, Rudd will be on standby.

    5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Points Behind -271): Earnhardt Jr. is making his 13th appearance at Dover International Speedway. He won his only race at the track in September 2001, in the first race following 9/11. In addition to his win, Dale Jr. has three top fives and five top 10s at the one-mile track. He has led in seven races for 365 laps. In the 2003 fall race he started the race in second, after rain cancelled qualifying, and then went on to lead 48 laps before posting his only Dover DNF.

    6. Kasey Kahne (Points Behind -292): Kahne made his first start at Dover International Speedway in June of 2004 and appeared to be on his way to his first win until he crashed after hitting oil with 20 laps to go. In that race he started a track best 12th and finished 21st after leading 36 laps. In the fall race, Kahne finished 42nd when the engine expired in his No. 9 Dodge, only 13 laps into the race. In this event last year, Kahne posted his third consecutive DNF when he finished 35th. Kahne finally finished a Dover race in the 2005 fall race after finishing 16th.

    7. Jeff Gordon (Points Behind -410): Gordon will be making his 27th start at Dover International Speedway this weekend. With four wins at the track, he is tied with fellow active drivers Mark Martin and (*Ricky Rudd) for the most wins at the track. He last won on June 3, 2001. Gordon also leads all active drivers with the most laps led at "the Monster Mile" with 2,117. On a track that Gordon considers one of his favorites, he has finished in the top five 12 times and the top 10 16 times and has started on the pole twice.

    *Could race in Sunday's Neighborhood Excellence 400.

    8. Jeff Burton (Points Behind -411): In 24 starts at Dover Int'l Speedway, Burton has four top fives and eight top 10s. His best finish of third last came in the June event in 2002. Burton has only started in the top 10 once, sixth at the fall event in 1994. Last year Burton posted his best Dover finishes with RCR, after finishing 12th and 11th, respectively.

    9. Kevin Harvick (Points Behind -435): Harvick's best finish (fourth) in 10 races at Dover International Speedway came in the 2003 fall race. The finish marked his only top-five and the only time he led at Dover (133 laps). Two years ago in this event, Harvick finished 10th for his fourth top-10 at the track. He finished 25th last June.

    10. Kyle Busch (Points Behind -449): In this event last year, Busch led 90 laps and finished second in his first NEXTEL Cup Series start at Dover International Speedway. He equaled that finish in the fall race.

    11. Casey Mears (Points Behind -487): Mears posted his first top-10 finish at Dover International Speedway last fall after finishing 10th. It was his first finish of 23rd or better in six starts. Mears has yet to lead a lap at Dover.

    13. Greg Biffle (Points Behind -521): Biffle scored his first win and second top-10 finish at Dover International Speedway in this event last season. In that race he started second on points and led for the first time at Dover for a total of 150 laps. He qualified a best fifth in his first outing at the track in the 2002 fall race. Biffle, who also has two Busch Series wins at Dover, will race the same car (chassis RK-268) he drove to victory at Darlington and Dover last season and most recently at Darlington again last month.

    14. Carl Edwards (Points Behind -530): Last fall Edwards scored his best finish of ninth in three career starts at Dover International Speedway. Edwards, who has yet to lead a lap at Dover, will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis RK-270) that finished 29th after mechanical problems sidelined the car.

    16. Dale Jarrett (Points Behind -590): Jarrett has one win (May 21, 1998) and 14 top 10s in 38 races at Dover International Speedway. He holds the best finishing average (11.7) among all drivers that have entered every race (16) since 1998. His last top five (fourth) came in the 2004 fall race. The last time Jarrett led a lap at Dover was in the 2002 fall race when he led 14 of a track-total 545 laps.

    17. Elliott Sadler (Points Behind -602): Even though Sadler's been running at the finish in each of his 14 races at the track, Dover International Speedway has not been a place where he has raced well in the past up until last season. Prior to 2005, Sadler finished 18th or worse in five of the his last six races at the speedway. Last year Sadler finished 10th and sixth, respectively, and for the first time, led more than one lap in one race when he combined to lead 154 laps.

    18. Jamie McMurray (Points Behind -620): McMurray has finished in the top 10 twice in six starts at Dover International Speedway. His best finish (sixth) came in this event three years ago. McMurray will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 404) that last ran at Bristol in March.

    19. Kurt Busch (Points Behind -669): Sunday's race will mark Busch's 12th at Dover International Speedway. He scored his only top five at the track with a fifth-place finish in this event in 2004. Busch's ninth-place finish in this event last year, marked his third top 10. Last September, Busch led the most laps (192) and ran in the top 10 up until lap 367 when he made a green flag pit stop and things started to fall apart. When it was all said and done, Busch finished 23rd after a flat tire and a speeding penalty.

    22. Ryan Newman (Points Behind -685): Newman has put together a pretty impressive record in his eight starts at Dover International Speedway. In the last six races, Newman has captured three wins and has led 632 laps. Last fall, Newman collected his second pole at Dover and then went on to capture his seventh top 10 with a fifth-place finish. In fact, the only time Newman did not finish inside the top 10 came in this event in 2004 when he finished 24th. Newman's last win at Dover came in 2004 when he dominated the race leading 325 laps en route to his only win in the "Chase for the Cup." This weekend Newman will drive the same chassis (PRS-79) that he drove at Atlanta, but this time it will have the new Charger body on it.

    25. Scott Riggs (Points Behind -719): Riggs has competed in four races at Dover International Speedway. He captured his best finish of fifth in his first start in June 2004. Riggs has yet to lead a lap at Dover.

    26. Bobby Labonte (Points Behind -737): Labonte made his first NEXTEL Cup Series start at Dover International Speedway on June 2, 1991. Since then, Labonte has competed in 26 more races at the "Monster Mile" capturing one win (1999), three poles, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. The last time Labonte led a lap was in the June event back in 2003 when he led 34 circuits of a track total 143. It was also the last time he finished in the top 10.

    27. Brian Vickers (Points Behind -739): Vickers posted two third-place qualifying efforts in his two starts at Dover International Speedway, but posted two DNFs in those races. Last June he finished his first race at Dover by placing sixth. Dover is the site of Vickers' last NASCAR win when he went to Victory Lane in the 2003 September Busch Series race.

    34. Jeremy Mayfield (Points Behind -888): Mayfield swept both pole positions at Dover International Speedway in 2004. His qualifying lap of 161.522 mph, set in June that season, still stands as the qualifying record. It was his second and third career pole at the "Monster Mile." In 23 Dover starts, Mayfield has earned four top fives and eight top 10s. His best finish (second) came in the 2003 fall race. Last year he finished 14th and seventh, respectively.
    
            
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