Driver Handicaps: Dover
May 31, 2007 | 2:48 P.M. EST
- This weekend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to Dover Int'l Speedway for the Autism Speaks 400 - the sixth Car of Tomorrow event of the 2007 season. 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.
- Tony Stewart has the best finishing average among active drivers at 8.9.
- Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Bill Elliott and Ricky Rudd lead all active drivers with four wins each.
- Matt Kenseth finished in the top 10 in both races last season, including a win in this event.
- Ryan Newman has the best average start at 6.2.
- Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth lead all drivers with respective driver ratings of 117.2 and 112.3.
- Jimmie Johnson has finished inside the top 10 in four of the last five races, which includes one win.
Keep an Eye on at Dover
- Kyle Busch posted an average finish of 3.0 in his first three of four starts at Dover.
- Denny Hamlin has led the most laps in COT competition with 563.
- Kurt Busch (Dodge) and Dave Blaney (Toyota) hold the best average finish with the COT among their manufacturers at 15.2 and 28.4, respectively.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. will pilot the same car that has posted a combined average finish of 13.0 in three races.
- Jeff Burton scored two top fives last year at Dover, including a win in the fall.
- Martin Truex Jr. has won two Busch Series races at Dover and is coming off a sixth-place finish last fall in the Cup Series event.
Jeff Gordon leads all drivers in starting average (3.2) and finishing average (2.2) in the five Car of Tomorrow races that have been contested so far. Gordon is tied with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson for the most wins with two. Kyle Busch, who won the first COT race driving for Hendrick, has a finishing average of 10.2. Denny Hamlin has dominated the competition by leading an impressive 563 laps, but has yet to win a race. Hamlin ranks second in average start (5.4) and average finish (5.0). Matt Kenseth (Ford), Kurt Busch (Dodge) and Dave Blaney (Toyota) hold the best average finish among their manufacturers at 8.6, 15.2 and 28.4, respectively. David Gilliland has the worst average finish among all the drivers that have made every COT start at 37.4. COT Driver Averages | COT Lap Leaders
David Ragan is the only Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate that has made a NEXTEL Cup Series start at Dover International Speedway. In his Cup Series debut, Ragan finished 42nd after he crashed his No. 06 Ford and fell out of the race on lap 47. Ragan has also made one Busch Series start at Dover (finished 18th), but Paul Menard has made the most starts with six, capturing one top 10 in 2005. David Reutimann has had the most success in NASCAR competition at Dover, scoring two fifth-place finishes in the Truck Series. Rookie Standings
Prior to Jeff Gordon's pole in the 2006 fall race, Ryan Newman and Jeremy Mayfield won two poles each in the last four races at Dover International Speedway when qualifying was contested. Three years ago in the June event, Mayfield established the new track qualifying record of 161.522 mph when he drove the No. 19 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports. Qualifying in June of 2005 was rained out along with the 2003 fall race. Rusty Wallace was the last driver to win a pole in a Ford, which came in the fall of 2002. Gordon's pole last fall was the first by a Chevrolet since 1996 when Bobby Labonte took the top spot. Only 15 of 74 races have been won from a starting position outside the top 10, most recently coming last year in both races with Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton. Past Pole Winners | Starting Positions of Dover Winners
Looking For Speed
Although he has a past champion's provisional to fall back on, Bill Elliott leads all drivers that are required to qualify on time with a 10.7 starting average at Dover. Three-time pole winner and Dover qualifying record holder Jeremy Mayfield is second in starting average at 16.1. Mike Bliss, who has qualified for four Dover races, holds the worst average start among the group at 30.0. David Reutimann, Paul Menard and AJ Allmendinger have yet to make a NEXTEL Cup start at Dover. Qualifying Averages
Dover Int'l Speedway Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2006)
*Fastest Early in a Run*Fastest Late in a RunAvg. Running Position1. Kurt Busch1. Greg Biffle1. Greg Biffle - 7.02. Matt Kenseth2. Matt Kenseth2. Mark Martin - 7.23. Greg Biffle3. Kyle Busch3. Matt Kenseth - 7.74. Elliott Sadler4. Jimmie Johnson4. Kurt Busch - 7.85. Kyle Busch5. Jeff Burton5. Ryan Newman - 8.4Laps in Top 15*Quality Passes*Driver Rating1. Greg Biffle - 14841. Greg Biffle - 1221. Greg Biffle - 117.22. Mark Martin - 14412. Matt Kenseth - 1102. Matt Kenseth - 112.32. Matt Kenseth - 14293. Jeff Burton - 913. Mark Martin - 106.74. Ryan Newman - 14254. Kyle Busch - 894. Jimmie Johnson - 104.55. Kurt Busch - 13055. Kurt Busch - 875. Kyle Busch - 9104.4
*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating : Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.
Dale Jr. Reality Cup Tiebreakers
Last Five Number of Lead Changes
Last Five Number of Cautions Laps
*RacingOne Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Busch
Pete Pistone: Matt Kenseth
Jorge Mondaca: Jamie McMurray
Rachael West: Martin Truex Jr.
*Note: Drivers can be selected only one time per season. Race points will be added up each week. This is the 10th race of the season for this section of the handicaps. Standings
Top 20 Driver Notes - Based on Current Standings
1. Jeff Gordon (Points: 1921): Gordon will be making his 29th start at Dover International Speedway on Sunday. With four wins at the track, he is tied with Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd and Bill Elliott for the most wins among active drivers at the track. He last won on June 3, 2001 after leading 381 laps in the race. Gordon leads all active drivers with the most laps led at "The Monster Mile" with 2,198. Overall, Gordon has finished in the top five 13 times and the top 10 17 times and has started on the pole three times. Last year in this event, Gordon started third, led 81 laps, and finished 12th - ending a streak of two consecutive DNFs. In the fall, he won the pole and finished third.
2. Jimmie Johnson (Points Behind: -132): In 2002 at Dover International Speedway, Johnson swept the season after leading a combined total of 358 laps. He captured his third win at the track in the 2005 fall race after leading 134 laps from the fifth starting position. Last year in this event, Johnson had an eventful weekend after multiple incidents that started with a spin in qualifying. In the race he started 42nd and quickly found himself a lap down after a mid-race accident. In the end Johnson was able to rally back to finish sixth - his seventh top 10 in 10 starts at Dover. This weekend Johnson will race a brand new car (chassis No. 433) in the Autism Speaks 400.
3. Matt Kenseth (Points Behind: -207): Kenseth captured his first win at Dover International Speedway in this event last year after leading 83 laps from the 19th starting position. Sunday will mark Kenseth's 17th start at the one-mile oval dating back to 1998 when he made his first NEXTEL Cup start after stepping in for Bill Elliott. Along with his victory, Kenseth has recorded nine top-10 finishes and one pole, which was the first of his career. This weekend Kenseth will return in the same car (chassis RK-473) that finished seventh last month at Darlington.
4. Denny Hamlin (Points Behind: -239): Hamlin will be making his third NEXTEL Cup start at Dover International Speedway. Last year in this event, Hamlin battled back to finish 11th after falling a lap down because of a tangle with Jeremy Mayfield on pit road. He was able to make the lap up and was one of 21 drivers to finish on the lead lap. This weekend Hamlin will look to add on to his series lead in COT laps led (563) in hopes of trying to score his second consecutive top 10 at Dover.
5. Jeff Burton (Points Behind: -344): Burton scored his best finishes with Richard Childress Racing in five races at Dover International Speedway in 2006 after finishing fourth in June and winning the fall race. The victory ended a 175 NEXTEL Cup race winless drought. Prior to his Dover races with RCR, Burton captured eight top 10s with Roush Racing dating back to 1996. This weekend Burton will climb into a new Car of Tomorrow chassis (No. 196) for the 400-lap race.
6. Tony Stewart (Points Behind: -391): Last year in this event, Stewart was credited with a 25th-place finish at Dover International Speedway after Ricky Rudd relieved him under the first caution on lap 38. Stewart was unable to compete in the demanding race after he fractured his right scapula the weekend prior in Charlotte. In the fall, Stewart finished 33rd after a crash took him out of contention, marking his worst finish in 16 starts. Prior to 2006, Stewart posted two wins (both in 2000), nine top five and 11 top-10 finishes. His average finish (8.9) is the best among all active drivers and he is fourth in laps led with 1,066.
7. Kevin Harvick (Points Behind: -506): Last year in this event, Harvick captured his best finish (third) at Dover International Speedway after a gas only pit stop late in the race. The finish was his fifth top 10 at "The Monster Mile." Harvick's only other top-five finish came in the fall race in 2003 when he led 133 laps en route to a fourth-place finish. That event marked the only time Harvick has led in 11 starts at Dover. This weekend Harvick will be back behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 190) that has posted a combined 15.8 average finish in all the COT races.
8. Carl Edwards (Points Behind: -507): Last year in the fall event, Edwards scored his best finish, of second, in five career starts at Dover International Speedway. This weekend Edwards will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis RK-464) that he started 28th and finished 11th with at Phoenix.
9. Kurt Busch (Points Behind: -519): Sunday's race will mark Busch's 14th at Dover International Speedway. Last year he finished 16th and fourth, respectively, in his first two track starts with Penske Racing. His three additional top 10s came with Roush Fenway Racing - the team he has led all his Dover laps (205) with. Last year in this event, Busch started fourth before handling problems relegated him to 16th-place finish. This weekend, Busch will pilot the same car (chassis No. 514) that finished fifth at Richmond last month.
10. Clint Bowyer (Points Behind: -543): Last fall, Bowyer captured his first top 10 in his second career NEXTEL Cup Series start at Dover International Speedway. That weekend also saw him go to victory lane in the Busch Series. The team will be bringing the same chassis (No. 192) that has combined for a 12.5 average finish in four races.
11. Kyle Busch (Points Behind: -562): Busch's finishing average at Dover International Speedway took a hit last fall after the engine in his No. 5 Chevrolet expired near the halfway point of the race. The 40th-place finish dropped his average to 12.2 after finishing fifth or better in his three previous attempts. This weekend he will be driving the same car that finished seventh at Phoenix in April.
12. Jamie McMurray (Points Behind: -601): Dover International Speedway is the site of McMurray's best finish with Roush Racing. His second-place finish in this event last year was his third top-10 finish at the track. That race also saw McMurray lead his only laps at Dover when he held the No. 26 Ford up front for 95 circuits. This weekend McMurray will pilot the same car that finished ninth and 23rd, respectively, at Bristol and Phoenix.
13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Points Behind: -614): Earnhardt Jr. is making his 15th appearance at Dover International Speedway. He won his only race at the track in September 2001. In addition to his win, Dale Jr. has three top fives and six top 10s at the one-mile track. He has led in eight races for 366 laps. In the 2003 fall race he started second - after rain cancelled qualifying - and then went on to lead 48 laps before posting his only Dover DNF. After qualifying fourth in the 2005 fall race, a loose wheel in the beginning of the race ruined Junior's chance of a good finish. In 2006, he finished 10th and 21st, respectively. Dale Jr. will pilot the same car (chassis No. 051) that has posted a combined average finish of 13.0 in three races.
14. Mark Martin (Points Behind: -632): Martin's last of four wins at Dover International Speedway came in the June race in 2004. Since then, Martin has gone on to capture three more top fives, bringing his series leading total to 19. Martin, who is third in laps led at Dover with 1,700, will make his 42nd start, and first driving a Chevrolet, at Dover on Sunday.
15. J.J. Yeley (Points Behind: -660): Yeley hopes to ride the momentum of last weekend's career-best NEXTEL Cup finish into Dover as he has yet to finish inside the top 20 in three career starts.
16. Martin Truex Jr. (Points Behind: -689): Truex Jr. has won two Busch Series races and is coming off a sixth-place finish last fall in the Cup Series at Dover International Speedway. He will make his third Cup start at Dover racing the same chassis (No. 020) that finished 11th at Darlington last month.
17. Bobby Labonte (Points Behind: -690): Labonte made his first NEXTEL Cup Series start at Dover International Speedway on June 2, 1991. Since then, Labonte has competed in 28 more races at "The Monster Mile" capturing one win (1999), three poles, 11 top-five and 14 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. Last year, Labonte finished 13th and seventh, respectively, in his first track starts with Petty Enterprises.
18. Ryan Newman (Points Behind: -707): Newman has put together a pretty impressive record in his 10 starts at Dover International Speedway. In the last eight races, Newman has captured three wins and has led 672 laps. His last and seventh top 10 came in the 2005 fall race when he finished fifth. Two of Newman's three Dover poles have come in the last three events. Newman's last win at Dover came in 2004 when he dominated the race leading 325 laps on his way to his only win in the "Chase for the Cup." This weekend Newman will drive the same chassis (PRS-515) that finished sixth at Richmond last month.
19. Greg Biffle (Points Behind: -732): Biffle scored his first and only win at Dover International Speedway in the 2005 June race. In that event he started second on points and led for the first time at Dover for a total of 150 laps. Since the victory, Biffle has finished 13th or better, including two top 10s in 2006. 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 a brand new car (chassis No. RK-472) in the Autism Speaks 400.
20. Elliott Sadler (Points Behind: -739): Last fall, Sadler finished 16th in his first start at Dover International Speedway behind the wheel of the No. 19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge. In that event, he led 30 of his track total 186 laps led. His best Dover finish came in the 2005 fall race when he piloted the No. 38 Robert Yates Ford to a sixth-place finish.
Who's HOT at Dover