Dover Story Lines
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on June 1, 2014 | 8:45 A.M. EST
Kyle Busch is one win away from matching his three-peat of 2010 when he took Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup victories at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)
DOVER, Del. - There are a number of stories to keep an eye on during Sunday’s running of the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway.
Busch Seeks Sweep
Kyle Busch is one win away from matching his three-peat of 2010 when he took Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup victories at Bristol Motor Speedway. He dominated Friday's NCWTS Lucas Oil 200 and cruised to a relatively easy win in Saturday's Buckle Up 200 Nationwide Series race. Busch starts second in the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks and a 135th career win across NASCAR's top three divisions would add another mark to his impressive resume.
Welcome Back JJ
The “drought” for Jimmie Johnson came to an end last week in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Now the six-time champion comes into arguably his best track on the schedule at Dover where he will be looking to add to his win record with career victory number nine on Sunday. Last week wasn’t just a win, it was in many ways quintessential Johnson with a dominant car and near flawless performance over the course of 600 miles. Anyone that thought Johnson had hit any kind of speed bump will be disappointed to know right now all appears well with the '48' team.
Kenseth Winless Streak
With the heat off Johnson it now turns to the Joe Gibbs Racing driver who comes to Dover with a goose egg in the win column. Like Johnson, Kenseth has been pretty good in the season’s first dozen races of the season but has not been able to put everything together to find Victory Lane. He runs well as Dover and likens the track to some of the high-banked short tracks he cut his teeth on in the Midwest. Perhaps for a second straight week one of last year’s title contenders will finally take a checkered flag?
All Happy with Harvick Team?
Kevin Harvick had some sharp comments for his pit crew last week when a couple of bad pit stops cost his a chance at a potential third win of the season. The words sparked some controversy this week and came to the forefront again on Thursday when Harvick reiterated his stance things needed to tighten up on pit road. So now the question becomes was Harvick providing motivation or mutiny inside the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team? Sunday’s trips down pit road will certainly be interesting to watch.
Gordon and Hamlin Back Issues
Both Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin were in the news for back issues this week. Gordon says he’s recovered from what plagued him last week in Charlotte and forced him to sit out a Coca-Cola 600 practice session. Although the Hendrick Motorsports driver admits his back requires attention and treatment, he’s confident all’s well this weekend in Dover. Hamlin, who sat out several races last year with a back problem that was aggravated by a crash at Auto Club Speedway, decided to skip a charity golf outing this week as a precautionary move. Two of the sport’s biggest stars are under the watchful eyes of their teams, fans, families and unfortunately doctors.
Regular Season Halfway Home
When the checkered flag flies on Sunday the regular season will reach its mid-point. The overarching theme of the first dozen races in 2014 has been the tight racing and competition, resulting in ten different winners heading to Dover. As the race to make the Chase heats up during the summer stretch, which unofficially kicks off at the “Monster Mile,” it will be interesting to see if the competition remains just as hot.