DoverHow to make an informed pick for the Dover AAA 400:

1) Look back at recent Dover races, it matters. Last year five drivers finished in the top ten in both Dover races. Also in recent Dover races you’ll find that some drivers know how to get around the 1.0 mile concrete track and some don’t.

2) Practice is extremely important at Dover. In recent weeks I’ve downplayed the importance of practice but not this week. Dover is a symmetrical track and average practice speeds will weed out the contenders from the pretenders.

3) Qualifying counts at Dover. Fifty of the eighty-three races run at the Monster Mile have been won from a top five starting position (60%). Thirteen of them have been won from the pole. Only eighteen races have been won from a starting position outside the top ten.

4) Don’t get to carried away studying similar tracks this week. Dover is twice as big as Bristol and I feel fantasy racers can’t really digest Darlington info the best because I feel only one set of turns is similar to Dover so why complicate things. In my AAA 400 Fantasy Preview I mention these tracks loosely but studying Dover exclusively is the best way to go.

Drivers to watch in the Dover AAA 400:

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson has won three out of the last five races at Dover. Another amazing stat is that in these five races he’s led 1,192 laps and the least amount of laps he’s led in a race was 191 (nearly half the race). Johnson has six wins at Dover and a 10th place average finish. If Johnson doesn’t win or get a top five in the AAA 400 then his championship hopes are over. 

Matt Kenseth – Kenseth won at Dover in May and he’s finished in the top five in nearly half his starts at the Monster Mile. Since 2008 Kenseth has only finished lower than 4th once. Matt Kenseth is a great race manager who knows how to save his car for the end of races. In 1998 Kenseth made his Sprint Cup debut in Bill Elliotts car and finished 6th. 

Carl Edwards – Edwards will be as good of a pick as they come Sunday in the AAA 400. Edwards only has one Dover win but since the 2006 Chase race he’s only finished outside the top ten once and it was an 11th place finish. His average finish in this ten race time span is 4.9.

Tony Stewart – Stewart once owned Dover but his success has been limited since 2005. Before 2005 he had a worst finish of 11th and all of his other finishes were better than 7th. Times have changed though and Stewart only has one top five, and four top tens in the last half decade. Momentum matters and going 3 for 3 could happen.

Kyle Busch – Busch is a two time Monster Mile winner who won the spring 2010 race. Last year in the Dover Chase race he finished sixth and led 46 laps. One area of concern is that in three out of the last five Dover Chase races he’s finished 31st or worse. His aggressive driving style has served him well at Dover. Stat Center: odds to win the AAA 400:

  • Jimmie Johnson 4/1
  • Kyle Busch 5/1
  • Tony Stewart 6/1
  • Jeff Gordon 7/1
  • Carl Edwards 8/1
  • Kevin Harvick 10/1
  • Denny Hamlin 10/1
  • Matt Kenseth 14/1
  • Brad Keselowski 14/1
  • Kurt Busch 15/1 driver momentum over the last five races:

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Carl Edwards
  3. Jeff Gordon
  4. Tony Stewart
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Kurt Busch
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. Matt Kenseth
  9. Ryan Newman
  10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.