The 13th race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is this weekend with the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway. Nicknamed “The Monster Mile,” Dover is always a fun race to watch but a very demanding one for the drivers. This is a tough 1-mile race track and because of that the best drivers almost always find their way to the front here. There’s a big difference in making one fast lap and being fast during the race here at Dover, and because of that we usually see a lot of ‘movers’ once the green flag drops. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex, Jr. will lead the field to the green on Sunday and the full starting lineup can be found by clicking here.
There were two practice sessions on Saturday this weekend, but you have to keep in mind that the first session was in the morning with track conditions nothing like what we will have on Sunday. The Happy Hour session was much closer to what the teams will be racing at on Sunday. The practice speeds from those two sessions can be found here: Practice #2 — Happy Hour, and, as always, our in-depth notes can be found here: Practice #2 — Happy Hour.
Final Top 25 Ranking For The Dover AAA 400
1. Martin Truex, Jr. – Starts 2nd – DraftKings Price: $9,900 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
Martin Truex, Jr. was my #1 ranked driver in my Pre-Practice Projections and he’s done nothing to change my opinion there. If not for a minor slip up during qualifying on Friday, the #78 Toyota would be leading the field to the green here on Sunday instead of the #18 Toyota, but starting 2nd isn’t terrible, either. Truex is the most recent winner here at Dover and has the best average driver rating (120.1) over the four races at “The Monster Mile,” and by a pretty good margin: Harvick is second on that list at 111.9. Practice-wise, the #78 Toyota was stout in both sessions on Saturday, ranking inside the top 5 in both as far as fastest overall lap was concerned. The surprising thing with Truex, though, was that his ten-lap averages didn’t rank very high: 13th-best in Practice #2 and 16th-fastest in Happy Hour. With that being said, Martin is very pleased with his race car this weekend and mentioned during the final practice about getting closer to Jimmie Johnson in the wins column here. Look for Truex to lead a whole bunch of laps here on Sunday and contend for his third career win at this race track.
2. Kyle Larson – Starts 5th – DraftKings Price: $10,300 – Yahoo! B Group
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
The original plan for the #42 team during Happy Hour on Saturday was to do one long run and then quit practice early. That didn’t happen, though, as Larson was out on track for 60 laps during that session, the most of all drivers. And damn did that #42 Chevrolet look good. Larson put down the fastest overall lap as well as the fastest ten-lap average during that session didn’t lose much speed over the course of his 30-lap run, either. Dover has always been a good track for Kyle, as he owns an average finish of 9.3 at “The Monster Mile” and has just one finish worse than 11th. He finished 2nd in this race one year ago after starting back in 23rd and leading 85 laps. This weekend, he’ll roll off the grid from 5th, and if he can get ahead of the other contenders in this race, I really believe that Kyle Larson has a car that can run away from the field on Sunday. It’s just going to be hard to get past Kyle Busch and Martin Truex, Jr. (along with their pit crews). Still, Larson is an excellent fantasy option in all league formats this weekend. For what it’s worth, he’s going for the sweep on Sunday, as Larson went to victory lane in the Xfinity race on Saturday.
3. Jimmie Johnson – Starts 14th – DraftKings Price: $10,600 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Zero Risk**
The #48 team spent a whole bunch of time working on pit road entry during the two practice sessions on Saturday, but they still took the time to show off their speed, too; Johnson was 4th-fastest in Practice #2 this weekend and wound up 2nd-fastest to Kyle Larson in the Happy Hour session. In terms of ten lap average, Jimmie ranked 4th and 3rd in those two practices, respectively. As far as track history goes, there’s no one better than Jimmie Johnson at Dover, as he has compiled ten career victories here over thirty career starts (33%) and has finished inside the top 5 in exactly half of those attempts. Johnson will roll off the grid from 14th when the AAA 400 goes green on Sunday but he has his favorite pit stall here and should race inside the top 5 for much of the day. Johnson has yet to dominate a race this season, but if he gets out front early here at Dover on Sunday, the #48 Chevrolet is going to be hard to pass.