2009 Autism Speaks 400 Preview and Pick

Race: Autism Speaks 400, presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheese
Date: Sunday May 31st, 2009
Track: Dover International Speedway
Time: 1:30 pm ET
Channel: FOX

The Monster Mile: It has that name for a reason, ya know. Dover International Speedway is a 1 mile concrete oval that few drivers have managed to tame. It’s a heck of a fun race to watch and no one is safe from the wrecks that happen here. Some of it is the track and some of it is the rookies who don’t know how to drive the track, but nevertheless, this track eats drivers alive.

Usually, when you wreck here, you total your car here. That’s the biggest goal of this race: do not wreck. Of course, that’s the goal everywhere, but here you have to be conscious of it. This 1-mile oval boasts some pretty sweet banking with 24 degrees in the turns and 9 degrees on the straight. The backstretch and front stretch are both a quick 1076 feet.

For whatever reason, these concrete tracks are Roush territory. Greg Biffle is the defending champion of this race with teammates Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards also having wins here. Ryan Newman also has 3 wins here, so he will be one to keep an eye on. I’m not much of a Newman fan nor do I think that he’s much of a great racer, but recently he’s impressed me a little bit. He’s had 4 consecutive top-five finishes. Something is clicking here this year. Who knows? Maybe he’s better than I thought. We’ll have to see if he can maintain that consistency. Only time will tell.

This weekend, I’m going to have to go with Edwards. If not Edwards, it will be one of his Roush teammates. They are trying to get back to the front and this is the ideal track to do so. Biffle, Kenseth, and Edwards always have strong runs here and always run for the win. I think that Edwards can step-up this weekend and prove that he has what it takes to stay in this Championship run.

Here’s a recap of your current top 12 in the points:

1. Jeff Gordon
2. Tony Stewart
3. Kurt Busch
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Kyle Busch
7. Ryan Newman
8. Jeff Burton
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Greg Biffle
11. Carl Edwards
12. Mark Martin

Never count out good ‘ole Kyle Busch. The only problem with him is that his aggressiveness can get him into serious trouble at a track like this. Tony Stewart could very well be up front also, but he seems to have issues at this track year in and year out. We’ll see if a team change makes a difference here. It certainly has so far for the rest of the season, so I’d be willing to bet that Stewart will have a very respectable run this weekend. Truex Jr. will also be one to keep an eye on. He’s not much for consistency, but he has one of his only wins here at Dover and is running close to his hometown. This is a place where he wants to win.

Dover is a great race to watch. At this point in the season, this track usually throws some drivers for a loop in terms of the points. Stay tuned for what’s sure to be a very interesting and exciting race on the Monster Mile.