Race: AAA 400 Drive for Autism
Date: Sunday May 15, 2016
Track: Dover International Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Kyle Busch finally broke the streak that cursed him for so many years at Kansas Speedway by taking home his first win from the track on Saturday night. Much to the chagrin of Martin Truex Jr., Busch made some smart pit decisions with a huge thanks to his crew chief, Adam Stevens. Truex truly had the car to beat, though. He was unfortunately beat by bad luck once again, having to pit after a loose wheel late in the race. Other strong contenders including Logano, Keselowski, Larson, and Hamlin were all knocked out after a wacky scenario of both Hamlin and Keselowski getting loose into the turn, causing major damage to all four cars. Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, and rookie Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 5 spots for the nights.
Ryan Blaney is getting better and better as this season progresses. He’s going to have to keep up his confidence as we head into Dover, better known as the Monster Mile. This track has a reputation for being tough on the rookie drivers. It’s a place that even many veterans haven’t seemed to master and a cause for turmoil for many teams. Overall, this concrete oval mile track has 24 degree banking through the turns and 9 degrees on the straights. This place has been around for a while as well. The first race was held here in 1969, with no one but the King, Richard Petty, taking the inaugural win.
A lot has changed on this track since its inception. It changed from an asphalt track to a concrete track back in the mid-1990s. Seating capacity changed as well, where it was actually the venue with the largest seating capacity on the East Coast. That changed in a facelift for the track back in 2014. It still seats well over 90,000 people. It’s definitely a place where fans and drivers alike love to go. There’s a ton of action on the track. Many compare this place to a bigger version of Bristol. It’s high banking give the drivers a huge challenge entering and exiting on the turns. This is where the veterans shine. Control into and off the corners and ability to maintain momentum and speed while also maintaining control is paramount at this track. Additionally, it’s a place where drivers can pass a little more easily than Bristol or the other short tracks simply because of the size of the track. It makes track position that much more valuable.
If we are taking a look at our potential winners here, picking the veterans is a no-brainer. Ultimately, I think that this will be Jimmie Johnson’s race to lose this weekend. He has an unprecedented 10 wins, three of which were in the last 5 races here. That’s nothing to sneeze out. Johnson will have his work cut out for him, with contenders like Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin on his heels. We can’t forget Carl Edwards or Martin Truex Jr. either. They don’t call Edwards “Concrete Carl” for nothing. He has a lot to offer here and has done a good job this season thus far. Truex Jr. will also be thirsty for a win as he looks to thwart his long run of bad luck. Here’s a rundown of your potential winners heading into Dover this weekend:
My Pick to Win: Jimmie Johnson
Middle of the Road Pick: Martin Truex Jr.
Dark Horse Prediction: Matt Dibenedetto. Bet YOUR picks to win using your credit card at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted sportsbooks! You also get a 50% bonus too! –> Bovada Sportsbook.
Dibenedetto is my pick more or less because of his finish at Bristol. Additionally, for those playing the odds, his costs are low but the rewards will be high. There aren’t many other tracks of value that I’d throw him up at. I think that he is a potentially excellent sleep pick this week. This track has been gracious to Truex Jr. I believe with his strong run at Kansas and his previous win here in 2015, Truex Jr. will be contending for the lead throughout much of the race. He will have to beat Johnson, though. There’s not much you can deny with Johnson’s success here. Sure, if you’re looking at the last 3-5 races, Johnson has struggled. His struggles, though, have essentially been due to bad luck and timing. With a good setup, I think he will be the one to beat. He’s got a little bit of ground to make-up, as he sits 37 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
3. Carl Edwards
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Kurt Busch
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Joey Logano
8. Austin Dillon
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
10. Martin Truex Jr.
11. Chase Elliot
12. Jamie McMurray
13. Denny Hamlin
14. Matt Kenseth
15. AJ Allmendinger
16. Ryan Blaney
Ryan Blaney is hanging tight in the top 16. He’s going to have to stay strong this weekend and put on a good performance to maintain this position. As it stands, we are one-third of the way through the season. There are still a lot of spots up for grabs in the points, as many of the top 16 are repeat winners. Interestingly enough, although he’s nowhere near the top 16, Tony Stewart is someone to keep your eyes on this weekend as well. Although it’s been a while since we’ve seen a lot of competitiveness out of him, this is a track where he was always very aggressive and very good. If there’s any place that Stewart can show some dominance, this may just be his chance. Stay tuned for a great afternoon of short-track racing at Dover International Speedway! For the most wagering options and the fastest payouts online, check out the lowest odds betting site on the web… 5Dimes!