Race: Apache Warrior 400
Date: Sunday October 1, 2017
Track: Dover International Speedway
Time: 2 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
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Kyle Busch was your winner at New Hampshire after leading 187 laps, securing his spot into the next segment of the Chase. This comes after a disastrous run at Chicagoland where Busch really couldve won had it not been for some major pit road errors, bringing his 85 laps led to mean pretty much diddly squat when all was said and done. This week, though, the pit crew stepped up and really made a difference where it mattered. Busch was able to dominate the race, obviously leading the most laps. As a matter of fact, other than Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. led the second most laps at 122. Kyle Larson led the one lap there was left to lead. Larson finished second, with Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, and Martin Truex Jr. rounding out the top five spots.
One of the more interesting topics of the weekend was the outrage of Joey Loganos time-out on pit road. So, basically, Logano and his team have had so many issues with pre-race inspection that it cost him the entire practice session. Well, NASCAR decided to make a spectacle and keep him in his car on pit road for the duration of the session. While I understand that he undoubtedly deserves to sit out of practice, is NASCAR really trying to shame a driver by keeping him in his car the entire time just sitting there? I mean, this doesnt even work for my toddlers. Lets be real about this. NASCAR has issues with penalty enforcement and also plenty of issues with consistency in that department as well. But if this is the best that NASCAR can do, then Im just going to sit over here and watch some more Blues Clues to help them come up with the next punishment for someone breaking the rules. Get it together, guys.
Assuming Logano gets himself together this weekend, he might see some practice time as we head into Dover for the Sundays race. This is the race that will eliminate four in the field, leaving us with just 12 drivers to head into the second segment. The Monster Mile, as it is affectionately known, has a reputation of causing some pretty gnarly wrecks. It has a very narrow infield, leaving drivers with nowhere to go other than hitting both the inside and outside walls when they wreck. This typically causes more cars to be involved in the wreck because they have nowhere to go with a driver moving across the track. Tires tend to be a bit of a problem here. They get worn in a hurry, and teams have to figure out the best two or four strategy to maintain the sets throughout the duration of the race. Ultimately, this is a track where a select few drivers have it nailed. For some reason, theres a niche to this place that other drivers just cant seem to find.
Well, that leads us to the potential winners for the weekend. When it comes down to it, we are likely to see a repeat finish of what happened at New Hampshire, but just in a slightly different order. I think that the major contenders will likely be Busch, Larson, and Truex. Truex will be your winner, though. With his domination and being that hes the defending winner of this race, hes going to be a tough guy to beat. His consistency is bar none. Kyle Busch will absolutely race strong here, but hes been short of that consistency that even Larson has. There are other guys who might make a splash like Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick, but with there recent struggles this year, I dont think that they are going to pull it out this weekend. Heres a look at your potential winners coming into Dover this Sunday:
My Pick to Win: Martin Truex Jr.
Middle of the Road Pick: Chase Elliott
Dark Horse Prediction: Erik Jones
Chase Elliott has 3 Cup races under his belt here and has finished in the top 5 in every one of them. While hes had a challenging season, Im thinking that this will be a solid opportunity for him to really step up his game. This could be a good confidence booster for him. Erik Jones, well, hes just doing really well for a rookie. He finished top 10 last weekend at New Hampshire. And we all know Im not picking Danica. There are a lot of drivers out there who need the points, so the racing should be pretty darn good. There are also quite a few drivers who must win to move on to the next segment. Lets take a look at your current points standings. Get YOUR Apache Warrior 400 predictions down at a sportsbook that takes credit cards for deposits and that will give you a 100% bonus up to $250 in free betting tickets: Bovada Sportsbook!
Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kyle Larson
3. Kyle Busch
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Ryan Blaney
9. Chase Elliott
10. Kevin Harvick
11. Jamie McMurray
12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
13. Austin Dillon
14. Ryan Newman
15. Kurt Busch
16. Kasey Kahne
Kahne and Kurt Busch are in dire straights. They are in a must win situation. Dillon and Newman are there as well. The top 4 are locked in the points no matter what. We will see a lot of drivers competing for the win this weekend when it matters most. Look for Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson to also be in strong contention. There are a lot of agendas this weekend, but the most important is the win. Stay tuned for an action-packed afternoon of racing as we head to Dover this Sunday!