Race: Camping World RV 400
Date: Sunday September 21, 2008
Track: Dover International Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
The Monster Mile, as it is affectionately known by the drivers, is a 1-mile (obviously!) oval track with 24 degree banking in the turns and 9 degree banking on the straights. The front stretch and back stretch boast 1,076 feet and a whole lot of excitement. This weekend’s race is sure to deliver.
Dover is a track that acts like Martinsville or Bristol and eats some drivers alive. Some of the worst crashes, most heated tempers, and exciting side-by-side racing occur here. In fact, with such carnage coming out of this track every year, we really only have a select few drivers who have dominated here. Looking back at the record books, Jimmie Johnson has a few wins here as do Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart. But when deciding on who to choose this year, I’d say we need to strongly look at who has performed the most consistently as we speak, seeing as we’re running new cars this year, the teams seem to be equalizing, and some of the best drivers are having the biggest struggles.
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Granted Carl Edwards seems to be mentioned week-in and week-out, I honestly think he’s the strongest competitor this weekend with Jimmie Johnson coming in a close second. This is one of those tracks that Edwards just loves and he ain’t afraid to admit it. When in his interview about the race this past weekend in Loudon, Edwards was clearly looking forward to getting to Dover. He thrives at these types of tracks and is the defending winner of this race. When it comes down to it, this track seems to be a Roush specialty. Matt Kenseth, Edwards, and Greg Biffle all boast wins here. With Biffle’s win in Loudon this weekend, maybe he’s proving to be the dark horse of the Chase. Look out for these guys, as I think they are going to be sitting pretty in the top ten, with at least one competing for the win.
A couple other guys to watch are the Gibbs guys of Stewart and Hamlin. Hamlin does well on these types of tracks as well, and Stewart may just be frustrated enough to show some aggression and get his win that he’s been looking for. I wouldn’t count on seeing Jeff Gordon near victory lane, although he will most likely have a solid top 10 day. Kyle Busch is always a factor, but he proved that he can have bad luck too.
Let’s look at our current top 12 guys:
1. Carl Edwards
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Greg Biffle
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Jeff Burton
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Tony Stewart
8. Kyle Busch
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Kevin Harvick
11. Jeff Gordon
12. Matt Kenseth
**Note: Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards are tied for first place with equal points totals**
This race is going to be crucial. Gordon learned a couple years ago that once you fall back in the Chase, you rarely catch up. Busch is in that position now. He needs to get his act together and come up with some consistent runs instead of being the gambling man that we’ve seen for a good majority of the year. This is the point where the solid drivers show their colors. Risks are something to be savored, and as it stands, Jimmie Johnson has the best shot still because of his crew chief, Chad Knaus. Carl Edwards is going to be a strong contender, though, too as he looks to defend his title here at Dover. I think that we are going to see a few more mix-ups in the points and a little less of one driver pulling away in the points as Johnson did for the last couple of years. We are going to see some good racing and see who truly has a championship-worthy team starting this weekend.