Race: FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks
Date: Sunday May 31, 2015
Track: Dover International Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Bet your Fedex 400 picks at an online sportsbook where your credit cards WILL work for depositing and where you’ll receive a generous 50% signup bonus on your first deposit: MyBookie.
Carl Edwards pulled away with the win this weekend at the Coca-Cola 600. His strategy paid off in the end, with drivers working several different pit strategies toward the end of the race including fuel only, 2 tires, or 4 tires. Edwards stayed strong and grabbed the checkers. Dale Jr. was up front as well but couldn’t close the difference fast enough. He came away with a very respectable 2nd place.
This weekend, we are headed to the Monster Mile, also known as Dover Speedway. This is another place where Carl Edwards will deliver. He does well on the concrete surfaces and will certainly not disappoint us this weekend either. This track tends to be very challenging for the rookies. It is unforgiving to those who make minor mistakes, so it will be interesting to see how the not-so-veteran drivers handle what can be one of the most technically difficult tracks on the circuit.
Dover drives much like Richmond. It’s a little bit bigger at 1 mile, but the 24 degree banking in the turns and the 9 degrees on the straights are very characteristic of some of the shorter tracks. Both the frontstretch and backstretch are 1076 feet, indicative of this true oval track. With the extra bit of length on this track combined with the banking and the difficult surface, Dover really tends to eat drivers up who don’t take care of their equipment. The guys really have to know how to get around this place, especially lap traffic. It’s inevitable that lap traffic will be an issue here. Drivers are quickly lapped and quickly caught by the leaders here. There also seems to be a lot of lap traffic racing each other across the entire track, making it ultimately more difficult on those who are trying to get up front and stay there.
This particular track is very demanding of the drivers. There are actually very few who successfully conquer this place. Ultimately, I see Denny Hamlin as our winner. He’s been up front recently and has a great record at Dover. He’s a fierce competitor and should excel this weekend. Other potential contenders include Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards. Edwards has momentum coming off his win last weekend and he also excels on concrete surfaces. Remember “Concrete Carl”? There’s still some validity to that, and I think that Edwards gained a lot of missing confidence by ending a very long winless streak last weekend. Dover is an ideal track to continue his success. Here’s the rundown for all of your potential winners this weekend:
My Pick to Win: Denny Hamlin
Middle of the Road Pick: Martin Truex Jr.
Dark Horse Prediction: Austin Dillon
Dillon is perhaps the most experienced out of the rookies when it comes to conquering Dover. It will still be an uphill battle, but he seems to be getting better and better each weekend, and I believe that Dover will prove the same in terms of his abilities increasing. Truex Jr. is a true contender this weekend. He’s been enormously competitive, yet he still needs a win to get himself locked into the Chase. He was clearly disappointed at not winning last weekend and really had a great shot. With his run of top 10s in the last 12 races, look for Truex to be competing for the win here at Dover. His move through the points is impressive to say the least. Let’s see where the guys are after Charlotte:
Here are your current top 12 after last week’s race:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Joey Logano
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Matt Kenseth
8. Jamie McMurray
9. Jeff Gordon
10. Kasey Kahne
11. Ryan Newman
12. Aric Almirola
I’m still pretty impressed that Almirola has managed to stay in the top 12 for virtually the entire season thus far. Jeff Gordon needs a win to secure a spot in the Chase. Ryan Newman is in the same boat. We’ve gotten to the point in the season where it’s essentially crunch time. There’s so many winners now that the ones who have no wins have really got to step up. This weekend, though, they are going to have to compete with Hamlin to get that coveted spot. Stay tuned for a great afternoon of racing at the Monster Mile!