Race: FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks
Date: Sunday May 15th, 2011
Track: Dover International Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Well if the race at Darlington wasn’t exciting enough for you, this weekend we are headed to the Monster Mile at Dover. The fight last weekend between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch was epic. There’s really no other way to describe a driver pushing another driver’s car into a pit road wall with no one in it. That’s gutsy. The saddest part, though, is that these guys keep making excuses. MAN UP! It’s time to take some responsibility guys! If you’re willing to fight it out on the track because you obviously have a problem with each other, then you are more than capable of telling each other how it ought to be off the track.
This is going to make Dover really interesting. Not only do we have the feud from Harvick and Busch coming into this weekend, but we also have Ryan Newman and Juan Montoya with their own issues. Now Busch and Harvick were both fined and put on probation for their actions on the track but that sure doesn’t mean we won’t see some attitude still. Look for tensions to run high as we head to one of the toughest concrete tracks on the circuit.
Speaking of concrete, we are heading to a wonderful track for points leader, Carl Edwards. He sure has been running strong. After his second place finish to winner Regan Smith last weekend, you’re going to have to watch him and make sure he doesn’t spin out second place to take the win. It was clear as day in his interview that he really wanted to take Smith out, but, really, who could wreck Regan Smith?
The points leader is coming to a race that could potentially be one of his best. Dover is a concrete 1 mile oval track. The frontstretch and backstretch are 1076 feet. The turns come in at 24 degrees with the straights having a 9 degree banking.
Dover is known for tire issues. The tire wear here is incredible, so watch these guys taking 4 instead of 2 on the stops whenever possible. That being said, track position is also key here too. Track position is important in terms of starting position. The last 6 winners here have started within the top 10. Qualifying will give us a good idea of who is going to be strong contenders for the Monster Mile.
Names to keep in mind this weekend are of course Carl Edwards. He is going to have a strong race without a doubt. Being that he’s been so consistent, it sure doesn’t hurt that he’s going to a track where he has won and also to a track with a surface that he excels on. Now, Jimmie Johnson is one to watch simply because of his accrual of wins on this track. He is the defending winner. The problem is that he has not been consistent this year, needless to say lacking dominance like he’s had in the past. I think he will run strong here because it’s a good track for him, but winning may be slightly out of reach. The one driver to watch here, in my opinion, may just very well be Martin Truex Jr. This is the track where he’s gotten his one and only win. He’s had some great cars with some crappy luck. I think that he has a real shot to take the win this weekend, so I am going out on a bit of a limb to say that Truex is my pick. If his crew can get it together long enough to get him in and out in the same position, his driving this year has proven that he has what it takes to win and this track can do that for him.
Here are your current top 10 in the points after the spectacular race at Darlington:
1. Carl Edwards
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kyle Busch
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Ryan Newman
7. Tony Stewart
8. Kurt Busch
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Matt Kenseth
Some other names to keep in mind include Kyle Busch and Juan Montoya. Busch may have hit a snag with the latest penalty, but that usually gives him a reason to drive harder and smarter to get to victory lane. Montoya has been coming on strong. He just needs to manage to stay out of wrecks and the path of Ryan Newman. Jeff Gordon needs some help. He may not be a winning contender, but he certainly could use a solid finish to propel him from 17th back into a respectable position in the points.
Stay tuned for a continuation of driver drama as we head to the Monster Mile this weekend at Dover!
Virginia’s Pick to Win the Fedex 400: Martin Truex Jr.