Thursday, May 31, 2012

Who will master Dover's Monster Mile?

Dover is a great place to watch a race. The track is just one-mile around and you can pretty much see everything that happens no matter where you sit.
And, as is the case with smaller NASCAR Sprint Cup tracks, a driver's patience can sometimes wane when there isn't enough room to make a pass, or a driver trying to keep from going a lap down makes it particularly difficult for the leader to make a pass.
And Dover has done a ton of stuff to make this a fan-friendly event. That includes a $10 ticket for any child 14-and-under accompanied by an adult. And one adult can buy several $10 tickets if they are leading a group. There's also a kids zone and plenty interactive of exhibits that fans can experience before the race.
So, a thumbs up to the good people at Dover for trying to make a day at the race a fun and complete experience.
Just which drivers will have the best experience during Sunday's 1 p.m. race on FOX is the big question.
Dover begins the second part of the three-part 36-race season. After spending most of May in Charlotte, this is when the real season starts and the best teams rise to the top.
Here's a look at which drivers could finish at, or near, the top Sunday.
Jimmie Johnson - It's hard not to pick this guy every week. And he's got six wins at Dover, so how  can you not pick him?
Greg Biffle - He is the season points leader and he's got two wins at the Monster Mile. Even if he can't beat Johnson's No 48, expect him to run well.
Matt Kenseth - He's also got two wins at Dover, but just as impressively, he has 12 top-five finishes and 17 top 10 finishes.
Kyle Busch - He also has two wins on the concrete mile with seven top-five finishes and nine top 10s.
Martin Truex Jr. - Have to pick a Junior somewhere, so it might as well be at this Junior's home track. Truex Jr. is from South Jersey and his only career win came at Dover. It could be a sweet homecoming.
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda - Tony Stewart. He has two wins at Dover, but the last time he won there was 2000 when he won both the spring and fall races. He also has finished 21st or worse in three of his last four races at Dover. During his remarkable and victorious run in the Chase for the Championship last year, Stewart finished 29th, six laps down, the only blemish in the final 10 races.
Here's a look at how last week's picks fared in the 600-mile race at Charlotte.
Jimmie Johnson:  11th. No truth to the rumor his gas man was overhead yelling, "I said whoa, not go!"
Jeff Gordon: 7th. Not bad for No. 24 as he avoided bad luck for once.
Kasey Kahne: 1st. This win had been in the works for a while. He's on a roll now.

Matt Kenseth: 10th. Never a threat to win it, but hung in there for an OK points day.
Mark Martin: 34th. Engine woes ended what could have been a pretty respectable day.

  Here's a look at my results after 11 races and 55 picks.
  6 wins
20 top fives
26 top 10s

Grade for the week: B. OK, that's five winners in a row counting the All-Star race. Otherwise an OK week that would have been better if Johnson hadn't tried to drag the gas man and attached gas can out of pits resulting in a penalty that put him a lap down.
One Last Thing:  Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the only driver to complete all 3,888 laps this season. However, when it comes to laps led, he is 15th in those standings with 68 led this season. The most laps led this season have been 501 by Jimmie Johnson.


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