The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Dover International Speedway's concrete palace for the 29th race of the 2011 season, the AAA 400. We looked at past performances, season trends, and spoke to NASCAR contacts to shed a light on how the field will finish on Sunday.
When: Sunday, October 2, 2011; 2:15 p.m./et.
Weather: Mostly sunny with a high of 61; wind out of the NNW at 15 mph. There is a zero percent chance of precipitation on race day.
The Track: Dover InternationalSpeedway
Dover is a one mile concrete oval with 24 degree banking in the turns and nine degree banking on the straight-aways.
Key to Race: THE MONSTER MILE
Dover International Speedway is the "Monster Mile". The high-banked concrete track lets drivers run nearly wide-open the entire way around. Getting the proper car setup is very tricky, so multiple-car teams have an even bigger advantage than normal. Look for Hendrick Motorsports, Roush-Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing to lock up a majority of the top 10.
45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2011 owner point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by a two lap qualifying run on Saturday, October 1 at 1:40 pm/et.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won this spring and the 2006 spring race at the Monster Mile. He has had the best car on the track two or the last three fall races. He will be very fast again this weekend.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson dominated Dover in three of the last five races. He has seven career wins and 12 top 10 finishes in 19 starts at the Monster Mile.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy won Dover's spring races in 2008 and in 2010. This is the perfect track for his aggressive driving style.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards won the September 2007 race at Dover and has finished in the top five in six of the last 10 races at the track. He is a great pick to crack the top five again this weekend.
No. 5 Mark Martin: Doveris one of Mark Martin's favorite tracks. He has been one of the best drivers at the Monster Mile the past three years.
6 to 10
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle won the September 2008 race at Dover and has led laps in eight of the past 13 races at the track. He will be in the lead group all day.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has four career wins at Dover and he has cracked the top 12 in nine of his last 11 starts at the track. He is a great pick.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has been excellent atDoverduring his career. In 16 Cup starts he has three wins and is always a contender to take the pole. We like his chances this weekend.
No. 22 Kurt Busch: Busch has always qualified very well at Dover and was strong last fall at the track. He should crack the top 10 this visit to the Monster Mile.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. won the spring 2007 race at Dover and has been great at the place he considers his home-track. He is a terrific sleeper pick this weekend.
11 to 20
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has led just one lap at Dover since 2003 and has finished out of the top 10 in 10 of the last 13 races at the track. He will struggle to crack the top 10 again this weekend.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has cracked the top 15 just five times in his last 13 races at Dover, but he is driving great this month. If it becomes a fuel mileage race Mr. Smoke is your man.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has had his fair share of struggles at the Monster. He should finish outside the top 10 this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has cracked the top 20 just five times in the past 13 races at Dover. He will be good, but a top 15 finish isn't expected.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has finished 13th, 18th and 22nd in his three career visits to Dover. He will continue to be a top 25 finisher this visit to the track.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has cracked the top 16 in 17 of the past 19 Dover races. He is a solid third or fourth driver on all fantasy squads this weekend.
No. 33 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has finished between sixth and 17th in all but two of his career starts at Dover. He should finish in the teens again this weekend.
No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano is familiar with Dover from racing there many times in the Modified and Camping World East Series. He will finish inside the top 15.
No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann was very racy during last two spring races at Dover. He is worth rolling the dice on this visit to the Concrete Palace.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose was awesome this spring at Dover. He will notch another top 20 finish.
21 to 30
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has had some decent runs at Dover in his career. He should finish near the top 20.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has looked great in half of the last eight races at Dover. He won't crack the top 10 again, but a top 25 finish is expected.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has had success at Dover during his career. This is a great weekend to sneak the No. 1 driver into your lineup.
No. 4 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has cracked the top 10 just three times in 15 career starts at Dover. He is just an average pick.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has averaged a 20th place finish at Dover during his career. He is a nice fifth driver in most fantasy leagues.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. has been very inconsistent at Dover during his career. He has finished in the mid-30s or worse in four of his races at the track, but he also three top 15 finishes.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan has cracked the top 28 in his last nine starts at Dover. He is worth using this weekend as a fifth driver in deep leagues.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has finished in the top 20 in five of the past 11 races at Dover. He is a decent value pick on Sunday.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith should reward with another top 30 finish.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears should sneak the No. 13 car into the top 30 with a little luck.
No. 34 David Gilliland
No. 32 Mike Bliss
No. 71 Andy Lally
No. 51 Landon Cassill
No. 7 Reed Sorenson
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 46 Scott Speed
No. 38 J.J. Yeley
No. 55 Travis Kvapil
No. 66 Michael McDowell
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 37 Josh Wise
No. 60 Mike Skinner
No. 50 T.J. Bell
1. Matt Kenseth
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kyle Busch
4. Carl Edwards
1. Martin Truex
2. Bobby Labonte
Bust of the Week:
Juan Pablo Montoya