The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Dover International Speedway's concrete palace for the 29th race of the 2012 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, September 30, 2012; 2:15 p.m./et.
Weather: Potential showers with a high of 66; wind out of the NNE at 10 mph. There is a 40 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.
46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. If the first practice is run, but qualifying is unable to take place, the starting lineup will be based on speeds from the car's fastest lap from the first practice, with top-35 cars in owner points no longer segregated from the non-top 35 cars. Previously, the top 35 cars lined up in front of all other eligible car owners.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson dominated Dover in five of the last seven races. He has eight career wins and 14 top 10 finishes in 21 starts at the Monster Mile.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won last year’s spring race and the 2006 spring race at the Monster Mile, additionally he has had one of the best cars on the track three of the last five fall races. He will be very fast again this weekend.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has led just 11 laps at Dover since 2003, but finished strong earlier this year. He should have the No. 29 sled back inside the top five.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has cracked the top 10 five times in 17 career starts at Dover. He is worth rolling the dice on this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle won the September 2008 race at Dover and has led laps in eight of the past 15 races at the track. He will be in the lead group all day.
6 to 10
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has finished 12th, 20th, 13th, 18th and 22nd in his five career visits to Dover. He will be a top 10 finisher this visit to the track.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has four career wins at Dover and he has cracked the top 12 in 10 of his last 13 starts at the track. He is a great pick.
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 seven of the last 12 races at the track. He is a great pick to crack the top 10 again this weekend.
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. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has had his fair share of struggles at the Monster. He should finish just outside the top 10 this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has cracked the top 20 just six times in the past 15 races at Dover. He will be good, but a top 10 finish isn't expected.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has been excellent atDoverduring his career. In 18 Cup starts he has three wins and is always a contender to take the pole. We like his chances this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has cracked the top 16 in 18 of the past 21 Dover races. He is a solid third or fourth driver on all fantasy squads this weekend.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has cracked the top 15 just five times in his last 15 races at Dover. If it becomes a fuel mileage race Mr. Smoke is your man, but Dover races don’t usually turn into conservative races.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has finished between fifth and 17th in all but two of his career starts at Dover. He should finish in the teens again this weekend.
No. 55 Mark Martin: Dover is one of Mark Martin's favorite tracks. He has been one of the best drivers at the Monster Mile the past three years.
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 20.
No. 51 Kurt Busch: Busch has always qualified very well at Dover and was strong in two of the past three races at the track. He should crack the top 25 this visit to the Monster Mile.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose was awesome last year at Dover. He will notch another top 20 finish.
21 to 30
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has looked great in half of the last nine 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. 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 Aric Almirola: Almirola finished sixth at Dover this June. He is worth using in most leagues.
No. 22 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. hasn’t been terrific in the No. 22, but he is still worthy of using in deep leagues.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has finished in the top 20 in six of the past 13 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. 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Slick Rick is worth using in most deep leagues. He has a ton of talent and is a rising star in the sport.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Don’t be tempted.
No. 34 David Ragan
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 83 Landon Cassill
No. 32 T.J. Bell
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 36 J.J. Yeley
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 49 Jason Leffler
No. 91 Reed Sorenson
No. 33 Cole Whitt
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 26 Josh Wise
No. 23 Scott Riggs
No. 19 Mike Bliss
No. 79 Kelly Bires
No. 37 TBD
No. 19 Mike Bliss
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Kasey Kahne
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Bust of the Week: