The Cup Series ran back-to-back races at Dover in 2020. The first race was dominated by Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch finished No.1, No. 2 and No. 3. They also combined to lead 206 of the 311 laps. The top-20 positions were inverted for the race on Sunday. This race became the “Kevin Harvick Show.” The No. 4 car swept the Stages and led 223 of the 311 laps. It will be interesting to see if Stewart-Haas Racing can find some speed for this race or will it be another dominating performance by the Joe Gibbs Racing cars.
Race Rewind Dover: Drydene 311 (2020)
– The 10 drivers who looked the best in the race: Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman and Cole Custer
Stage / Race Results
|1. Kevin Harvick
|1. Kevin Harvick
|1. Kevin Harvick
|2. Ryan Blaney
|2. Joey Logano
|2. Martin Truex Jr.
|3. William Byron
|3. Denny Hamlin
|3. Jimmie Johnson
|4. Aric Almirola
|4. Martin Truex Jr.
|4. William Byron
|5. Brad Keselowski
|5. Ryan Blaney
|5. Alex Bowman
|6. Joey Logano
|6. William Byron
|6. Joey Logano
|7. Matt DiBenedetto
|7. Alex Bowman
|7. Aric Almirola
|8. Jimmie Johnson
|8. Cole Custer
|8. Brad Keselowski
|9. Kurt Busch
|9. Jimmie Johnson
|9. Austin Dillon
|10. Austin Dillon
|10. Brad Keselowski
|10. Cole Custer
– Martin Truex Jr. has been the best driver at Dover over the last two seasons. He has finished 1st, 2nd, 2nd and 2nd in his last 4 races at the Monster Mile. He started 2nd, scored 15 Stage points, led 88 laps and finished 2nd in the 1st race. He came back Sunday and had to start 19th because of his finish in Saturday’s race. It took the No. 19 car a while to make it through the field, but Truex finished 4th in Stage 2, had a 6.99 average running position (5th best) and finished 2nd. The No. 19 team has this track figured out.
– Kyle Busch has two wins at Dover on his resume but his last win was in 2010. His average finishing position at the Monster Mile over the last two seasons is 7.5 (not too bad), but Busch has only led 4 laps in those races and averaged 3 Stage points per race. Last year Busch started 22nd and finished 3rd on Saturday and he started 18th and finished 11th on Sunday. He will have more fantasy value in fantasy games that reward place differential points if Busch starts outside the top 10.
– Denny Hamlin had the best car in the 1st race at Dover last year. The No. 11 car started 2nd, won both Stages, led a race-high 115 laps and went to Victory Lane. Hamlin also led the most laps at Dover in 2019. He had a fast car but bad luck on Sunday. Hamlin started 19th and was running in the top 5. He finished 3rd in Stage 2, but a pit road penalty forced him to lose his track position at the end of the race. Hamlin finished 19th, but his car had top-5 speed.
– Christopher Bell had a lot of success in the Xfinity Series at Dover. Bell won 2 of the 4 races he started in the Xfinity Series at Dover. He did not have the same success in his Cup Series car. Bell started 18th and finished 22nd in the 1st race at the Monster Mile last year. He started 24th and finished 27th in his 2nd race. Bell did not score any Stage points or lead any laps. He will be driving the No. 20 car for Joe Gibbs Racing this week. Erik Jones finished 12th and 22nd in his 2 races at Dover last year in the No. 20 car. I expect Bell to improve a lot in his Sophomore season at Dover.
– Brad Keselowski has been good but not great at Dover in his career. He only has 1 win at the Monster Mile (2012) and the track ranks as his 17th best (out of 25 tracks on the schedule). Keselowski had a couple decent runs at Dover last year. He started 7th, scored 14 Stage points, led 9 laps and finished 9th in the 1st race. He came back on Sunday and started 12th, scored 7 Stage points, had an 8.49 average running position (6th best) and finished 8th. Keselowski should be a safe pick to finish in the top-10 this week.
– Joey Logano had two good races at Dover last year but the track ranks as his 18th best out of 25 tracks on the schedule. Logano started 5th, scored 7 Stage points and finished 8th in the first race. The No. 22 car started 13th, scored 14 Stage points, led 15 laps, had a 3.98 average running position (2nd best) and finished 6th in the second race. After the race Logano thanked crew chief Paul Wolff for giving him one of the best cars he has ever had at Dover.
– Ryan Blaney has had no luck at Dover in his career. The track ranks as his 21st best track and his average finishing position is 19.6. Blaney did have a fast car in the last race at Dover though. The No. 12 car started 7th, finished 2nd in Stage 1, 5th in Stage 2, led 37 laps, had a 4.95 average running position (3rd best) but a poor pit stop at the end of the race forced Blaney to finish 12th. The stats suggest he is not very good, but the No. 12 car was one of the best in the last race at the Monster Mile.
– Matt DiBenedetto has had a lot of success at Bristol and you would think that would translate into good runs at Dover. So far it has not. DiBenedetto started 14th and finished in the lucky No. 20 spot on Saturday. His 20th-place finish gave him the pole for Sunday’s race. DiBenedetto was able to lead 11 laps to start the race and finished 7th in Stage 1. He slowly fell back through the field and finished 17th. DiBenedetto will need to show a lot of improvement to finish in the top 10 this week.
– Kevin Harvick has been very good at Dover in his career. His average finishing position in his last 6 races at the Monster Mile is 3rd (not too bad). Harvick had a good chance to sweep the races at Dover last year but his track bar broke in the first race. Harvick was still able to finish 4th in the race. Crew Chief Rodney Childers fixed the car and Harvick dominated the race on Sunday. The No. 4 car started 17th won both Stages, led 223 laps, had a series-best 3.42 average running position and went to Victory Lane. Dover is the 6th best track for Harvick.
– Chase Briscoe did not compete in the Cup Series race at Dover last year but he did have a lot of success in the Xfinity Series. Briscoe led 107 of the 200 laps and went to Victory Lane in the Xfinity Series race at the Monster Mile last year. He will be driving the No. 14 car for Stewart-Haas Racing this week. Clint Bowyer finished 6th and 16th in his 2 races at Dover in the No. 14 car last year. It will be interesting to see how well Briscoe can run compared to Bowyer.
– Aric Almirola had one of his best races at Dover last year. Almirola started 17th and finished 17th in the 1st race. The No. 10 team worked with the No. 4 team to figure out a setup for the 2nd race. It worked. Almirola started 4th, finished 4th in Stage 1, led 22 laps, had a 10.07 average running position (7th best) and finished 7th in the race. His average finishing position at Dover is 15.76 so was his 7th-place finish a fluke or did the team learn something that can be used this week? Almirola is worth a gamble in DFS lineups.
– Cole Custer won his last race in the Xfinity Series at Dover so he had some confidence heading into the Cup Series races at the Monster Mile. Custer started 21st and finished 11th in the 1st race. He came back Sunday and started 10th. Custer was able to run most of the race in the top 10. He finished 8th in Stage 2, had a 10.12 average running position (9th best) and finished 10th. Dover was one of the best tracks for Custer last year.
– Chase Elliott has had a lot of success at Dover in his career and his car was fast again last year. Elliott started on the pole, finished 10th in Stage 1, led 27 laps and finished 5th in the 1st race at the Monster Mile. Elliott came back on Sunday and started 16th. He was flying through the field and made his way to the 9th position when his race was ended. Garrett Smithley slid in front of Elliott on lap 7 and caved in the front-end of the No. 9 car. Elliott went to the garage and finished 39th. He typically has a top 5 car at the Monster Mile.
– Kyle Larson did not compete at Dover last year because he was suspended. The field was probably happy he was not entered in the race because Larson totally dominated the race at Dover in 2019 (led 154 laps and went to Victory Lane). The Monster Mile ranks as the 2nd best track for Larson. This week he will be driving for the team Jimmie Johnson had at Dover last year. Johnson finished 3rd and 7th at Dover last year so Larson should have a fast car this week.
– William Byron figured something out between the two races at Dover last year. The No. 24 car started 8th and finished 28th in the first race. Chad Knaus used the notes from the other Hendrick Motorsports teams and the No. 24 car came to life Sunday. Byron started 23rd, finished 3rd in Stage 1, 6th in Stage 2, had a 6.08 average running position (4th best) and finished 4th in the race. His average finishing position at the Monster Mile is 14.3, so I expect the No. 24 car to finish just outside the top 10 this week.
– Alex Bowman finished 2nd and 3rd in the 2 races at Dover in 2019 so he had high expectations for the races in 2020. The No. 88 team showed up with the wrong setup for the 1st race. All of the Hendrick Motorsports cars were too high (meaning the splitter was too high off the track) in the first race. They lowered their cars and it really helped in the second race. Bowman started 21st in the second race. He finished 7th in Stage 2, had a 10.11 average running position (8th best) and finished 5th in the race. Bowman has finished 3 of his last 4 races at the Monster Mile in the top-5.
– Kurt Busch has not been a good track for Busch. He has not won at the Monster Mile since 2011. He started 9th in the firstt race at Dover last year. His race was over before it begun. Busch crashed on lap 6 and finished 40th in the race. The No. 1 team did not have the track time to figure out what adjustments needed to be made for the second race. Busch started 28th, had a 12.26 average running position (15th best) and finished 13th. He should be better this year if his luck can change.
– Ross Chastain did not compete in the Cup Series races at Dover last year. He ran pretty well in the Xfinity Series double-header at Dover though. Chastain started 13th in both race. He finished 3rd on Saturday and 2nd on Sunday. He will be driving the No. 42 car for Chip Ganassi Racing this week. Matt Kenseth drove this car at Dover last year. Kenseth finished 23rd and 15th in his 2 races at the Monster Mile. I expect similar results from Chastain.
– Ryan Newman has been better at the short, flat tracks then he has been at the short, high-banked tracks. Newman has a 20.7 average finishing position at the Monster Mile since he joined Roush-Fenway Racing. Last year Newman started 23rd and finished 19th in the first race. He came back Sunday and started 2nd. He quickly fell back through the field. Newman did not score any Stage points, had a 22.45 average running position (23rd best) and finished 24th. There are better tracks to use Newman at.
– Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a good run in the first race at Dover last year but the second race ended quickly for the No. 47 team. Stenhouse started 19th on Saturday. He finished 9th in Stage 2, led 1 lap and finished 10th (not too bad). Stenhouse started 11th Sunday. He was running in the 11th position when he was caught up in a big accident that involved the No. 9, No. 18, No. 22 and No. 51 cars (thanks Garret Smithley). Stenhouse finished the race in 37th position. He should be good this week “if” he can stay out of trouble.
– Chris Buescher had two decent races at Dover last year. He started 12th, finished 9th in Stage 1 and finished 16th in the first race. The No. 17 car started 5th, did not score any Stage points, had a 16.32 average running position (17th best) and finished 14th in the second race. Buescher will only have value in DFS if he starts outside the top 15. He will be hard to trust in season-long games.
– Austin Dillon used pit strategy to try and steal top-10 finishes at Dover last year. The No. 3 car started 32nd and stayed out while other teams pitted to lead 49 laps and finish 2nd in Stage 1 in the first race. He gave up his track position to get fresh rubber and Dillon finished 15th in the race. He started 6th in the second race. Dillon was able to finish 10th in Stage 1, had a 12.26 average running position (14th best) and finished 9th in the race. His car had top-15 speed in both races.
– Tyler Reddick did not have much success in the Xfinity Series at Dover. His average finishing position in his 5 starts was 12th. Reddick did not have much better results in the Cup Series at the Monster Mile. Reddick started 16th and finished 13th in the first race at Dover last year (not too bad). The No. 8 car started 8th, did not score any Stage points, had a 15.57 average running position (16th best) and finished 18th on Sunday. Maybe he can improve in his sophomore season at the track.
– Erik Jones is always good at Bristol but he has not had the same results at Dover. Jones has 8 starts in the Cup Series at the Monster Mile and his average finishing position is 13th. Last year Jones started 13th and finished 12th in the first race. He started 9th, did not score any Stage points, had a 19.71 average running position (20th best) and finished 22nd in the second race. He will be driving the No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports this week so it is hard to expect Jones improving this week.
– Bubba Wallace has not been very good at Dover in his career. He has 6 starts at the Monster Mile and he has never finished inside the top 20. His average finishing position at the track is 23.8. Last year Wallace finished 27th in the first race and 21st in the second race. He will have an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing this week so that should help. Wallace may have his first finish inside the top-20 at Dover this week, but it is hard to expect much more than that.
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