The first round of the MENCS Playoffs is in the books. The field competing for the 2018 Championship has been trimmed from 16 to 12. That means we will have four more options in the non-Playoff Driver spot in our lineups (Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Austin Dillon).
I plan to use two drivers who should be locks to finish in the top 5 as my Playoff Drivers. I will use two of the drivers who were eliminated from the playoffs last week as my Non-Playoff Drivers and another non-Playoff Driver in the Garage. I like having more choices from the non-Playoff Drivers because there is more risk of them having problems in the race. Here are my picks for Dover…
2 Playoff Drivers
My picks for Playoff Drivers this week will be Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson. The word in the garage is that the No. 4 is the car to beat Sunday. He whipped the field at Dover in May and he has a good chance to do it again Sunday. Larson had the fastest time in both practices, fastest 5-lap average speed, fastest 10-lap average speed, fastest 15-lap average speed and ran the most laps in final practice. No driver has led more laps at Dover over the past 2 years than Larson. He has a rocket for a car and he should quickly make his way to the front.
2 Non-Playoff Drivers
My two Non-Playoff Drivers will be Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. To say Johnson is good at Dover is an understatement. He has 11 wins at the track and he could almost beat the field while driving in reverse. Johnson worked on his long-run speed in practice and he was 10th fastest on the 10-lap average speed chart and 4th on the 15-lap average speed chart. His car keeps getting faster as they get deeper into a run. Hamlin posted the 2nd-fastest speed in final practice and he was 5th-fastest on the 10-lap speed chart. The No. 11 car is fast. Hamlin just needs to avoid making mistakes.
My Garage Driver will be Erik Jones. The No. 20 car is fast this week. Jones was 3rd fastest in final practice and he was 7th fastest on the 10-lap average speed chart. I like have 3 options from the Non-Playoff Drivers this week. Johnson and Hamlin are both great pick but both are hard drivers to trust. I like having an insurance policy in case they make a mistake Sunday.
Playoff Driver: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson
Non-Playoff Driver: Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin
Garage Driver: Erik Jones
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick
Winning Manufacturer: Ford
Good luck this week!
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