Round 2 of the MENCS Playoffs start this week. The cream usually rises to the top at Dover and I expect that to happen Sunday. Make sure you try to get as many of the playoff driver as possible into your lineups this week. The Gander Outdoors 400 can be seen Sunday at 2pm ET on NBC Sports Network.
Qualifying was rained out so the starting lineup was set by points. This means the good drivers will be starting up front and it will be difficult to find value outside the top 20. Difficult, but not impossible. I found some drivers starting outside the top 10 who should score well this week.
Kyle Larson has led more laps at Dover over the past 4 races than any other driver in the field. He has a very fast car and said, “This race is my best chance to win in this round. We will do everything possible to get to Victory Lane Sunday so we do not have to worry about Talladega next week.” Larson ranks No. 1 on steep ovals this season.
Jimmie Johnson has 11 wins at the Monster Mile. No one else is even close. He has also finished 25 of 29 races at the track in the top 10. That is an 86% chance of a top 10 finish Sunday. He starts 13th and should compete for a top five finish this week.
Erik Jones has a lot better average running position (11.2) than average finishing position (15.8) at Dover. In the spring he was running 6th when he ran out of gas on the last lap. Jones starts 16th and should finish in the top 10 Sunday.
Daniel Saurez is the “free square” (BINGO Reference) this week. Dover is the best track for Suarez. He has finished 3rd, 6th and 8th in his three MENCS races at the track. He also has a win in the Xfinity Series at Dover. Suarez should score a lot of place differential points at the Monster Mile.
Matt Kenseth also needs to be on all teams Sunday. Dover ranks as the 2nd-best track for Kenseth. Since NASCAR started the Playoff system, Kenseth has a 9.5 average finishing position at Dover. He may not finish in the top 10 this week but he should be able to finish between 11th – 15th. That is a lot of place differential points from the 28th starting position.
Here are the rest of my picks for the Dover….
Kyle Larson ($11,300) (Starts 10th)
Jimmie Johnson ($10,800) (Starts 13th)
Erik Jones ($10,300) (Starts 16th)
Daniel Suarez ($9,800) (Starts 19th)
Matt Kenseth ($7,700) (Starts 28th)
Good luck this week!
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