The first round of the playoffs is over and we are down to the final twelve drivers for the 2019 season championship. Ryan Newman and Aric Almirola were knocked out of the top twelve by Alex Bowman and Clint Bowyer and will not continue on in the playoffs. Kurt Busch and Erik Jones were also eliminated from contention in a race that saw a lot of attrition. Pretty exciting at the end watching the points and the racing between Newman and Bowman and when Newman missed the chicane late in the race it sealed the playoff spot in the second round for Alex.
The second round will start next Sunday as the drivers head back to the Dover International Speedway for the running of the Drydene 400. Dover is a one-mile, high banked, concrete oval also known as The Monster Mile. This is a great place to watch a race as the track is wide and has a lot of banking in the corners which leads to multiple grooves for the drivers to race in.
This is a big race for all of the playoff drivers because Talladega looms for race two of this round and all of the drivers know that anything can happen at Talladega. So, they are going to try their best to win this race and punch their tickets for the third round before they get to Talladega and try and get as many stage points as they can in this race. Nobody wants to head to Kansas knowing they need to win that race to qualify for the third round of the playoffs.
Martin Truex Jr.: I’m picking Martin to continue with his playoff dominance and win this week’s race. He won here in May, has won two of the last six races at this track, and has finished in the top five in five of his last six starts here. They also came away with a top five last week at the ROVAL in Charlotte after starting in the back and this team has a lot of confidence right now.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin won the spring race at Dover last season and lead an astounding 452 laps in the two races that were run here. He also won all four of the stages at this track last season and this team is also on a roll lately. They have figured something out that they were losing out on late in races earlier this year and the pit crew seems to have cleaned up a lot of the mistakes they were making in the early stages of the season.
Kyle Larson: Kyle is another driver who came on strong at the end of the regular season and he has always run well at this track. In fact in his eleven starts at Dover, Kyle has only finished outside of the top twenty once. He also has eight top ten finishes and besides the twenty-fifth place finish his worse finish has been twelfth. He really likes to run the high line here and he can make that payoff.
Chase Elliott: Chase won this race last season and has finished in the top five in six of his seven career starts at Dover. This team will have a lot of confidence after coming back from a mistake on a restart last week that could very well have knocked him out of the race. If he can repeat what he did last season he can breathe a bit easier heading to Talladega.
Daniel Suarez: Daniel is my dark horse this week. He has only run five races at this track and his worst finish is eleventh. That came in May of this year and he lead twenty-one laps in that race. He has the potential to win this week if they can stay out of trouble early in the race. This team has been up and down throughout the year and a win now would give then a boost going into the off season.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has three career wins at Dover including winning this race two years ago. This team has slipped lately and it is time they get back on track if Kyle wants to win his second championship. The further you get into the playoffs the more important winning races is going to be. The playoff points you accumulate during the season are nice to have, but you won’t be able to rely on them much longer to get you to the next round.
Jimmie Johnson: Even though he has really struggled for the most part this whole season, with eleven wins at this track you can’t count Jimmie out. He has lead over 3,100 laps here and has finished in the top five in almost half of all the races he has run at Dover. There aren’t a lot of tracks where he will have a shot at getting to victory lane left on the schedule, but this is one of them.
Clint Bowyer: Clint is still looking for his first win at this track but has finished in the top ten in fifteen of his twenty-seven career starts at Dover. He has scored points in each of the last seven stages in the last four races here and is starting to look better each week. I think this team is getting used to communicating with each other and making the right changes to their car as the races progress and the track changes.
Brad Keselowski: Brad has won win at this track and two runner-up finishes in his nineteen career starts here. He has scored points in each of the last eight stages in the past four races here and usually qualifies in the top ten. He has also lead over two-hundred laps all together in those last four starts and has the potential to pick up a big win this week.
Joey Logano: Not to be outdone too much by his teammate, Joey has lead laps in each of his last three starts at Dover and scored points in five of the past six stages including winning the first stage in the May race this year. The Penske teams have shown they have the speed and handling to win at this type of track and they should all have good cars once again this weekend.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kevin Harvick
Driver Group Game Group B
- Daniel Suarez
- Clint Bowyer
- Jimmie Johnson
- William Byron
Driver Group Game Group C
- Chris Buescher
- Daniel Hemric
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kevin Harvick
- Chase Elliott
- Kyle Larson
- Daniel Suarez
Dark Horse: Daniel Suarez
Stay Away From: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Big 18: Daniel Suarez