Fantasy NASCAR

Dover Motor Speedway Notebook


Chris Buescher earned his first career NASCAR Cup Series pole position at Dover Motor Speedway Saturday and will lead the field to green in Sunday’s DuraMAX Drydene 400 (3:00 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing Ford turned a fast lap of 159.207 mph around the concrete Monster Mile – the second of the 10 final qualifiers to go in the final session. The 29-year old Texan’s time was .057-second faster than Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

This is Buescher’s first pole position in 233 NASCAR Cup Series race starts.

“That’s just awesome right there,’’ a smiling Buescher said after watching the final session on pit road.

“That was a good effort during practice. [His teammate] Brad [Keselowski] went out there and put down some really great laps and came over and saw some things, relayed it and everyone did a good job working on this thing and got our Fastenal Mustang on the front row so that’s a heckuva start.

“Good to do that here in Dover. I love this place. It’s a ride. We’re flying around here.’’

Hendrick Motorsports drivers Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will start from the second row, followed by Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney and defending race winner, Hendrick’s Alex Bowman.

Last week’s Talladega Superspeedway race winner Ross Chastain – fastest in the opening round of time trails – will start seventh alongside Daniel Suarez. Bubba Wallace and Kyle Busch will round out the Top-10 starters in a pair of Toyotas.

Austin Cindric was fastest in practice but did not advance to the final qualifying round. He was the fastest rookie qualifier and will start the No. 2 Team Penske Ford from 12th position.

Kevin Harvick, one of three three-time Dover race winners, was 11th fastest in qualifying just missing the final round. It will be his highest starting position in the last three races. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford is looking to score his first win since Sept. 19, 2020 (at Bristol, Tenn.) – 53 races ago. He won at Dover, Del. that same year.


Four drivers did not make NASCAR Cup Series qualifying laps on Saturday. William Byron, rookies Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton and Josh Bilicki all had incidents during practice and will go to back-up cars for the race.

Byron, a two-race winner in 2022, had an incident in the opening minutes of his practice session and hit the wall hard enough that his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team immediately knew it would need to prepare a back-up car. He will start 33rd among the 36 cars.

“Just hate it for our guys more than anything,’’ said Byron, who is ranked third in the championship standings.

“Have to pull out a back-up car obviously. The primary was probably going to be really fast and I know our back-up car can be just as fast and we can still go and try to win on Sunday. But just a little bit over-confident on my end (in the accident).’’

Gilliland and Bilicki made contact with the wall early in the opening practice. Byron and Burton had their trouble in the second practice session. Tyler Reddick, spun twice in that session but did not need to go to a second car. He will start the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing 26th.


Dover Motor Speedway is a special place to Martin Truex Jr. It’s the New Jersey native’s “home track” and also the place where the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion fittingly earned his first premier series victory in 2007.

Truex, driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, joins teammate Kyle Busch and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Harvick as three-time Dover race winners – most among active drivers in the series.

“Having experience around this track brings confidence to know what you might want is important, but we only have 20 minutes (of practice) to figure that out – figure out how to get that in the car and not have a lot of ability to change the big things,’’ said Truex, who qualified 18th.


Two-time former NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was asked about comments he made last week saying he was unsure of his future with the Joe Gibbs Racing team. He is in the middle of negotiating a new contract with the team and last week deferred reporters’ questions about his status to the team.

Asked on Saturday if he’s had any more talk with JGR in the last week, Busch said, “yeah, there were some discussions and such,’’ adding, “There is nothing to elaborate on, it’s all good.’’

Busch, a three-time Dover winner, will start the No. 18 JGR Toyota 10th.


Ross Chastain has earned his first two NASCAR Cup Series race victories in just the past five weeks – a career first win at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas’ road course on March 27 and answered it with a win on the series’ biggest track, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway last weekend.

Both Chastain’s wins in the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet came on last lap passes. It’s been quite a season debut for Chastain with the Trackhouse Racing team. And Chastain, who had a reputation for a more aggressive racing style earlier in this career, says he’s learned from that and made an effort to race differently.

“It’s all about being there at the end,’’ said Chastain, who is ninth in the championship. “There were opportunities in both of those races to take ourselves out and it didn’t happen. Now there have been other races this year that small mistakes added up to us not winning and we had the same opportunity to.

“I’m not perfect. I’m human. There’s mistakes and we’ve had a great start to the season and stats look great, but there’s mistakes in there that I’ve also learned from this year. Continue to evolve that is tough. I mean, this is the best group of race car drivers in the world, in my opinion. Any mistake and they exploit it.’’


Only one car had issues during pre-qualifying inspection for Sunday’s race. The No. 42 Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Ty Dillon failed inspection twice, costing the team pit selection. One crew member was also ejected for the race.


Weekend Preview: Dover Motor Speedway


  • DuraMAX Drydene 400 presented by RelaDyne
  • Dover Motor Speedway
  • Sunday, May 1. 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Purse: $7,205,230
  • TV: FS1, 2:00 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • 400 miles (400 Laps)
  • Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 120)
  • Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 250)
  • Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

Top drivers still looking for their first win of 2022 at the Monster Mile.

As the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover Motor Speedway for Sunday’s DuraMAX Drydene 400 presented by RelaDyne (3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) the top drivers in the championship points standings are still looking for their first win of the 2022 season.

Chase Elliott

NASCAR Cup Series standings leader Chase Elliott is also the only member of the four-car Hendrick Motorsports team without a race trophy, but his consistency and ability to “be there” at the end has kept him atop the standings for the last three races. And Elliott is a former winner on Dover’s famed “Monster Mile” track.

Heading into the race, Elliott leads Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney by 21 points in the championship. Unlike Blaney, who has only two top-10 finishes in 11 Dover starts, Elliott has fared well on the concrete high-banks. He has eight top-five finishes – including that 2018 victory – in 11 starts.

And a win this weekend would go a long way toward solidifying Elliott’s run toward a second championship. The last time he hoisted a trophy was July 4 of last year at the Road America road course – 26 races ago.

“I want to win just as much as everyone else, if not more,” said Elliott, who drivers the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. “I always want to win, and I always have an expectation of myself to want to go and perform.

“That expectation is the only one that matters to me, and I want to do the job to the best of my ability always, whether you have a win in the bank or not. For me, that doesn’t make me try any harder.”

Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports team goes into Sunday’s race as an absolute favorite having finished 1-2-3-4 in the race last year – won by Elliott’s teammate Alex Bowman. The four Hendrick drivers led a remarkable 382 of the 400 laps (95.5 percent). And it marked only the third time in NASCAR history a team swept the top four finishing positions in a race. The last time it happened was November 2005 when Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing did it at the Homestead, Fla. season finale.

Largely thanks to Jimmie Johnson’s record 11 victories at Dover, Hendrick is the winningest team at the track with 21 victories. Since 2013 – a span of 17 races – only three teams have won on the Monster Mile, with Hendrick’s eight trophies the most in that time, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing (five wins) and Stewart-Haas Racing (four wins).

That certainly bodes well for a Hendrick team which has all four drivers – Elliott, William Byron (third), Alex Bowman (fifth) and reigning series champion Kyle Larson (eighth) ranked among the top-10 in the series driver standings. Byron and last week’s Talladega race winner Ross Chastain are the only drivers in the series with multiple wins (two each) so far this season.

Not only is Elliott among the favorites to score a season first win at Dover – he’s joined by three other former NASCAR Cup Series champions, who are also good at this track and also looking for their first trophies of the year.

Past series champs Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. boast the most NASCAR Cup Series wins among active drivers at Dover – all with three victories each. Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford is the most recent winner among the trio with a trophy in 2020.

Kevin Harvick

Harvick, 46, the 2014 series champion is ranked 11th in the standings with only a single top five (runner-up at Richmond, Va.) and 12 laps led right now. He’s finished sixth or better (including two wins) in the last seven Dover races.

Martin Truex Jr

Truex, 41, driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, broke an uncharacteristic run of back-to-back sub-20th-place finishes with a fifth place showing at Talladega last week. He’s ranked eighth in the standings with a best finish of fourth place at Richmond, Va. earlier this month. The 2017 series champion scored his career first NASCAR Cup Series win at Dover, Del. in 2007. He answered a 2019 win there with three consecutive runner-up finishes before a 19th-place run last Spring.

This will be the first test for the new Next Gen car on Dover’s concrete high-banks and while drivers aren’t sure exactly what to expect, they say they are looking forward to the Dover test.

“It’s a hard track to get right anyways but throw in a new car and limited track time, it’s going to be difficult,” Truex said. “I love going there though, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

The NASCAR Cup Series will have a 45-minute practice session Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 11:15 a.m. – both televised live on FS1.


  • A-GAME 200
  • Dover Motor Speedway
  • Saturday, April 30, 1:30 p.m. ET
  • Purse: $1,419,713
  • TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • 200 miles (200 Laps)
  • Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45)
  • Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90)
  • Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

Dover offers monster of a good time for Xfinity Series

Following Noah Gragson’s victory in a dramatic overtime finish at the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ biggest track last weekend (Talladega Superspeedway), the series moves to the always exciting Dover Motor Speedway for a test on the “Monster Mile” this week.

Saturday afternoon’s A-GAME 200 at Dover (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) presents a unique challenge to the Xfinity Series championship with only one of the series’ fulltime competitors having ever won this race previously.

Two-time Dover winner Justin Allgaier is hopeful that his track record will push him forward in the points and into an already tightly grouped trio atop the championship.

Veteran A.J. Allmendinger, who finished third last weekend in a typically frantic Talladega (Ala). Superspeedway rush to the checkered flag, leads the Xfinity Series championship by 40 points over Gragson and 45 points over Ty Gibbs – the two swapping positions in the standings following Gragson’s win and Gibbs’ rough superspeedway outing.

AJ Allmendinger

Allmendinger has top-10 finishes in every race this season topped with a victory at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin last month. The driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet has only a pair of Xfinity starts at Dover – with a best finish of fourth-place last year – and has never led a lap there.

Noah Gragson

Gragson’s Talladega victory was his second of the season. His first came at the other one-mile track, Phoenix Raceway, which gives him plenty of momentum as the series arrives in Dover.

Gragson has never won on the Monster Mile, but the driver of the JR Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet does have four top-10 finishes in six starts with a best showing of fourth place in 2020. He’s led only 38 laps at Dover during that time – but neither of his other closest championship challengers – Allmendinger or Gibbs – have led even a single lap at the track.

Ty Gibbs

This will be only the second Dover start for Gibbs, who will be looking to regain momentum after a tough Talladega race. Involved in an accident on the big track, Gibbs finished 35th suffering only the second DNF in 27 career Xfinity Series races to date. Gibbs’ three wins and 330 laps led in 2022 are most in the series. The driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota finished fifth in his only Dover race, last year.

Justin Allgaier

Which brings us to Allgaier, who boasts a top-five finish in half of his 21 Dover starts, including wins in 2018 and 2020 and three runner-up showings. In the last 12 Dover races, the driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has 11 top-10 and nine top-five finishes – including the two victories. His 447 career laps led is most among Xfinity Series regulars and twice he’s led 100 or more laps in a Dover race.

It all speaks well for a potential Dover rebound to Allgaier’s 2022 season. He’s currently ranked sixth in the championship, 121-points behind Allmendinger, but has finished 22nd or worse in four of the last five races. His best finish of the year is fifth (at Daytona and Las Vegas). His last win came almost exactly a year ago – May 8 at Darlington, S.C.

“I can’t wait to get to Dover this weekend with our No. 7 team,” Allgaier said. “We’ve been really strong there the last couple of years and I feel extremely confident that we are going to pick up right where we left off when we hit the track for practice on Friday. Hopefully, we can have a solid, smooth weekend and be right where we need to be, come race time, to right for the win.

“I’m ready to go.”


The Dover race marks the Dash 4 Cash program’s 2022 finale. Gragson, Landon Cassill, Allmendinger and Ryan Sieg are qualified to win the $100,000 bonus check this week following their work last week at Talladega. The highest finisher among them earns the bonus cash from sponsor Comcast Xfinity. Allmendinger has won two of the three Dash 4 Cash prizes to date.


Weekend Preview: Talladega Superspeedway


  • GEICO 500
  • Talladega Superspeedway
  • Sunday, April 24, 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Purse: $7,420,008
  • TV: FOX, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • 500 miles (188 laps)
  • Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60)
  • Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120)
  • Final Stage (Ends on Lap 188)

The famed Talladega Superspeedway is a track beloved for its high-action and unpredictability. And those are apt adjectives for NASCAR’s Cup Series competition this season as well – with eight different winners through the first nine races.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway high banks for Sunday’s GEICO 500 (3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) which is traditionally a sure-bet season highlight.

Four Different Winners – Last Four Races

There have been four different winners in the last four races there, including a career first NASCAR Cup Series trophy earned by 23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace last Fall (October). Former series champion Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of this Spring race and with six career Talladega victories is the winningest driver in the field. He actually boasts an impressive double the number of victories there as any other active driver.

Brad Keselowski

A win would definitely be a huge boost for Keselowski, whose only top-10 finish of this season was a ninth place in the season-opening Daytona 500. The new owner-driver for RFK Racing was penalized after the Atlanta race when NASCAR inspectors found the team modified a “single source” supplied part on the No. 6 RFK Racing Ford. Keselowski lost 100 driver points and 10 Playoff points and crew chief Matt McCall was suspended for four races. And now Keselowski shows up at one of his career-best tracks ranked 30th in the driver standings.

A solid run – a victory this weekend – would go a long way toward turning the season around for the new driver-owner. He scored a win and a runner-up finish in his two Talladega starts last year.

Chase Elliott

Perennial crowd favorite Chase Elliott has led the championship standings for four of the last five weeks, the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet currently holds a slim three-point edge on Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney and a 21-point advantage over Blaney’s Penske teammate Joey Logano heading to Talladega.

Interestingly, these three drivers ranked highest in the series driver standings are all still winless on the season. But they are all former Talladega winners and race favorites this weekend.

Elliott, who is from nearby Dawsonville, Ga. and considered a “hometown” favorite at Talladega, dramatically won the 2019 October Playoff race at the track, but has only a single top-five finish in the five races since. When it comes to superspeedways (at Daytona and Talladega), however, Elliott has collected six top-five and nine finishes on his career.

Ryan Blaney

Blaney has two victories – in Fall, 2019 and Spring, 2020 – and is the first driver to score back-to-back wins at Talladega since NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon swept the 2007 races. However, as with Elliott, Blaney has had a rough go otherwise, with only three top-10 finishes (including those two victories) in the last 11 Talladega races despite leading laps in eight of those 11 outings.

Joey Logano

Logano, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, trails only Keselowski in the victory count with three wins, the last coming in the Spring, 2018 race. He also has struggled recently with only a single top 10 (third place in Fall 2020) in the last five races. He does boast nine top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in his 26 career starts, however, and has led laps in 12 of the last 13 races.

Any of these drivers has a compelling case to win this Sunday – past Talladega performance plus a desire to score that first 2022 victory.

William Byron

And not to be overlooked is the season’s only multiple-winner, Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron. He was runner-up to Keselowski in this race last year and has top-five finishes in two of the last three Talladega races. The driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet scored his first career NASCAR Cup Series win on the series’ other superspeedway in Daytona Beach in August 2020.

“Talladega is one of those places where you just don’t know how your day is going to end up,” Byron said. “I think that’s why driving smart and just doing what you can to make it to the checkered flag is the main focus. Your race can change so fast if you’re in the wrong lane or you get caught up in someone else’s mistake.

“I think if you can avoid those things and finish the race, you’re going to have a decent result.”

Qualifying for the GEICO 500 is schedule for Saturday morning at 11 a.m. ET on FS1.


  • Ag-Pro 300
  • Talladega Superspeedway
  • Saturday, April 23, 4:00p.m. ET
  • Purse: $1,475,583
  • TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • 300.58 miles (113 Laps)
  • Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25)
  • Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 50)
  • Final Stage (Ends on Lap 113)

The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns after a week off to compete in the Ag-Pro 300 this Saturday, April 23 at Talladega Superspeedway (4 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Jeb Burton

Jeb Burton earned his career first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in this race last year, leading the final nine laps and ultimately holding off Austin Cindric, current series points leader A.J. Allmendinger, Riley Herbst, Ryan Sieg and Noah Gragson.

Burton, who now drives the No. 27 Our Motorsports Chevrolet, would love to back up his victory with his first top-10 finish of the year – and first for his new team – at Talladega this weekend. However, he can expect typically tight competition, among multiple drivers and the kind of last lap drama that has long characterized the speedway and made this one of the most thrilling races of the season.

AJ Allmendinger

Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger is in the midst of a stellar season start, earning his first victory of the year at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas road course and is the only driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with top-10 finishes in all eight races. Last year’s third place effort at Talladega is his best showing in four Xfinity Series starts there.

Ty Gibbs

Nineteen-year-old Ty Gibb, who will be making his Xfinity Series Talladega debut, is currently second in the Xfinity Series driver standings trailing Allmendinger by 20 points, with a series-best three victories. His only superspeedway experience-to-date, however, is an 11th-place finish in the season-opener at Daytona. The driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has a series-best 325 laps led on the season and has won pole position in the last three races.

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson sits just behind Gibbs in the standings and the driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has been good on the Talladega high banks earning top-10 finishes in four of his six starts there with a best showing of third-place in 2020. Gragson was third in the first superspeedway race of 2022 – at Daytona. And his four-race run atop the championship standings mid-season is the longest time a driver has led the points consecutively so far.

Brandon Brown – Ryan Sieg – Brandon Jones

Brandon Brown, Ryan Sieg and the most recent Xfinity Series race winner Brandon Jones (at Martinsville, Va.) all have good cases as race favorites too. Brown won the series last race at Talladega in October of 2021 – his only win in the series. He’s finished top-10 in the last three races at the track.

Sieg, who has five top-10 finishes in 2022, has finished 11th-place or better in the last three Talladega races, including a runner-up finish in 2020. Jones, driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, has three top-five finishes and was runner-up to Brown in the Fall race last year

Dash 4 Cash

Saturday’s race marks the third round of the Dash 4 Cash incentive with $100,000 on the line to the top finishing driver Saturday among these four: Brandon Jones, Landon Cassill, Allmendinger and Austin Hill.

The top-four finishing eligible drivers at Talladega will then race for the final $100,000 courtesy of Xfinity – when the series competes at the “Monster Mile,” Dover (Del.) International Speedway next week. Allmendinger and Jones each pocketed one of the two $100,000 bonuses already awarded this season.