The first round of the playoffs are in the book and Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, and Erik Jomes were eliminated with Johnson eliminating himself by going into the final chicayne as he was trying to pass Martin Truex Jr. for the win. If he would have been happy to finish second he would still be in contention, but I guess that isn’t how he wants to win championships, by backing his way in.
GANDER OUTDOORS 400
The second round of the playoffs will start at the Dover International Speedway, otherwise known as The Monster Mile. Just as this name suggests, it is a one-mile track that has a lot of banking in the corners which makes for some fast laps and multiple racing grooves. This is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit, because you normally see some great racing here.
Kevin Harvick: I am going to go with Kevin to win the first race of the second round and get himself qualified for the third round. He won the race here in May when he led over two-hundred laps in that race. He has been fast all season and this is the time to get himself back on track and back to the win column.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has three career wins here and has finished in the top two in his last three fall races at Dover. He also has finished in the top five in twelve of his twenty-seven starts at this track. I still think it is going to be difficult to knock out the top three in this round no matter if they win or not, but they don’t want to be taking that chance.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin has two wins at this track and is on a streak of four straight top five finishes here. In fact he hasn’t finished worse than eleventh in his last nine races at Dover. I really think we’re going to see each of the Big Three finish in the top five once again this weekend.
Chase Elliott: Chase is still very much in contention for the championship. This is one of his best tracks in the whole series. He has only run five races here, but in those five races he has four top five finishes and his worst finish here was a twelfth place finish which he pulled off earlier this year before they found some more speed, so I look for him to improve on that finishing position this weekend.
Kyle Larson: Kyle had one of the best if not the best car last week on the Roval at Charlotte before he was involved in a wreck on a late race restart. After that he needed help to advance and he got that help and now he needs to see if he can capitalize on the gift. In his nine starts at Dover he has seven top ten finishes and only one of those was outside the top eleven.
Brad Keselowski: Brad has been the hottest driver over the past month or so and could very easily have won the race last weekend in Charlotte. In his last five starts at Dover, Brad has finished in the top ten four times. A win in the first race of this round would be huge for this team by propelling them into the third round of the playoffs.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has an astounding eleven wins at this track in thirty-three starts. He is no longer in the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to win the rest of the races this year. I don’t know if they have found the speed they need yet or if they are going to try some different things with their setups as they prepare for next season, but you can’t count Jimmie out at this track.
Clint Bowyer: Clint finished second in the spring race here and has finished in the top ten fourteen times in his twenty-five starts here. He hasn’t always been on one of the top funded teams for his entire career, so that makes those stats a little more impressive. He hasn’t necessarily been running at his most consistent lately, but it only takes one win to make it to the next round.
Daniel Suarez: Once again, Daniel doesn’t have a lot of starts at Dover. In fact he only has three starts here, but in those three starts he has always finished in the top ten and started in the top ten. I thought he would run a little more consistently on the short flat tracks this season and he never really did much on those, but this might be the place where he shows us what he has.
Denny Hamlin: Denny has four top ten finishes in his last five starts here, but I’m not sure if he has what it takes at this point. Almost every week I thought he had a chance to win a race he never really ran well at all even if he qualified well and practiced well. I don’t think this team knows what they need to do with their adjustments as the race goes on and that takes them out of contention early in races.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Busch
Driver Group Game Group B
- Chase Elliott
- Clint Bowyer
- Aric Almirola
- Daniel Suarez
Driver Group Game Group C
- William Byron
- Chris Buescher
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Busch
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Chase Elliott
- Kyle Larson
Dark Horse: Daniel Suarez
Stay Away From: Ryan Blaney
Big 18: Chase Elliott