TOP TEN DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

 

RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS

  1. JOEY LOGANO #22
  2. DARRELL WALLACE #43
  3. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  4. ARIC ALMIROLA #10
  5. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  6. KURT BUSCH #41
  7. PAUL MENARD #21
  8. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  9. KYLE BUSCH #18
  10. A. J. ALLMENDINGER #47

 

Top 10 on Restrictor Plate tracks, Wednesday look for our Top 10 Teams, Thursday look for our Top 30 rankings for Sunday’s 1000BULBS.COM 500 from Talladega Super Speedway.

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RACE PREVIEW

TL 18.2

1000BULBS.COM 500

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY

Oct 14, 2:00 PM CHARLOTTE TIME on NBC TV

2.66 Miles 33 Degrees of Banking

Playoff Race #5

Ever since the last lap at the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona drivers have had this date circled on their calendars and etched in their minds. Talladega Superspeedway is the fifth race in the Playoffs for the Monster Cup and the last of four restrictor plate races for the year. A restrictor plate regulates how much air gets into an engine and therefore restricts or limits how fast it can go. They are only used at two tracks: here and Daytona. Team Penske has the most wins in the last ten years with seven victories. In fact those seven victories all came in the last six years. Team Penske partner Ford has nine total victories or 75% of the races here in the last six years. Right now with a victory at Dover only Chase Elliott, is locked into the field of eight drivers and will be in the Playoffs all the way to Phoenix. The next race will be a little easier for him. Drivers fear these races because it forces them to run very close together because the speeds are limited. This is the biggest track on the circuit and that often times leads to the biggest wrecks at any track. Drivers are all waiting for “The Big One” – a wreck that can take out one car or quite possibly half the field. When the cars get bunched up like they do here it only takes one car getting loose to start a huge chain reaction pile up. With only five races left in the Playoffs no one wants to get caught up in someone else’s mistake or misfortune. Many times drivers who know each other will move thru traffic on the track together, nose to tail -“drafting” – and with a championship just four races away it will be interesting to see if old alliances stay intact due to team loyalties or if new ones are formed with drivers wanting to hook up with others they think can take them farther. And remember a win locks you into the Playoffs all the way to Phoenix. Will Ford’s recent dominance here continue? We’ll know on Sunday.

Tuesday look for our Top 10 Drivers by on restrictor plate tracks like Talladega.

TOP FIVE DRIVERS TO WATCH

GANDER OUTDOORS 400

My #5 driver is the hottest driver right now, #2 Brad Keselowski. Brad comes into the First State with 17 starts, one win and five Top 5’s. Brad’s win came here in the spring race last of 2015. He is rated #6 for me on tracks like this. Brad looked great at Charlotte last week until he didn’t, don’t look for that to happen here.

My #4 driver is the most recent winner here, #4 Kevin Harvick. Kevin also has horrible stats here. He has 35 starts, two wins- one in June and the other in this race in 2015 and just six Top 5’s. He is #2 rated at tracks like this and he is #6 hottest over the last six weeks.  

My #3 driver is has the highest average finish here, #42 Kyle Larson. Kyle has nine starts at the Monster Mile, no wins and four Top 5’s (44%). Seven of his starts were Top 10’s one of the reasons he is #1 in average finish here. At 10th place in points he needs three big finishes or a win in the next three races to stay in the Playoffs.

The #2 pick doesn’t have many starts here, #9 Chase Elliott. Chase comes into the Monster Mile with just five starts, no wins and four Top 5’s – 80%! Chase is #5 hottest over the last six weeks and just like Kyle Larson, if he wants to remain in the playoffs he needs to turn up the heat. Since his team Hendrick Motorsports have won 45% of the races here in the last 10 years and their motor shop has won 55% there is nowhere better than here.

The #1 pick almost got a huge win Sunday in Charlotte, #78 Martin Truex Jr. Here at the Monster Mile Martin seems to have finally figured out the code to beat the Monster. He was Top 5 in his last four straight starts here including a win in this race in 2016. He got that win in 25 starts with just five Top 5’s. He is #1 rated for me on the intermediate tracks and is #5 hottest over the last six weeks.    

Monday look for our preview of the 1000LightBulbs.com 500 from Talladega.

 

TOP 30 DRIVERS

GANDER OUTDOORS 400 from DOVER INT SPEEDWAY

 

  1. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  2. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  3. KYLE LARSON #42
  4. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  5. BRAD KESELOWSKI # 2
  6. KYLE BUSCH #18
  7. DANIEL SUAREZ #19
  8. JOEY LOGANO #22
  9. KURT BUSCH #41
  10. MATT KENSETH #6
  11. ERIK JONES #20
  12. CLINT BOWYER #14
  13. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  14. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  15. ARIC ALMIROLA #10
  16. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  17. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  18. RYAN BLANEY #12
  19. AUSTIN DILLON #3
  20. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  21. WILLIAM BYRON #24
  22. ALEX BOWMAN #88
  23. CHRIS BUESCHER #37
  24. A. J. ALLMENDINGER#47
  25. MICHAEL MCDOWELL #34
  26. PAUL MENARD #21
  27. TY DILLON #13
  28. DAVID RAGAN #38
  29. DARRELL WALLACE #43
  30. REGAN SMITH #95

 

 

 

Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers to watch.

TOP TEN TEAMS

TOP 10 TEAMS POST CHARLOTTE

  1. TEAM PENSKE (LW #2)
  2. STEWART HAAS RACING (LW #1)
  3. JOE GIBBS RACING (LW #3)
  4. FURNITURE ROW RACING (LW #4)
  5. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS (LW #5)
  6. CHIP GANASSI RACING (LW #7)
  7. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING (LW #6)
  8. WOOD BROTHERS RACING (LW #8)
  9. JTG RACING (LW #9)
  10. FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS (LW #OFF)

 

After five weeks straight in the #1 spot Stewart Haas Racing drops to #2. Team Penske got a big win from #12 Ryan Blaney in Charlotte and helps them into the #1 spot. Joe Gibbs Racing hold in the #3 place. Furniture Row Racing stay in place at #4. Hendrick Motorsports remain at #5 and stay in the Top 5 again this week. Chip Ganassi Racing move up a place to #6. Richard Childress Racing drop back one place to #7. Wood Brothers Racing and JTG Racing stay in place this week. We lose Roush Fenway Racing from the Top Ten and welcome Front Row Motorsports into the Top Ten at #10.

 

These are the Top 10 Teams, Thursday look for our Top 30 drivers at Dover.

TOP TEN DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: INTERMEDIATE TRACKS

  1. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  2. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  3. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  4. MATT KENSETH #6
  5. KYLE BUSCH #18
  6. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  7. KURT BUSCH #41
  8. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  9. JOEY LOGANO #22
  10. ERIK JONES #20

Top 10 drivers on Intermediate tracks, Wednesday look for our Top 10 teams ranked and Thursday look for our Top 30 driver rankings for Sunday’s GANDER OUTDOORS 400 from Dover Int. Speedway.

RACE PREVIEW

dov 18.2

DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

GANDER OUTDOORS 400

October 7th 2:00PM NBCSN TV

1 mile, 24 Degrees of Banking

PLAYOFF RACE #4

Coming out of Charlotte and the very first race on the Roval it is hard to maintain that same level of excitement and trepidation of Charlotte, but the Monster Mile at Dover comes pretty close. It is comforting to be back on an oval even here where the banking is high and things can happen very quickly. The sight lines are amazing in Dover. Just about wherever you sit you have a great view of the track. There is never a dull moment at the Monster Mile and the drama surrounding the Playoffs only adds to it. We saw four drivers get eliminated at Charlotte  #48 Jimmie Johnson, #3 Austin Dillon, #11 Denny Hamlin and #20 Erik Jones. That just leaves us with a dozen drivers and just six teams represented down from seven. Twelve drivers now know that in three races another three will be eliminated. Wins are one sure way to lock in to the next round leaving you safe in the knowledge you are good all the way to Phoenix. Who does well here? Hendrick Motorsports has won nine races here in the past ten years (45%) including five of the last ten races. If you look at the Hendrick Motor Shop that is 11 wins in the last ten years (55%). Earlier in the year Kevin Harvick won here in a Stewart Haas Ford, the first Ford win since 2011. The defending champion of the race is #18 Kyle Busch who drove a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Hendrick Motorsports have yet to get an oval win with any of their four drivers this year. Can HMS regain their dominance? We’ll find out Sunday.

Tuesday look for our Top 10 Drivers by track type for Sunday’s GANDER OUTDOORS 400 from Dover.