Posted by Matt Lovisa – follow on Twitter @mattlovisa
September 29, 2016
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is headed to Dover International Speedway for the Citizen Solider 400. This will be the third round of NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, and the final race in the Round of 16, where four drivers will be eliminated from contention. Let’s take a look at Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott and Carl Edwards heading into Dover.
Let’s get the easiest explanation out of the way first. Harvick won at New Hampshire and advances to the Round of 12 no matter what happens at Dover. Easy, right?
After a season where we didn’t see Harvick live up to his “Closer” reputation, Harvick sure did close out the race at New Hampshire by leading when it mattered. Now Harvick and his team can focus on the next round of the Chase, which features Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega.
Chase Elliott heads to Dover with a 16 point cushion on 13th place Jamie McMurray. As one of the three drivers to make the Chase on points alone, Elliott sits ahead of the other two in 9th place in the standings.
At Dover in May Elliott finished third and challenged for the win late as he battled Matt Kenseth and Kyle Larson. His third place finish kept his streak alive of finishing inside the top-ten in all six of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Dover.
Elliott will need another strong run and a finish of 10th or better to clinch his spot in the next round.
Carl Edwards heads to Dover tied with Chase Elliott on points. This means he also needs to finish 10th or better to clinch his spot outright or 15th or better if the winner is from inside the top 12 in points.
Edwards knows he can’t make any mistakes at Dover. That is difficult to do at a track known as the “Monster Mile.” Edwards was caught up in an early wreck in the May race at Dover, resulting in a 28th place finish.
Edwards needs to rekindle some of his previous magic at Dover, like in 2007 when he last won there. But first, Edwards will have to crack the top-ten, something he hasn’t done since 2012. Edwards knows he has an uphill battle ahead of him, but it would be foolish to count out a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota before the weekend is even underway.