Here are five NASCAR drivers to watch as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway for the Gander RV 400.
The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Dover International Speedway for the 11th race in the 2019 NASCAR season. This will be the third race at a short track in the last four NASCAR race weekends.
At Richmond Raceway, four of our five drivers finished inside the top-8. Heading into Dover International Speedway, will Kyle Busch win for a fourth time this season? Will someone snap their winless streak? Will a Hendrick Motorsports or Stewart-Haas Racing driver find victory lane?
Here are five drivers to keep any eye on this weekend to see how they perform at Dover International Speedway.
In the last four races at Dover International Speedway, Elliott has the best average finish, 5.0, among all drivers.
Elliott is the last driver to win at Dover, leading just 11 laps last fall en route to the victory. Elliott has finished worse than fifth just once in the last four races and has led a total of 149 laps.
Elliott is coming off of a win last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, his first of the season. He could use that momentum as he visits Dover, one of his best tracks statistically.
Harvick has led the most laps, 487, of all drivers at Dover International Speedway in the last four races. All of those laps have come in the last two races where he’s led more than 200 laps in each.
Harvick is the defending race winner has only finished worse than ninth once in the last four races.
“For me, the thing I love about Dover is just the fact that it’s hammer down and you’re up on top of the wheel for 400 laps there,” said Harvick in his pre-race release. “It’s violent. Everything about Dover is violent. It’s fast.
“You can just be aggressive with the car and you have to get in there and wrestle that thing all day because it’s bumpy, slings you up out of the corners, dumps you down in the corners, and there’s just a lot going on.”
“The car is bouncing around a lot and, with as rough as the cars have been just as the ride goes, we are in for a rough ride when we get to Dover this weekend. It’s one of my favorite racetracks to go and race on.”
Martin Truex Jr.
Truex Jr. is the only other driver besides Elliott to have three top-5 finishes in the last four races at Dover. During that span he’s led a total of 153 laps.
Truex Jr. hasn’t led a lap at Dover since 2017 and his last finish was a 15th in the fall. However, this is one of Truex Jr.’s best tracks statistically and he should still be a threat in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Larson has the fourth best average finish, 7.2, among drivers at Dover International Speedway. He’s led 378 laps during that timeframe but those laps were all led in 2017 when he finished inside the top-5 in both races.
Larson’s worst finish in the last four races at Dover is 12th and comes into the weekend needing a strong run. The struggles of Larson and the No. 42 team have been evident all season long. This is one of Larson’s best tracks and a top-5 finish could be the jolt this team needs.
Quietly, Suarez has the third best average finish, 6.8, in the last four races at Dover International Speedway. Now behind the wheel of the No. 41 for Stewart-Haas Racing, his success at Dover should continue.
Suarez is the only driver to finish inside the top-10 in the last four races at Dover. He currently sits inside the NASCAR playoffs and has his sights set on a playoff berth.
“We just have to be competitive and up front,” said Suarez in his pre-race team release.
“I don’t want to get a lucky win and be lucky in the playoffs and then just put my arms down a little bit. I want to be competitive, up front and be racing hard, and if we can do that, the win will come.”
“I feel like we are moving in the right direction and I have really great teammates. We are seeing a different team now than what we were seeing a month and a half ago, and I feel like a month and a half from now we’ll be even better.”
Follow Matt on Twitter @mattlovisa.