The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Cars will be on the track Friday morning for practice; Coors Light Pole Qualifying follows that afternoon.
ELITE TIER: $10,000 and up
Jimmie Johnson ($10,600)
Dover: 30 starts, 10 wins, 15 top fives (50 percent), 21 top 10s (70 percent)
Average finish at Dover: 9.5
Johnson has won four of the last 10 races held at Dover, his best track. He has 10 total wins, an all-time record along with 3,093 laps led. In three of those victories, he led over 240 laps.
In this race last year, Johnson was running inside the top 10 when he was involved in an 18-car wreck before the No. 48 could make a push to the front. He still managed to finish 25th. In the fall Dover race, he led 90 laps and wound up seventh.
Johnson has led laps in 27 out of his 30 starts at Dover, earning an average finish of 9.5. His starting position has not played a factor in how well the No. 48 runs on race day, so focus more on practice times than qualifying.
Kyle Larson ($10,300)
Dover:six starts, two top fives (33.3 percent), four top 10s (66.7 percent)
Average finish at Dover:9.3
Last week was a disappointment for Larson. First, he failed to pass pre-qualifying inspection at Charlotte and had to start the race from 39th. Then, he clipped the wall not once, but twice on Sunday. That second hit ended his day. After all was said and done, Larson lost his points lead and dropped to second in the standings.
But Dover offers a chance for redemption. Larson was the runner-up in this race last season, leading 85 laps. He was running down Matt Kenseth for the win, but simply ran out of laps. With four top-10 finishes in six Dover starts, he remains one of the favorites to pick up the win on Sunday.
Brad Keselowski ($10,000)
Dover: 14 starts, one win, five top fives (35.7 percent), six top 10s (42.9 percent)
Average finish at Dover: 12.1
Keselowski has an average finish of 9.7 in the last 10 Dover races. He finished sixth in this race last season while leading 49 laps, and then ran fourth after starting from the pole last fall.
Keselowski will be looking to bounce back after his race ended prematurely last weekend in a bizarre wreck with Chase Elliott. Elliott’s car caught fire on the track after being damaged by debris, and as he was slowing down, Keselowski drove into the back of him at near full speed. He finished 39th, his worst result of the season.
ALL-STAR TIER: $8,000 – $9,900
Martin Truex Jr. ($9,900)
Dover: 22 starts, two wins, two top fives (9.1 pecent), 11 top 10s (50 percent)
Average finish at Dover: 14.2
Dover is Truex’s hometown track, a place where he has two career wins. One of those came in the fall race last season. He started on the outside of row one and led 187 laps.
Truex has five top-10 finishes in the last six Dover races and is the hottest driver on the circuit. He snagged the points lead with a third-place finish last weekend at Charlotte, leading 233 laps in yet another dominant Charlotte performance. If he can duplicate that success for another week, he'll wind up in Victory Lane and can extend his lead over Larson.
Chase Elliott ($9,600)
Dover: two starts, two third place finishes
Average finish at Dover: 3.0
In both of Elliott's third-place finishes, he finished ahead of his starting position. He started 13th in the spring race, and started ninth in the fall race.
He is currently on a three-race skid. His best finish within the past four races is 24th back at Richmond in week nine. On the bright side, his poor finishes at Talladega and Charlotte were a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Elliott has done well on short tracks this season with finishes of third at Martinsville, seventh at Bristol. Even though his Dover resume is small, it is impressive, and should give hope for Chase to recover from his recent struggles.
Joey Logano ($9,200)
Dover: 16 starts, three top fives (18.8 percent), 10 top 10s (62.5 percent)
Average finish at Dover: 13.4
Logano struggled at Dover over the first three years of his career, but has come around over the past 10 races. He has eight top-10 finishes over that span, and his worst performance is 22nd in the spring Dover race last season.
Since winning at Richmond, Logano has wrecked out of two of the last three races. Luckily for DraftKings players, Logano is the most consistent driver in recent Dover history. After some tough luck during the month of May, he is arguably the best bet at a top-10 finish this week.
BARGAIN TIER: $4,500 – $7,900
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($7,800)
Dover: 33 starts, one win, seven top fives (21.2 percent), 12 top 10s (36.4 percent)
Average finish at Dover: 16.2
Earnhardt was another driver caught in the big wreck last spring at Dover. He finished 32nd. Before that race, his worst result in the past 10 Dover races was a 17th-place finish in 2014. He ended up third here in 2015, the closest he's come to Victory Lane.
Junior kept it clean and finished 10th at Charlotte last weekend. His 2017 season has been all about getting comfortable again in a race car, and at Charlotte he looked to be back in form.
Earnhardt’s DraftKings salary has reached bargain tier levels, which has high upside potential at a track where he is averaging just shy of a top 15. If Earnhardt can continue to build upon his solid finish, he could be a big value play.
Kasey Kahne ($7,700)
Dover: 26 starts, three top fives (11.5 percent), eight top 10s (30.8 percent)
Average finish at Dover: 18.7
Kahne has not had the best week. He crashed out of last week’s Charlotte race, and then it was revealed that he will be losing a second primary sponsor following this season. Kahne’s Hendrick Motorsports career has had its ups and downs, but it seems like it has been more on the downside the past couple seasons.
There's one statistic, though which doesn’t show on that box score: motivation. Kahne has a chip on his shoulder to prove that he belongs at Hendrick and Dover has been kind to him over the past 10 races. The No. 5 team has an average finish of 12.5 and earned three top-10 finishes in the past four races. Events like these could be key moments going forward, playing a major role in how his career path goes after this season. Kahne has to capitalize on his best tracks.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,600)
Dover: nine starts, one top 10 (11 percent), five top 15s (55 percent)
Average finish at Dover: 19.1
Stenhouse is having by far his best season to date. He is on a seven race top-15 streak, which of course includes his win at Talladega. Also included is a fourth-place performance at Richmond. Ricky has become a near lock for a top-half finish as a result.
Speaking of top 15s, Ricky has three straight at Dover. He notched a career best eighth in 2015 and then followed up with runs of 14th and 11th a season ago.
Stenhouse has locked himself into the playoffs, which allows the veteran to drive more aggressively with less consequence. He is already an incredibly aggressive driver, and 2017 has found him more ways to impress both on the track and on DraftKings.
(Photo by ASP Inc.)