Over the last month NASCAR has seen some similar characteristics with all their races. Since the return to racing following the Easter holiday, all the races have been run under the lights, including the first night race at Kansas. Three of the four tracks were over a mile in length, with the lone exception being Richmond. It's been a common denominator in competition, but now things go back to more of a normal setting by the competition standards.
This weekend, it's back to running on a Sunday afternoon underneath the bright skies and sunshine. But the biggest difference compared to the last few weeks is not just the track, but the track surface.
The asphalt of Richmond, Kansas, Darlington and Charlotte all are sensitive to heat, but this weekend instead of being on blacktop, it's white and difficult. Only two tracks on the circuit can claim they don't run on asphalt. Instead, it's a white top of concrete. NASCAR already ran Bristol, and will again come August. This weekend, it's a one-mile track which can bite in an instant, and then can take out many cars like a big wreck on a restrictor plate track.
Welcome to the "Monster Mile" at Dover.
This track is a challenge for many, but some seem to have figured out how to get around this place better than others. Certainly makes every writer a bit nervous when choosing a winner. But, they have done that and there's no turning back. Here's who they've chosen to win the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks:
Misan Akuya: Jimmie Johnson
Just won the Coca Cola 600. Has eight wins here. The only team that can beat the 48 is the 48.
Rob Blount: Matt Kenseth
The popular pick is Jimmie Johnson, of course, but Kenseth is very strong at Dover. As strong as Johnson? No. But nobody is. But following a strong run in the Coca-Cola 600 Kenseth seems poised to break into victory lane. And Dover is a great place for him to do it.
James Broomhead: Matt Kenseth
Billy Fellin: Jimmie Johnson
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Kara Martin: Jimmie Johnson
Ryan O'Hara: Jimmie Johnson
Momentum is his now.
Dustin Parks: Kyle Busch
My mind is saying take Jimmie, so is everyone else. But, in order to get another win, I can't just follow the pack, so I'm going with another guy that is very strong at Dover, and is very aggressive at the wheel. You have to be at this place, so that's why I'm going with the Peanut Butter M&M's Toyota.
Patti Rodisch: Jimmie Johnson
Although he has a win now and we are heading to one of his best tracks I am still not sold on this team. They weren't very good in the All Star race and if not for the notes and data they got from their teammate, admittedly I am not sure if Johnson would have won the race on Sunday night. That being said Dover is Johnson's best track.
Johnson will go for two in a row and hope to solidify his spot in the Chase on Sunday.
Aaron Rosser: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Sal Sigala Jr: Jimmie Johnson
Rob Tiongson: Jeff Gordon
Why not? This 24 bunch has been tough, really fast off the truck, and I see their momentum and strong start to the season continuing at Dover this weekend. I see win number five at this track happening on Sunday!
Standings after Charlotte:
Dustin Parks (438) Jimmie Johnson WON - 2
Kara Martin (437) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd - 2
Ryan O'Hara (413) Joey Logano finished 12th - 3
Michael Hirshbein (408) Kyle Busch finished 9th - 1
Sal Sigala Jr (402) Jimmie Johnson WON - 4
Rob Tiongson (396) Jeff Gordon finished 7th - 2
Patti Rodisch (377) Jeff Gordon finished 7th - 1
Rob Blount (372) Joey Logano finished 12th - 1
Billy Fellin (371) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd - 0
Aaron Rosser (357) Kasey Kahne finished 14th - 1
Misan Akuya (338) Jamie McMurray finished 5th - 0
James Broomhead (327) Jimmie Johnson WON - 2
Final Remarks: This track has a reputation for taking out many cars like a wreck at Talladega, have speeds similar to that of Bristol, and have the tight corners like those at Richmond. Not to mention the self-cleaning surface that even when a wreck is done seems to take out more cars in the clean-up. It is a monster of a track, and 400 laps here are no easy task.
What is it going to take to beat this beast? Find out at 12:30 p.m. ET as for the final time this season, FOX carries the broadcast.
Summary of Picks:
Dale Earnhardt Jr-1