The NASCAR Playoffs are fast approaching, and drivers on the cut line will scramble to make up ground during a doubleheader this weekend at Dover International Speedway. That’s well and good, but let’s to why you’re really here, NASCAR DFS!
Here’s everything to know about the track and the race before putting together a lineup for DraftKings (promo code SGP).
2019 (Spring): Martin Truex Jr.
2019 (Fall): Kyle Larson
2018 (Spring): Kevin Harvick
2018 (Fall): Chase Elliott
2017 (Spring): Jimmie Johnson
2017 (Fall): Kyle Busch
Dover International Speedway is one of the oldest tracks on the NASCAR schedule, first built in 1969 and has hosted two races a season every year since. The complex was built with both a 1 mile motor speedway, as well as a horse racing track (which can be seen in the middle of the picture above) and is operated by Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment. A casino and hotel is also present on site with over 2,000 slot machines, a poker room, a sports book and almost any form of table games one can imagine. For any gambling degenerates who are interested in attending a NASCAR race, all their needs could be met by going to this one.
The track layout hasn’t changed all that much since its inception, with the exception of the asphalt surface being replaced with concrete in 1995. Nicknamed the Monster Mile, the track features 24 degree banked turns along with 9 degree banked straightaways. The layout of the track creates a fast, exciting oval where daring passes can be made by competitors. It’s essentially a one mile version of Bristol Motor Speedway, and is definitely one of the more underrated tracks on the circuit.
Typically this track hosts one race in the spring and another in the fall during the NASCAR playoffs. Starting this year, its fall date was moved back in the calendar to this weekend. Due to the COVID pandemic, the spring race was cancelled and the track will host a dueling 311 lap doubleheader this weekend.
Other Race Notes
1. Like other similar layout tracks, the cars will utilize a 750 HP engine, high downforce package for both races this weekend. The tire package for the cars, however, is brand new for Dover. It’s a similar tire compound and suggested air pressure setting that was used at Darlington and Auto Club Speedway earlier this year. DFS players can look to those two tracks to try and draw correlations into what drivers should fare well this week.
2. By far the most successful driver at Dover International Speedway is Jimmie Johnson, whose results at the track are the stuff of legends. In 36 career starts at Dover, Johnson has won 11 times, finished inside the Top 10 25 times and led 3,110 laps. But his last four races haven’t been too kind to him, as he’s only led a combined 5 laps and has an average finish of 16.8. Johnson is currently on the outside looking in to the NASCAR playoffs, and if he wants one final run at a championship he’ll need to recapture some of his past magic at the track.
3. Though he’s very likely safe to at least make the playoffs, it’s getting harder and harder to see Kyle Busch turning things around anytime soon. DFS players continue to use him in lineups week after week thinking the light switch will go on, but he just can’t seem to get things going. The problems are two fold for Kyle Busch this season. First, there have been far too many on track and mechanical mistakes for the team, as he’s had eight finishes of 20th or worse so far this season. Second, even when he keeps his nose clean he doesn’t have difference making speed to be a serious contender to win a race. Only twice this season has Kyle Busch led over 50 laps in a single race. At this pace, a first round exit from the playoffs is likely unless he and the team can get things to click.
NASCAR DFS Picks
Denny Hamlin – $10,600: Dover isn’t one of Denny Hamlin’s best tracks, but he’s enjoyed a much better showing there in recent years. Since 2016, Hamlin has six Top 10 finishes in his last eight starts at Dover, and has led 233 laps in that stretch. He has a ton of momentum and has been one of the fastest cars in NASCAR this year, and he is in a great spot to win at Dover for the first time in his career.
Brad Keselowski – $10,400: Keselowski has been a favorite to use for DFS because of his great consistency and high floor. The last two races have not seen him show good finishes, however, but he should get a pass for an 11th at a brand new and funky Daytona Road Course and he was caught up in an unlucky accident at Michigan. Keselowski should get back on track with another solid finish.
Aric Almirola – $9,000: Almirola has quietly enjoyed a stellar season, and he has ten Top 10 finishes in his last 12 races. He also has raced well on the 1 mile tracks this year, with an average finish of 8.5 across Darlington, Phoenix and New Hampshire. Almirola starts 17th on Saturday and looks primed for another solid Top 10 finish.
Austin Dillon – $7,200: Dillon has been cleared to resume racing after his COVID diagnose kept him off the Daytona Road Course last week. Dillon starts 32nd in the field and has shown much more consistency with his finishes this season, which makes his $7,200 price tag a bit perplexing. Dillon has an average finish of 16.5 at Dover since 2017, and he should be in a good position to improve significantly from his starting spot.
Tyler Reddick – $6,500: Tyler Reddick has cooled off again, with poor performances at Michigan and the Daytona Road Course in his last three starts. Reddick has been really good on the 1 mile tracks this year, with three Top 15 finishes in four 1 mile track starts. Reddick is also on the outside looking into the playoffs this week, and he and his team should be highly motivated to scratch out a good finish.
Matt Kenseth – $6,300: It’s been a pretty disappointing showing for Matt Kenseth since he replaced Kyle Larson in the #42 earlier this year. But at the very least, he should have a very fast face car at Dover this weekend. Chip Ganassi cars have had a ton of success at Dover since 2017, with their cars posting eight Top 10’s across 12 attempts. Kenseth starts 26th on Saturday, and he’ll at least have the horsepower underneath the hood to move up the leaderboard.