2012 NASCAR FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks
Dover International Speedway – Dover, Delaware
One Mile Oval – 24 degree banking turns, 9 degrees straights
Sunday, June 3, 2012, 12:30 PM Eastern, TV: Fox
Defending Champion: Matt Kenseth
All Odds Courtesy Of Bookmaker
NASCAR returns to Dover and the track known as the Monster Mile, due to it’s speed and wear and tear on the cars, engines, and tires. In 1995, Dover became the first all concrete track in NASCAR, and it’s white surface is always visually striking compared to the normal grey asphalt of other tracks.
Here is a look at the starting grid for the FedEx 400. Mark Martin won the pole and Jimmie Johnson completes the front row. Let’s take a look at the contenders and their odds to win courtesy of bookmaker.
Jimmie Johnson (3/1)
Johnson is 5th in points in the Race to the Chase, 48 points behind leader Greg Biffle. He has a win at Darlington, 5 top top 5’s, and 8 top 10’s in 12 races this season. Johnson finished 11th at the Coca Cola 600 last week in Cahrlotte. He has done well at Dover with 6 wins, 9 top 5’s and 14 top tens in 20 career starts at the Monster Mile. Besides two finishes in the 30’s early in his career Johnson has never finished lower than 16th at this track. He has top 10’s in 7 of his last 8 starts here including 3 wins and a runner up in the fall race here. Johnson qualified 2nd here, and barring engine problems or an accident should be there at the end.
Kyle Busch (5/1)
The younger Busch brother is 8th in points, 62 points behind first. He has a win at Richmond, along with 5 top 5’s and 7 top 10’s this season. Kyle has top 5’s in his last 4 races including a third at Charlotte last week. He has 2 wins at Dover, 7 top 5’s and 9 top 10’s in 14 career starts. He has 4 straight top 6’s at the Monster Mile, including a win in the spring race in 2010. Busch qualified 8th this week, right in front of his older brother Kurt. Busch is my pick to win his third Dover race.
Greg Biffle (8/1)
Biffle leads the points by 10 points over Matt Kenseth. He has a win at Texas, along with 7 top 5’s and 8 top 10’s. He hasn’t finished lower than 18th in any race this season, including a 4th place at Charlotte last week. Biffle qualified 7th this week. He has 2 wins, 6 top 5’s, and 10 top 10’s in 19 career starts at Dover. His last Monster Mile win came in 2008 but he has three straight 19th or worse finishes at the track. He should contend at the end barring something unforeseen.
Matt Kenseth (8/1)
Kenseth is second the points, 10 points behind Roush Fenway teammate Biffle. He has a win at the Daytona 500 along with 6 top 5’s and 8 top 10’s this season. He hasn’t finished lower than 22nd in any race this season. He hasn’t finished lower than 11th in the last 7 races, including 4 top 5’s. He finished 10th at Charlotte last week. Kenseth qualified 5th at Dover. He won this race last year, his second at the track. He also has 17 top 10’s including 12 top 5’s in 26 career starts at the track. He has 8 top 5’s in his last 10 starts at Dover.
Kasey Kahne (11/1)
Kasey Kahne is 15th in points 123 points behind Biffle. He won the Coke 600 last week, his first for Hendrick Motorsports. He started off the season with no finish higher than 14th in six races, but has 6 straight top 10 finishes to climb back in the points chase. He qualified 13th at Dover. He had his first top 5 finish at the track in the fall race last year. He has only 3 other top 10’s at the track. He might sneak into another top 10 finish, but I don’t see him being a factor at the end.
Kevin Harvick (11/1)
Harvick is 7th in points, 55 points behind. He doesn’t have a win this season, but does have 2 top 5’s and 6 top 10’s. He hasn’t finished lower than 25th in any race, and finished 8th at Charlotte last week. He qualified 6th for the Dover race. Harvick has never won at the Monster Mile, but does have 2 top fives and 9 top 10’s at the track. He has 3 straight top 10’s at the track. Harvick is very consistent but I don’t see him contending for the win at Dover. He might sneak into a top 10 as he does regularly regardless of the track.
Mark Martin (11/1)
The ageless wonder Martin is in his early 50’s but still has the talent to compete with drivers young enough to be his grandchildren. He isn’t driving a full schedule but does have a top 5 and 4 top 10’s in 9 starts this season. He won the pole for the Dover race. He has 4 wins, 23 top 5’s, and 31 top 10’s at Dover in 51 career starts. He hasn’t won at Dover since 2004, but was the runner up here in the spring race. No driver has won from the pole in 30 races, and I see that streak continuing.
Carl Edwards (12/1)
Edwards is 10th in points, 81 points down. He doesn’t have a win this season, but has 2 top 5’s and 8 top 10’s. He has two straight top 10’s including 8th place last week in Charlotte. Edwards qualified 19th for Dover. He has 1 win, 7 top 5’s and 11 top 10’s in 15 Dover starts. He has never finished lower than 18th at Dover, and has 11 straight 11th or better finishes, including his lone win in 2007. A top 10 is likely as he has 5 straight top 10’s at the track.
Denny Hamlin (12/1)
Hamlin is 3rd in points, 16 points behind Biffle. Hamlin has 2 wins this season at Phoenix and Kansas, along with 6 top 5’s and 7 top 10’s. He hasn’t finished lower than 23rd in any race this season. He has back to back runner-ups at Darlington and Charlotte. He qualified 10th at Dover. He has 2 top 5’s and 4 top 10’s in 12 career starts at the Monster Mile. I don’t think he will contend fro the win this week.
Jeff Gordon (15/1)
This appears to be a lost season for Gordon, who is 22nd in points, and 174 points behind Biffle. He is even 58 points behind Ryan Newman for the 12th and final Chase spot. He only has 1 top 5, and 3 top 10’s in 12 races this season. He finished 7th at Charlotte last week, but barely made up any ground. He qualified 14th at Dover. He has 4 wins, 14 top 5’s and 21 top 10’s in 38 career Dover starts. He has 5 straight 11th or worse finishes at the track, and hasn’t won since 2001. I don’t think Gordon will break out of his slump this week.
Other top drivers include Clint Bowyer (18/1), Tony Stewart (20/1), Brad Keselowski (20/1), Ryan Newman (20/1), Martin Truex, Jr. (23/1), and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (25/1). Here is a complete list of the odds for all drivers courtesy of bookmaker.
It should be an exciting race at the Monster Mile. It is also the last race of the season on Fox, as TV coverage switches to TNT for the next six races, and later to ESPN/ABC for the rest of the season. Hard to believe the race to the chase is almost half over.