Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview: FedEx 400

by Eric McClung on May 30, 2013 @ 14:26:54 PDT

 

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Featuring a high-banked concrete racing surface with wide corners and narrow straightaways, Dover International Speedway has earned its nickname: the Monster Mile. It is considered by drivers to be among the most difficult tracks to race on. It's a challenge to find a setup that will allow the car to handle well in multiple grooves, not just at the bottom. The wide turns allow drivers to stay in the throttle the entire time, so the speeds are quite fast for a race tracsk that is only one-mile long, making the physical demands of turning the car that more difficult.

Practice sessions: Friday, May 31, at 11:00 am EDT; Saturday, June 1, at 10:00 am EDT, 12:50 pm EDT
Qualifying: Friday, June 1 at 3:15 pm EDT
Race: Sunday, June 2 at 1:00 pm EDT
Location: Dover, Del.
Shape: Oval
Length: 1.0 mile
Laps: 400
Turns: 24 degrees
Straightaways: 9 degrees

Drivers to keep an eye on

Jimmie Johnson | No. 48 Lowe's/Monster University Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports

Managers in all formats should invest heavily in Johnson this week because no one driver owns Dover like "Six-Time" does. He's won Dover seven times in his career with four victories over the last four years. Since 2009, Johnson has held an average running position of at least third in all eight races, an extremely ridiculous streak. Of the 3,200 laps laid down across those eight events, Johnson led nearly 53 percent of them. His five straight top-10s at the site is the longest active streak in the series.

NASCAR driver Carl Edwards
Highest avg. finish at Dover

Carl Edwards | No. 99 Subway Ford | Roush Fenway Racing

The only driver at Dover with a better career average finish than the aforementioned Johnson at 8.6 is Edwards' 8.3. Edwards and his team missed the mark for this race last June but returned in the fall to record his third top-five in the last five years. Despite running so well at site over the bulk of his career, Edwards' only Dover victory came during the 2007 Chase.

Matt Kenseth | No. 20 Dollar General Toyota | Joe Gibbs Racing

Kenseth has been a top-five machine on the Monster Mile since winning the spring race in 2006. The move to JGR has already resulted in three wins this season and several near-misses, including last week's bad luck caution at Charlotte Motor Speedway where he led 112 laps. Kenseth has now led 85 or more laps in seven of the 12 races this season, including more than 110 in four of the last five. Back in 2011, he scored a pair of top-fives at Dover with a victory in the spring. Last year, Kenseth finished third in the spring but finished 35th in the fall following an equipment issue.

Clint Bowyer | No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota | Michael Waltrip Racing

After years of mediocrity at Dover, Bowyer broke through with a pair of top-10s in 2011. He only got better last year with MWR by qualifying on the first two rows each time. Bowyer finished a career-best fifth in the spring with an average running position of sixth. He ran fifth in the Chase event before finishing ninth to give him four consecutive top-10s at the site.

Kevin Harvick | No. 29 Jimmy John's Chevrolet | Richard Childress Racing

Over the last four races of the season, Harvick has recorded two wins and three top-fives. In fact, he's been a safe bet on every track this season aside from crashing at each of the restrictor plate tracks. Harvick owns seven straight top-15 finishes at Dover, although he doesn't have the same sterling resume some of the other top-ranked drivers possess. If Harvick looks good in practice, he's a nice change-of-pace selection and could be a bit undervalued by comparison.

Brad Keselowski | No. 2 Miller Lite Ford | Penske Championship Racing

A return trip to Dover could get Keselowski back on track. After five pretty solid runs at the site, the Blue Deuce captured last year's fall race en route to the Cup championship. Keselowski held an average running position of fifth and never dropped below 11th at any point in the race. The return of crew chief Paul Wolfe should provide a big boost to Keselowski's chances to recover quickly from last week's crash at Charlotte.

Whose outlook isn't as bright?

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About Eric McClung

Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a two-time award finalist. He's also made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts.

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