This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.
Location: Dover, Del.
Course: Dover International Speedway
Format: 1.0-mile oval
This week's Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway opens the next three-race elimination round in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series playoffs. Chase Elliott snagged his second road course win of the season last week in Charlotte, halting Martin Truex Jr.'s rampage of wins in the round of 16. This week the circuit returns to the site of the second win of Truex's season where he and Elliott dominated the afternoon. The pair led over 277 of that race's 400 laps and could face each other in a battle of supremacy again this week. Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota have each one in the last three races at the track, but Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing still look like the team everyone else is going to have to stop before Homestead. Eliminated in the round of 16 were Erik Jones, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Aric Almirola. Those four will be looking for redemption in the remaining races as they battle it out to be the best-of-the-rest in the final standings. Talladega is the next race in this round, which makes getting off to a great start at Dover this weekend all the more important before facing the uncertainty of a superspeedway.
Key Stats at Dover International Speedway
- Number of previous races: 99
- Winners from pole: 13
- Winners from top-5 starters: 56
- Winners from top-10 starters: 76
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
- Fastest race: 132.719 mph
Previous 10 Dover Winners
2019 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
2018 fall - Chase Elliott
2018 spring - Kevin Harvick
2017 fall - Kyle Busch
2017 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2016 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
2016 spring - Matt Kenseth
2015 fall - Kevin Harvick
2015 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2014 fall - Jeff Gordon
Dover's high banks, concrete surface and high speeds make for a tough challenge to start the round of 12. Track position is significant even though Truex proved that you could win despite starting in the rear earlier this season. He was sent to the back after failing pre-race inspection but moved through the field to be on top by the end of the second stage. The importance of stage points is also putting a focus on getting a good starting position as the championship battle grows even tighter. By starting up front drivers should have a better chance of finishing the first stage in the top 10, which Truex was unable to do earlier this season after his penalty. Every point matters as the championship field gets smaller. Chase Elliott was the pole sitter here in May and ended up finishing fourth and ninth in the two stages before ultimately finishing fifth. The tough nature of the track demands that drivers take care of their equipment and tires, but two-tire stops and pit strategy can help drivers move forward.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
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MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
The lower-risk lineup for Dover is a well-balanced roster full of drivers with consistent results at the circuit. Kevin Harvick has lost none of his speed since the playoffs began and is a two-time Dover winner with top-10 finishes in four of the last five. He will also start fourth on Sunday. Erik Jones may be out of the playoffs but was hard done by a mechanical issue and then a rules infraction. He was fourth and sixth in the two most recent Dover races and has a top-10 starting position, too. Alex Bowman's championship fight remains alive after hauling himself to another runner-up finish last week. He was runner-up here earlier this year and led 16 laps in that effort. Aric Almirola led 64 laps in this race last season and has finished 16th or better in four of his last five Dover visits. When talking about consistent Dover finishes fantasy players need not look further than Daniel Suarez. He finished 11th or better in every series start at the track and led 21 laps there earlier this season. Finishing out the lower-risk selections is Austin Dillon, who has two top-10s at the track including a seventh-place finish in this race last season.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
The two most recent race winners lead off the higher-risk Dover lineup and both have been fast enough to claim top-five starting positions on Sunday. Truex took two of the three races in the round of 16 while Elliott claimed the last. The pair have four Dover wins between them including the two most recent at the track. Jimmie Johnson is also no stranger to Victory Lane here. He is an 11-time winner at the track but has struggled recently. His last two races at the track did not produce top-10s but a 12th win at the circuit would be a great way to finish an otherwise disappointing season. Matt DiBenedetto and Chris Buescher have both secured jobs for next season and have been reliable performers at Dover recently, too. Buescher was 23rd this spring after starting 30th, while DiBenedetto was 20th. They both have been making regular appearances in the top-15 and better in the late summer months. Corey Lajoie takes the final slot. A top-20 would be an excellent result for him. He was 29th here in the spring and has been improving his average result at the track as well.