After 500 miles around the biggest and fastest track in stock car racing last weekend at Talladega, another menacing circuit awaits NASCAR Cup Series drivers. This time it’s a monster outright – a mile-long, tall concrete monster that punishes gear and likes nothing more than to chew up the car and driver.
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Monster Mile for the 11th race of the 2022 season, the DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway. One of the most notorious tracks on the program, Dover has long been known to be a physically and mentally taxing race track. With nine degrees of bank on the straights and 24 degrees on the corners, Dover keeps a driver on edge lap after lap, because a single mistake could mean satisfying Miles the Monster’s appetite for carnage.
How to watch the NASCAR Cup Series at Dover
Date: Sunday May 1
Location: Dover Motor Speedway–Dover, Delaware
Weather: 3 p.m. ET
Flow: fuboTV (try for free)
What to watch
- With 10 races now on the books, many started looking at the win tally after Ross Chastain became the second repeat winner of the season last week at Talladega. Less publicized was the regular season championship points standings, where Chase Elliott began to pull a gap on the competition.
Elliott currently leads the points standings by 21 points over Ryan Blaney, a gap he built up through an exceptional level of consistency early in the season. In 10 races, Elliott has seven top 10s, only one worse than 14th and none outside the top 15 since Fontana in February.
What the 2020 Cup Series champion is missing, however, is a win. Elliott is currently the only Hendrick Motorsports driver not to visit Victory Lane this season, and he hasn’t won a Cup race since last July at Road America. Dover presents a good opportunity for Elliott to get his first win of 2022, as he did at the Monster Mile in the fall of 2018.
- Three of the four winning Hendrick drivers this season underscore one of Dover’s key trends. Since 2013, Dover’s Victory Lane has been dominated by three different racing teams, Hendrick Motorsports leading the way with seven wins, Joe Gibbs Racing has won five times and Stewart-Haas Racing has four wins.
Given this, Dover presents a major litmus test of the extent to which the Next Gen car has altered the competitive balance of the Cup Series. While Hendrick Motorsports leads all teams with four wins this season, the traditional peloton at the front of the pack has been disrupted by upstart Trackhouse Racing, who tied Joe Gibbs Racing last week for the second-most wins. wins for all teams this season. Team Penske and Stewart-Haas also visited Victory Lane, while organizations such as Richard Childress Racing, RFK Racing and 23XI Racing battled it out for victories.
- As mentioned earlier, Chase Elliott is looking to break into the win column for the first time this season. But he’s not the only contender looking for his first win of the season.
Ryan Blaney, who currently sits second in the standings, is on a list of notables alongside Elliott who are yet to win a race this season. This list includes a number of Cup veterans, such as Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick. Tyler Reddick, who has already missed out on his first Cup win in multiple heartbreakers this year, is yet to pick up a win. And of the 16 different drivers who won a race last season, 11 are yet to claim their first victory of 2022.
While drivers who have won at Dover in the past tend to win there again, there is precedent to suggest that this track may serve as a site for some drivers to return to the winner’s circle. The last driver to complete a winless streak at Dover was Kyle Larson, who ended a winless streak that had lasted more than two years with a victory in 2019. The last time Dover saw a first winner was c t was in the spring of 2007 when Martin Truex Jr. claimed his first Cup victory.
Choose to win
(Rating via Caesars Sportsbook)
Alex Bowman (+1000): Something important to remember about Dover is that because it has a concrete surface, the track generally does not age dramatically or change characteristics from year to year. So, in principle, drivers who become familiar with Dover and teams who move to Dover tend to compete for victories at this track year after year – as evidenced by Jimmie Johnson who has won 12 times at this track.
Even before joining Hendrick Motorsports full time, Alex Bowman always showed a sense for Dover. And from 2019, Bowman has three top-five finishes at Dover to go along with his victory in that race last year. While the Next Gen car changes things up when it comes to team setups and determines what makes The Monster Mile work, odds are good that Alex Bowman could take back-to-back wins at this track.