Brief Playoff overview: the first three races will taper the 16 eligible playoff drivers down to 12. The next three races bring the field down to 8. Three more races will bring it to the final four who have one race at Homestead-Miami to decide who the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series Champion will be.
We have moved from 16 to 12 and Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Jimmy Johnson are out of the playoffs.
Race: Gander Outdoors 400
Date: October 7th
Venue: Dover International Speedway
2017 Winner: Kyle Busch (3:05:48)
Broadcast: NBCSN (Rick Allen, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Steve Letarte)
Most Race Wins: Jimmie Johnson (5)
Dover International Speedway. Opened in 1969, the “Monster Mile” 1 mile oval concrete track has 24 degrees banking on the turns and 9 degrees on the straightway. This is the third Concrete track that racers face after Martinsville and Bristol. The oils that hold Asphalt together grow more liquid during races meaning that there is more adhesive friction through straightway and turns but less abrasive friction which is where Concrete courses excel. Essentially on a Concrete course if you lose your grip you lose all grip vs. Asphalt you can regain your grip as you drift and sway. Control is very important on Concrete tracks.
1.) Martin Truex Jr (7th selection this year). Fresh off two wrecks down the stretch at Charlotte you could tell Martin wanted it bad and was pushing hard. He comes to Dover where he has seven consecutive top ten finishes sitting in third place in the Monster Energy Cup Standings. He’s my favorite to win this weekend.
2.) Kevin Harvick (6th selection this year). He won here earlier this year, he is fresh off back to back top ten finishes and he has top ten finishes at six of the last seven concrete tracks.
High Risk/High Reward
3.) Chase Elliott (5th selection this year). It’s been a minute since I picked Chase but fresh off a 6th place finish at Charlotte where Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. crashed with seven laps to go taking out a number of cars and fresh off a 4th place finish the week before that Chase comes to Dover where he has finished 12th or better each of the last three times here.
4.) Kyle Larson (8th selection this year). Here is a list of how Kyle fared after races where some “turmoil” occurred this season: 2nd, 10th, 14th, 6th. He rebounds well when it happens and I think the same happens at Dover where he has four consecutive top 10 finishes coming into this weekend.
This is just awesome racing!— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) September 30, 2018
Kyle Larson battles with Brad Keselowski for the lead at the ROVAL. pic.twitter.com/zNxUXnmveq
5.) Daniel Suarez (4th selection this year). 8th. 6th. 3rd. That’s his results from the last three races at Dover, each one getting a little better. He is on the outskirts of the playoff race and yet he has finished in the top 20 in two of the three playoff races. I’m expecting a top ten finish from him at Dover.
Favorites: avg finish 11th (29th percentile)
High Risk/Reward: avg finish 16th place (42nd percentile)
Dark Horse: avg finish 18th place (48th percentile)
The rules I have implemented for myself are:
- I will not pick a driver more than 10 times this season.
- Due to #1 these are “Power Rankings” (in quotations) I’m looking for value here.
My general format for my power rankings:
- Top 2 picks will generally be the favorites, the ones who should be top 5 or top 10 finished
- #3 and #4 will be your riskier picks, could be top 5 or bottom 15.
- Pick #5 is the dark horse.