It’s another doubleheader weekend for the NASCAR Cup Series with a pair of races scheduled
for Dover International Speedway. Saturday and Sunday’s events set the stage for the following week’s return to Daytona International Speedway to close out the regular season.
Dover gets the twin bill to make up for the track’s first scheduled race in May, which was
postponed due to COVID-19. It sets up a grueling couple of days for drivers and teams, who will compete in two races totaling 622 miles this weekend.
Dover is a 1-mile, high-banked concrete track known as the “Monster Mile” because of its
reputation for high speeds and potential for wrecked racecars. As was proven last season, the
change in the rules package impacted the on-track competition. Higher speeds despite lower
horsepower because of the downforce created by aerodynamic changes was a challenge for drivers forced to recalibrate the best way to race around the demanding track.
The shorter distance in each race compared with the traditional 400-mile Dover affairs will also play a role in strategy. Fuel mileage and more importantly tire wear on the concrete surface, which chews up and spits out rubber in only a handful of laps, will keep crew chiefs on their toes trying to adjust accordingly.
Here are the favorites in this weekend’s back-to-back Dover races:
MARTIN TRUEX JR.
He set a NASCAR Cup Series record last week at the Daytona road course with his fifth straight
third-place finish. If Truex and his crew can stop shooting themselves in the foot with pit-road mistakes and penalties, he’ll contend for a second championship. Dover is the New Jersey native’s home track and has been quite good there in recent outings with a pair of wins over the last seven races and only one finish outside the top five in that span.
He rolls into Dover fresh off his Daytona road-course win and looks to build end-of-season momentum heading into the playoffs. Elliott has the second-best Dover average finish of 8.6, right behind Truex, over the last 10 races at the track. He won in 2018 at the track and has six top-5 finishes in only eight career starts there.
The series leader in victories with six has always been a strong presence at Dover. Harvick
comes into the weekend with four straight top-10 Dover finishes, three of which were inside
the top 5, including a trip to Victory Lane in spring 2018.
Hamlin has finished first or second in 10 of this year’s 23 races, with his latest runner-up
performance coming last week at Daytona. It doesn’t matter where the schedule takes the
series in 2020, Hamlin is a contender, and Dover should be no different. He has three top-10
runs in the last four Dover races, including a fifth in 2019.