The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Monster Mile at Dover Motor Speedway in Dover, Delaware for Sunday's Würth 400. The track has favored Chevrolet as of late, and historically it has been like Hendrick Motorsports' playground.
However, Toyota has been the biggest competitor, with Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. also having won in the last five visits to the track. Here are some drivers to keep an eye on for Sunday.
Chase Elliott won the 2022 Dover race after the likes of Hamlin and Truex had troubles there. NASCAR's most popular driver will be making his third start since returning from the snowboarding accident that sidelined him for six weeks. And, what better track to possibly contend for a win at than Dover, where he has two victories in his Cup career?
Since 2021, Hendrick Motorsports has had all four of its drivers be in contention for a win at the Monster Mile, including the 2021 Drydene 400 that saw them finish first through fourth. Alex Bowman went to victory lane on that day. You have to also take into account that HMS' two greatest drivers, Jeff Gordon (five Dover wins) and Jimmie Johnson (11 Dover wins), both dominated at this track in their times. In fact, Johnson is the all-time wins leader at Dover.
Statistically, Dover Motor Speedway is Elliott's best track, as he has nine top-five finishes in 12 starts at the track. That includes his two wins: one in 2018 and the second in 2022. Could Chase's 13th start at the Monster Mile pay off as well? He really needs a win if he hopes to make the playoffs after missing six races. Elliott is definitely a driver to keep an eye on for Sunday. He isn't quite the favorite, with teammate Kyle Larson being the favorite at +500, but Elliott still has a good shot at seeing the checkered flag.
Martin Truex Jr.
Joe Gibbs Racing has been the next closest competition at Dover, with four different drivers winning there since 2017. Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. have both been very competitive at Dover for years. But, the New Jersey native has a lot more personal feelings about the Delaware track, as it was the spot where Truex scored his first victory in the Cup Series back in 2007.
It could also be a place where he could end his over-two-year winless drought. Truex's last win came at Richmond Raceway in 2021. He did win this year's Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, but that was just an exhibition race. So, Truex has yet to win a points race in the Next Gen car. What is more frustrating: the winless drought or perhaps the thought that he hasn't won in this new car?
He has three wins at Dover Motor Speedway, so it isn't too much of a stretch to suggest that Truex could break through this weekend. He has had good cars the last two seasons but just hasn't had the luck when it mattered. In fact, in the 2022 race at Dover, Truex was fighting for third with Ross Chastain on the final lap when the two made contact and Martin spun out and ended up 12th in the race. Truex isn't right at the top of the odds list, but he certainly has a good history at the Dover track, the last couple years notwithstanding.
Another driver who has a shot to contend at Sunday's race at Dover is the driver of the No. 4 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing. That is Kevin Harvick, who is in his final NASCAR Cup Series season. He has had a great start to 2023 and sits third in the points standings. A three-time winner at the Monster Mile, Harvick ended up ninth in the 2022 event at the track. That snapped a small streak of top fives at Dover. He, like many of the drivers in the field, had trouble with the Next Gen car and how it drove at Dover, as they all struggled for grip.
Harvick will be making his final start at the track; and given his stats at Dover, he has a chance to find victory lane. With wins in 2015, 2018 and 2020 — not to mention a streak of eight straight top-10s — he could sneak a win, as Stewart-Haas Racing has really shown speed in its cars the past couple of weeks.
MORE: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 2001 Victory at Dover Was a Powerfully Patriotic NASCAR Moment
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