Chase hits Dover

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This week’s race takes us to the 1-mile concrete oval of Dover for the second race of the Chase. While the track is unique to itself among all others, I like to use Bristol as a comparison of sorts because of the similarities despite being a half-mile smaller. Because of the banking and surface, many of the crew chiefs use similar set-ups for each and some bring the exact same car if having success on one.

Just a small sampling of how similar the two tracks are: Kyle Busch won at Dover in May and a few weeks ago at Bristol. Busch only has three wins on the season and two came on these tracks, which again makes him a contender this week. Over his career he has two wins and four other top-five finishes in 11 starts.

Look for Busch to keep the sweep trend going at Dover this week. Jimmie Johnson swept Dover last year just as he did in 2002. Ryan Newman also swept the season in 2003, as did Tony Stewart in 2000, Jeff Gordon in 1996, Rusty Wallace in 1994 and, well, you get the picture. It happens a quite often and more so than other tracks.

We didn’t see a lot of anything good out of the Roush drivers last week and that should change this week as all three in the Chase are quite accomplished at Dover. Last season a four year streak ended where a Roush driver had won at least one of the two races a year. Greg Biffle is a two-time winner on the track with Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth each posting wins as well. Kenseth is currently on a Dover streak on five straight top-four finishes.

The Childress drivers should be competitive this week. Jeff Burton was runner-up in the May race with Kevin Harvick finishing seventh. Clint Bowyer can build off his win last week with another good run this week based on his fourth-place finish at Bristol last month.

Of the non-chasers who have the best chance at winning, Kasey Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman should all be top-10 contenders this week.

Chase Odds Changes at Hilton

After one race into the Chase, the top contenders of Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart took a major blow to their chances with poor runs and it’s reflected in the Hilton lines. Johnson was the 5 to 2 favorite last week and has been raised to 4 to 1 after his 25th-place finish at New Hampshire. Stewart finished just before Johnson and saw his odds jump to 12 to 1. The current leader is Denny Hamlin who was runner-up on Sunday and has been moved to the overall favorite at 3 to 1. The winner of the race, Clint Bowyer, chopped off 25 points from last week and is currently 35 points behind Hamlin. Bowyer odds have been cut to 7 to 1.

NASCAR Trucks Hit Vegas

The Las Vegas Motor Speedway welcomes the NASCAR Truck Series this Saturday night

The Las Vegas Hilton Super Book is the only one in town that has booked every truck race this season, but others are sure to offer the odds as well this week. Over at the Stratosphere on Friday, they have all the top drivers signing autographs for free beginning at 7 p.m. One special guest signing will be Jeffrey Earnhardt, the son of Kerry and grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt. Earnhardt will be driving the No. 47 truck this weekend.

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