No track like Dover's Monster Mile but watch out for Kenseth
May 30, 2017 3:03 AM
by Micah Roberts
The 13th race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season takes to the northeast for the first time of 2017 with the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway’s one-mile, high-banked concrete layout. It’s a fast track with lots of room and multiple grooves, but it’s still kind of a short track so drivers get in the way of each other and keep things interesting.
There’s no other track like Dover’s Monster Mile on the circuit, but the best comparison would probably be Bristol’s half-mile concrete track. Because of the steep banking and concrete, crew chiefs that do well at Bristol usually bring the same car and set-up to Dover. So before you make your wagers this week, take a look at what happened in April at Bristol.
Jimmie Johnson won that race, taking the the lead from Kevin Harvick with 21 laps to go. Kyle Larson led the most laps (202) and finished sixth while Martin Truex led the second-most laps (116) and finished eighth. Clint Bowyer would finish second and Matt Kenseth fourth.
Kenseth might be someone to keep an eye on this week and seek out high odds before practice begins. He hasn’t won a race all season, nor have any of his Joe Gibbs teammates. This is a place he likes very much and you have the Bristol thing going for you as well. You should be able to get 15-to-1 or higher on him. He’s a three-time winner at Dover, including winning this race last year. He’s been seventh or better in six of his last seven starts there and has a 12.8 average finish in 36 starts.
Larson and Truex should both be considered favorites in this race. Truex, a New Jersey native, calls this his home track and notched his first career win there in 2007, then added another victory there last fall. But the most amazing tamer of the Monster Mile has been Jimmie Johnson, who holds the track record with 10 wins. He’s averaged a 9.5 finish over his 30 starts and has led a track record 3,093 laps.
I’m taking an early shot with Kenseth to win and I’ll be scouring the city to see where I can get the best odds. How about some 20-1, please?
Also, in case you didn’t know, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is getting a second date next season. The first date will be March 4 and the second Sept. 16. I’ve been campaigning for it for 18 years and it finally happened. It’s well deserved, but the politics of NASCAR and their agenda with the tracks they own always got in the way.
NASCAR doesn’t own Las Vegas Motor Speedway so it wasn’t in their best interest to give them a second date like they did for Kansas Speedway, which they own. Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns LVMS, had to buy New Hampshire Motor Speedway and then take away one of their two dates.
Anyway, the second date is going to kick off the playoffs in grand fashion. It will be a day race, which the casinos will like so they can get all the 100,000-plus fans back to gambling at night. My hope was Las Vegas would be where the championship race would be, but NASCAR owns Homestead-Miami Speedway where the championship is so it wasn’t in their best interest to move it.
Politics. I would love to see the championship race move to different tracks each year, but maybe I’ll get that wish in another 18 years. Two races in Las Vegas is pretty awesome. So we’ve got that, an NHL team, and an NFL team (projected 2020). How about it, Miami Marlins? You guys ready for a move? We’re a big time city in Las Vegas now and we’ll love you a long time.