Johnson’s history at Dover could cash 12-1
May 01, 2018 3:04 AM
by Micah Roberts
The 11th race of the NASCAR Cup Series season takes us to Delaware for some exciting racing on Dover International Speedway’s high-banked concrete layout.
It’s the only one-mile track in the series that isn’t flat and because of it being so unique, we don’t have a lot of homework to do for handicapping other than using current form and past Dover history.
However, I’ve done quite well over the years betting Dover races by applying what happened in the most recent Bristol race into the overall equation. Although Bristol is a half-mile track, it’s also concrete and high banked. It’s like a mini-version of Dover’s Monster Mile. And it just so happens Bristol had a race three weeks ago won by Kyle Busch with Kyle Larson leading a race-high 200 laps and finishing second.
Both those drivers are great starting points to picking a winner for Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism.
However, the third-place finisher at Bristol is a driver you need to seriously consider.
Jimmie Johnson has gone almost a full season since winning a race and that win came in this race at Dover. It was his 11th career win at Dover. Yes, you read that correctly: 11 wins. Until finishing third at Bristol three weeks ago, his last top-five finish came at Dover last fall when he finished third.
He loves this track and he’s dominated it like no other driver in history. He owns track records with wins and 3,105 laps led.
Even as Johnson went into that horrendous slide after his last win, he still showed well at Dover, which has me intrigued this week, especially if I can find odds like we’ve seen placed on him lately that have been in the 20-to-1 range. He won’t be 20-to-1, but maybe he’s worth a shot at 12-to-1.
We’re talking about a driver that wins on this track every 2.9 times he buckles in for it. It’s a wager to certainly consider, but be sure to shop around town for the best number. Too bad that nice sportsbook on the Dover property only takes parlays and doesn’t take NASCAR wagers.
Kyle Busch is tied for the second-most Dover wins among active drivers with the three, the last of which happened last fall when the series last visited.
His 13th-place finish at the wild-card of Talladega ended a three-race win streak, and in the previous four races before winning he was runner-up three times and third-place once. That’s a sick run for the Las Vegan and he definitely has the best current form in the series right now.
If looking to bet on someone other than Busch, who should be the easy favorite, you can feel a little easier about it just because Busch has six career DNFs at Dover in his 26 starts. He’s also been a bit sluggish in his last four spring Dover races: 42nd, 36th, 30th, and 16th last year.
Kyle Larson, on the other hand, has been stellar in the past two spring Dover races with runner-up finishes in each. Last spring he led a race-high 241 laps and then in the fall he led 137 laps and finished fifth. His Bristol run suggests he should be the top candidate to topple Busch.
Chase Elliott has struggled to find consistent speed like his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, but just like Johnson, his car comes alive at Dover.
In four career Cup starts at Dover for Elliott he’s finished in the top-five in all four attempts. He was runner-up last fall while leading 138 laps.
Dover is Martin Truex Jr.’s home track and he scored his first career Cup win there in 2007.
He grabbed his second win there in the fall of 2016 and then finished third last spring and fourth in the fall. He’s led laps in his last four Dover starts. Yes, he loves this track also, but Johnson has been hogging all the wins during Truex’s career.