Race Weekend Central

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Dover Fall Race

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson won both Cup races at Dover in 2002, as well as this event in 2005. He has top-10 finishes in seven of 11 Cup starts here – but has missed the mark the last two times out.

Jeff Gordon – It’s a tale of two tracks for Gordon. On the plus side, Gordon has won at Dover four times, collecting 18 top-10 finishes in 29 career starts. On the minus side, Gordon has crashed out of four of the last 10 Cup races here.

Tony Stewart – Here’s another title contender that’s inconsistent on the Monster Mile. Stewart won both Dover races here in 2000, with top-five finishes in nine of his 17 starts at the track. But oddly enough, he’s missed the top 10 in the last five Cup races at Dover, crashing out of the last two.

Clint Bowyer – Bowyer has finished eighth in the last two Cup races at Dover, making it likely for him to keep the momentum gained from his first Nextel Cup win.

Kyle Busch – Busch finished second in both Dover Cup races in 2005 and was fifth here in the spring event last year. But, he’s failed to match that success in his last two stabs at the white cliffs of Delaware, making him yet another unknown for Sunday.

Martin Truex Jr. – Ever since Truex broke into the ranks of Cup winners with his Dover victory this spring, it’s like he’s been a whole different driver. Now, he gets to come back and try the season sweep.

Matt Kenseth – Kenseth won here in the spring of 2006 and has top-10 finishes in four of the last five Dover Cup races. Trivia buffs may recall Kenseth made his first ever Cup start at Dover in 1998, subbing for Bill Elliott whose dad had died that week.

Carl Edwards – Edwards finished second in this race last year and third at Dover this spring after winning the Busch race.

Denny Hamlin – Hamlin finished fourth here this spring, which is an improvement from an already impressive baseline. Last year, he finished 11th and ninth in the two Dover Cup races, and is usually a threat with the CoT.

See also
Fantasy Picks 'N' Pans: 2007 Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover Edition

Kevin Harvick – Harvick hasn’t been particularly strong here. He’s got just two top-five finishes in 13 Cup starts, putting up an average finish of 18th in those races.

Jeff Burton – Burton won this race last year to snap a winless streak that seemed to have started when the crust of the earth was still cooling. He hasn’t finished worse than 12th in the last five Dover Cup races overall.

Kurt Busch – This hasn’t been a great track for Busch, who is averaging a 20th-place finish at Dover in 14 career starts. This spring, Busch was parked for his actions on pit road after a well-publicized clash with Stewart. Finishing 42nd, the run didn’t help his average nor popularity any.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Junior scored an emotional Cup victory here in 2001, as NASCAR racing resumed after the 9/11 tragedy. But after 15 Cup starts here, he’s averaging a 17th-place finish. In fact, Junior hasn’t managed a top five at Dover since 2004, although he did score two Busch Series wins here.

Ryan Newman – In 11 Cup starts at Dover, Newman has won three times and finished in the top 10 a total of eight. He’s averaging an eighth-place finish in those 11 starts.

Casey Mears – Mears isn’t getting it done at Dover. After nine starts here, he’s averaging just a 24th-place finish.

Greg Biffle – Biffle struggled here early in his career, but has top-10 finishes and a win in the last five Dover Cup events. He’s also won here twice in a Busch Series car.

Bobby Labonte – Labonte won here back in 1999, but in the last eight Dover Cup events, he has just one top-10 result.

Jamie McMurray – McMurray finished second here in the spring race of 2006, but after nine Cup starts on the 1-mile oval, he’s averaging a 16th-place finish.

JJ Yeley – Yeley has been hapless in his four starts at the Monster Mile. His best result here is 25th, and he’s averaging a miserable 34th-place finish. You’d have to really work to make that average worse.

Juan Pablo Montoya – Montoya finished 31st here this spring in his only Dover Cup start. I don’t think they have tracks like Dover in Colombia, though…

About the author

Matt joined Frontstretch in 2007 after a decade of race-writing, paired with the first generation of racing internet sites like RaceComm and Racing One. Now semi-retired, he submits occasional special features while his retrospectives on drivers like Alan Kulwicki, Davey Allison, and other fallen NASCAR legends pop up every summer on Frontstretch. A motorcycle nut, look for the closest open road near you and you can catch him on the Harley during those bright, summer days in his beloved Pennsylvania.

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