All hands will be on deck this upcoming weekend as “Miles The Monster” will be awaiting the arrival of everything Nascar has to offer. The Camping World Truck Series will start the action Friday Night with the Lucas Oil 200, Saturday Afternoon we have the 5-Hour Energy 200, and last but not least, the big boys take to the track for the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. A full slate of racing on the famous Monster Mile at Dover.
Dover International Speedway, built in 1969, is unique in two aspects. It is Exactly One Mile, and is paved in Concrete. Dover was originally paved in asphalt, which is the standard for most of the other tracks on the Nascar circuit, but was changed to concrete in 1995. The track was designed to hold 140,00 race fans, but the addition of Safer Barriers and new wider seats, the actual seating capacity has been dropped to around 113,000.
The Monster Mile is a one mile oval track with 24 degree banking in all four corners and 9 degrees on the straights. The Sprint Cup Qualifying record was set by Jeremy Mayfield in 2004 at 22.288 sec (161.522 mph), and the race record is held by Mark Martin at 132.719 miles per hour. Bobby Allison and Richard Petty hold the most wins at Dover with 7 each, and the most poles by David Pearson with 6. Most starts and of course most laps completed were by Ricky Rudd. Surprisingly, the best average finish for this track is Carl Edwards at 7.3.
For newbie race fans, Goodyear and Nascar, after considerable testing and evaluating, decide on a rubber formula for each race track. This is an important aspect at Dover due to the concrete surface. With this in mind, tire management by drivers and crew chiefs becomes the ultimate focus for the weekend. In Sprint Cup competition, where they get an unlimited supply of tires, the question becomes, how many laps can I run on a set of tires before they blow out. The Trucks and Nationwide cars are only allowed so many tires, making their job more crucial.
The other factor that affects tire wear is the track temperature. With the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races starting in the afternoon, look for crew chiefs to be calling for 4-tire stops most of the day. You won’t see too many 2-tire stops of Gas-and-Go’s at this race, as teams like to change tires at every opportunity.
The Sprint Cup Race on Sunday will mark the end of Fox TV’s coverage for the season. Dover is the last race for Old DW and the gang until next years Daytona 500. TNT will take over the booth for six races and ESPN/ABC will take us from the Brickyard in July through to Homestead. Matt Kenseth is your defending Champion for this race.
Look for Jimmie Johnson to have another good day as he has 6 wins in 20 starts on the Monster Mile. He loves this track, and with Chad Knaus on the pit box, he has one of the best in the business at race strategy and tire management. JJ has been on a roll since Darlington. A pit road mistake at Charlotte, by his jack man took him out of contention Sunday Night, so look for him to arrive in Dover with a chip on his shoulder.
So for the last time this season, pull them seat belts up tight and “Let’s Go Racin Boys”.
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