Commentary

Best Buy 400 preview

Updated: May 27, 2008, 6:44 PM ET
By Mark Garrow | Jayski.com

Background

• This is the 13th race of 36 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008.
• It is the sixth of 21 intermediate track races this season.
• This is the 77th time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has competed at Dover International Speedway since 1969.
• Dover is a one-mile oval that has 24-degree banking in the turns and 9-degree banking on the straightaways.
• 45 drivers are on the pre-entry list to compete for one of the 43 starting slots in Sunday's 400-lap, 400-mile race. Of those 45 entrants, 10 must get into Sunday's field based on qualifying times. They are: J.J. Yeley, Patrick Carpentier, Kyle Petty, Bill Elliott, Jeremy Mayfield, Jason Leffler, A.J. Allmendinger, John Andretti, Jeff Green and Joe Nemechek.
• Of the go-or-go-home drivers, Elliott is eligible for a champion's provisional.

The drivers/teams who are on the bubble for the top 35 in owners' points are:

31) Reed Sorenson/Ganassi Racing, 969, +39
32) Michael McDowell/Waltrip Racing, 945, +14
33) Dave Blaney/Bill Davis, 941, +11
34) Regan Smith/Dale Earnhardt Inc., 941, +11
35) Michael Waltrip/Waltrip Racing, 933, +3 points ahead of 36th

These drivers/teams must qualify by speed:

36) Sam Hornish Jr./Penske Racing, 930, -3 points out of 35th
37) J.J. Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing, 779, -154
38) Jeremy Mayfield/Ganassi Racing 760, -173
39) A.J. Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing, 757, -176
40) Jason Leffler/Haas CNC Racing, 737, -196

• Jason Leffler is driving the No. 70 car this weekend. No full-time driver has been named for this car since Jeremy Mayfield was released before Phoenix.
• Jeremy Mayfield is substituting for the injured Dario Franchitti in the No. 40 Dodge this weekend at Charlotte.
• The manufacturers are relatively even here. Chevrolet won four straight in 2001 and '02, but Chevy, Dodge and Ford have each won races at Dover since without one brand showing too much dominance over the others.
Mark Martin, Bill Elliott and Jeff Gordon lead active drivers in wins at The Monster Mile with four apiece. Martin has 43 starts here and Gordon has 30, with Gordon's average finish being slightly higher than Martin's (12.3 versus 12.7). Martin leads, however, in top-5s (20) and top-10s (27).
• A driver who could fly under the radar is Mayfield. If he makes the race, he would be a solid dark horse for a top-10. In his past seven races here, he has two poles and four top-10s.
Ryan Newman will be the driver to watch this weekend. Of all the drivers who have 10 starts or more, Newman has the best average finish (10.0) and best average start (7.2) to go along with his four poles and three wins.
Tony Stewart also will compete for a strong finish this weekend. Smoke has two wins here with 12 top-10s in 18 starts.
Carl Edwards is the most recent winner here, having won the fall event at Dover. Edwards has a good record on concrete tracks, and his past three finishes at The Monster Mile are second, third and first, respectively. His average finish here is 9.1 in seven starts, and he has completed all but five of the total possible laps.
• Of the drivers guaranteed to make the field with 10 or more starts, Blaney has the worst average finish (26.7). Of the go-or-go-home drivers, Mayfield has the best average finish (18.8).
• Four active drivers have led 1,000 or more laps here: Gordon (2,198), Elliott (2,047), Martin (1,722) and Stewart (1,066).

Dover previous winners

Fourteen previous Dover winners entered this weekend who have 28 victories among them:

DriverDover wins
Bill Elliott4 - 5/85, 6/88, 9/88, 9/90
Jeff Gordon4 - 9/95, 6/96, 9/96, 6/01
Mark Martin4 - 9/97, 9/98, 9/99, 6/04
Jimmie Johnson3 - 6/02, 9/02, 9/05
Ryan Newman3 - 6/03, 9/03, 9/04
Tony Stewart2 - 6/00, 9/00
Greg Biffle1 - 6/05
Dale Earnhardt Jr.1 - 9/01
Carl Edwards1 - 9/07
Matt Kenseth1 - 6/06
Bobby Labonte1 - 6/99
Kyle Petty1 - 6/95
Martin Truex Jr.1 - 6/07

Past four races at Dover

POSFALL 2007SPRING 2007FALL 2006SPRING 2006
1Carl Edwards Martin Truex Jr. Jeff Burton Matt Kenseth
2Greg Biffle Ryan Newman Carl Edwards Jamie McMurray
3Dale Earnhardt Jr. Carl Edwards Jeff Gordon Kevin Harvick
4Mark Martin Denny Hamlin Kurt Busch Jeff Burton
5Kyle Busch Matt Kenseth Greg Biffle Kyle Busch
6Casey Mears Greg Biffle Martin Truex Jr. Jimmie Johnson
7Jeff Burton Mark Martin Bobby Labonte Kasey Kahne
8Jamie McMurray Clint Bowyer Clint Bowyer Greg Biffle
9Tony Stewart Jeff Gordon Denny Hamlin Mark Martin
10Juan Pablo Montoya Robby Gordon Matt Kenseth Dale Earnhardt Jr.
11Jeff Gordon Kasey Kahne Reed Sorenson Denny Hamlin
12Clint Bowyer Jeff Burton Dave Blaney Jeff Gordon
13Martin Truex Jr. Casey Mears Jimmie Johnson Bobby Labonte
14Jimmie Johnson David Ragan Mark Martin Ryan Newman
15Michael Waltrip Jimmie Johnson Dale Jarrett Carl Edwards
16Brian Vickers Sterling Marlin Elliott Sadler Kurt Busch
17Elliott Sadler Kyle Busch Jamie McMurray Clint Bowyer
18David Reutimann Bobby Labonte David Stremme Jeremy Mayfield
19Robby Gordon Brian Vickers Ken Schrader Reed Sorenson
20Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Jeff Green Scott Riggs
21Paul Menard Tony Raines Dale Earnhardt Jr. Casey Mears
22Joe Nemechek Dale Earnhardt Jr. Casey Mears Martin Truex Jr.
23Kenny Wallace Scott Riggs Tony Raines Brian Vickers
24David Gilliland Jamie McMurray Ryan Newman Dale Jarrett
25David Ragan Joe Nemechek Kyle Petty Tony Stewart

2008 Sprint Cup Series top-10 recap
  1. Kyle Busch (1,860 points) was the third-place finisher at Charlotte on Sunday and remains first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. In six starts at Dover, Busch has four top-5s and an average finish of 11.8.
  2. Jeff Burton (-94) was the sixth-place finisher at Lowe's and maintains his second-place points position in the Cup series standings. Burton has 28 starts here with 11 top-10s, six top-5s, a win and an average finish of 16.8.
  3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-139) finished fifth Sunday night at Lowe's and remains third in the Cup series standings. Earnhardt has 16 starts here with seven top-10s, four top-5s and a win. His average finish here is 15.8.
  4. Denny Hamlin (-264) was the 24th-place finisher at Lowe's and maintains his fourth-place position in Cup series points. Hamlin has five starts here with a career-best finish of 17th (twice) and an average finish of 27.0.
  5. Clint Bowyer (-282) finished 25th Sunday night and continues to hold fifth place in the Cup series standings. In four starts at The Monster Mile, Bowyer has two top-10s and an average finish of 11.2.
  6. Carl Edwards (-322) finished ninth at Lowe's Sunday night and moves up one spot in the Cup series standings to sixth. Edwards has seven starts here with four top-10s, three top-5s, a win and an average finish of 9.1.
  7. Kevin Harvick (-343) was the 14th-place finisher Sunday and moves up two spots in the Cup series standings to seventh. In 14 starts here, Harvick has five top-10s, two top-5s and an average finish of 17.9.
  8. Tony Stewart (-349) finished 18th at Lowe's and remains eighth in the Cup series points standings. Stewart has 18 starts here with 12 top-10s, nine top-5s, two wins and an average finish of 10.6.
  9. Jimmie Johnson (-367) was the 39th-place finisher at Lowe's Sunday night and falls three spots to ninth in the Cup series standings. Johnson has 12 starts here with seven top-10s, four top-5s, three wins and an average finish of 11.9.
  10. Jeff Gordon (-374) finished fourth Sunday night and remains 10th in the Cup series standings. In 30 starts here, Gordon has 18 top-10s, 13 top-5s, four wins and an average finish of 12.3.

Mark Garrow covers fantasy racing for ESPN.com.

Mark Garrow

Fantasy Racing
Mark Garrow covers fantasy racing for ESPN.com.