Commentary

Good, Bad and Ugly: Best Buy 400 at Dover

Updated: May 30, 2008, 4:09 PM ET
By Mark Garrow | Jayski.com

Mark Garrow provides driver trends for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

* A driver with an asterisk next to his name needs to qualify for the race based on time.
# A driver is eligible for the champion's provisional.

• Has two starts here, making both races in 2007, with finishes of 33rd and 43rd, respectively.

• Andretti has 21 starts here with one top-10 finish and an average finish of 25.2.
• He has completed 83.3 percent of possible laps, leading seven.
• Andretti made only the fall race in 2007 finishing 37th.

• The Biff has 11 starts here with six top-10s, three top-5s, a win, and an average finish of 12.9.
• I like Biffle so much this weekend, he's second in my weekly countdown. He's coming off two strong performances. He was the best car at Darlington until the engine let go and finished runner-up last week at Charlotte. I see him rounding back into the form that gave him three straight top-5 finishes earlier this year. Plus he was the runner-up last fall at Dover and in the past four starts, his average finish is fifth.

• Blaney has made 13 Cup Series starts at Dover during his career. The veteran driver has finished as high as 11th (2002). He has two top-15 finishes.
• He could be a bargain pick. He was in the top 10 at Darlington and should have been at Charlotte until a late race issue dropped him to 17th. I can see him finishing 14th to 17th at Dover.

• Bowyer has four starts here with two top-10s and an average finish of 11.3.
• Bowyer is ranks 15th in the Average Running Position category with a mark of 16.459.
• Clint Bowyer is a major question mark for me. He finished eighth and 12th last year. In the fall race, he should have finished in the top five if not for bad luck. Lately, however, Bowyer hasn't done much. He was 15th at Darlington and an uncompetitive 25th last week. He really has me wondering about the Kansas driver. All things considered, he should finish in the top 10 this week.

• In 28 starts at Dover, Burton boasts one win, six top-5s and 11 top-10s. His Dover victory came in September 2006, snapping a 176-race winless streak. He has a 16.9 finishing average.
• Jeff Burton is a money in the bank top-10 just about every week. He's finished in the top 10 in eight of the past 10 races; the worst finish in that span being 12th. In fact, his worst finish all year is 13th. He's very safe. That's why he's eighth in my rankings.

• At Dover, Busch has two top-5 finishes and four top-10s in 15 career starts. His best finish to date is fourth in 2006.
• He finished 42nd in last June's race after getting parked 271 laps in. In September, he finished 29th after a blown tire.
• Kurt is heating up with finishes of 12th and 16th in the past two races. In the five races before these two events, his average finish was 32nd. At Dover, his record has been spotty with only one top-10 in the past five starts. I see him with top-10 capability, but more likely a top-15 finish at best.

• Busch has four top-5s in six career Cup starts at Dover, leading 112 laps.
• Kyle is on fire. In the past four races, he has two wins, a second and a third. I rank him third for Dover. I think he's top-5 material again and should lead some laps. He's led 628 laps this year, so he's winning and often leading the most laps. Keep riding this horse because Busch continues to be worth his weight -- and more -- in points each week.

• This is Carpentier's first trip to the "Monster Mile".
• Carpentier has only missed one race that he had to qualify for.

• In 16 Dover starts, Earnhardt has recorded one win, four top-5s and seven top-10s. He has completed 99 percent of the laps, leading 366.
• Junior keeps chugging along and scoring big-time points even though he has yet to win. I rank him fifth this week because this isn't his best track, but he's consistently top-5 material. His 2008 average finish is 9.8 and could be much lower if he didn't get wrecked at California. Another horse to keep riding.

• In his Dover career (seven starts), Edwards has one win, three top-5s and four top-10s. His average finish is 9.1 completing all but five possible laps.
• What in the world happened to him last week? It was like he wasn't even entered in the Coke 600 but still finished 9th. I believe he bounces back in big way this week with a chance to win. After all, he won this race last year and has three straight top-5 Dover finishes. He tops in my Dover rankings without question.

• Elliott has 42 Dover starts with 19 top-10s, 12 top-5s, four wins, and an average finish of 14.0.

• Gilliland has an average finish of 26.7 at Dover, completing 1,186 of 1,200 career laps at Dover.
• This guy has the potential to run in the top 20 every week, but he's always a risk to finish 25th or worse too. He could turn into a real "find" during the second segment of SCC, but we'll have to wait and see.

• Gordon has three poles, 13 top-5s and 18 top-10s in his 30 Dover starts. His average finish is 12.3. He's also completed 92.9 percent of possible laps, leading 2,198, more than any active driver.
• He remains very uncomfortable in his Car of Tomorrow and if there's one place that gets real scary, ii's Dover. He'll probably find a way to finish in the top 10, but won't challenge for the win, unless his crew can use fuel strategy for the second week in a row. In his SCC price range there are better picks.

• Gordon has 13 starts at the Monster Mile with three top-10 finishes.
• His average finish here is 23.7.
• The stats for this guy are downright scary. He's going to break out one of these weeks and finish in the top 15, but when? Too much risk for my blood.

• In four starts here, Hamlin only has one finish outside the top 11 and has finished fourth and 11th in the June race.
• Hamlin is someone else I think has a chance to win this race, which is why I have him ranked fourth. He's certainly on a roll. Six top-10s and five top-5s in his past seven and the one race he didn't finish in the top 10, he led nearly every lap at Richmond. Hamlin was a top-5 finisher a year ago. I can see that happening again.

• In 14 Sprint Cup Series starts at Dover, Harvick has earned two top-5s and five top-10s. He has a 17.9 finishing average.
• Harvick had one of his worst performances of the year last week and still finished 14th. I see him potentially finishing 15th or better again this week, but don't have much of a comfort level since he finished 20th in both races last year at Dover. I would be surprised if he finished in the top 10, that's for sure.

• Hornish has never raced at Dover before.
• The former IRL champ has been coming on strong and if he could finish 13th every week like he did at Charlotte, Hornish would be gold. The big problem for him this week is that this is his first experience with the Monster Mile and most guys don't do a whole lot the first time. This place scares every driver in their initial trip as they drive down off the top of the straightaways into the corners. Hornish should feel more in his element next week.

• Johnson has started 12 Cup races at Dover, collecting three wins, four top-5s and seven top-10s.
• This team is off, not as bad as teammate Jeff Gordon's, but not hitting on all cylinders. He'll finish somewhere around eighth to 14th. He used to be great at Dover, but this time he'll have to fight hard to get a top-10 finish. I rank him ninth.

• In eight starts at Dover, Kahne has one top-10 finish. His average finish is 25th at the Monster Mile.
• Kahne had a great two-week run at Charlotte, but we need to remember he's finished in the top 10 in only two of his past seven races and has an average finish of 15.9 this year. I can see him finishing right around 10th, which is why I still have him ranked conservatively at 14th. This race will start to prove if what his team found at Charlotte will translate anywhere else.

• This weekend, Kenseth will make his 18th Cup start at Dover, a track where he has one win, 10 top-10s and five top-5s. His average finish is 15.3.
• Kenseth has shown signs that he's coming around. He finished sixth and seventh the past two races and led laps in both. I rank him 15th, but I should have probably put him higher. He blew an engine last fall, but in the three previous races at Dover he had three top-10s, two-top-5s and a win. The potential is there for a better finish but it will be a struggle and this race will be a big test to see exactly where this team is at.

• Kvapil has an average finish of 26.5 at Dover.
• This guy will drive you crazy with his inconsistency. For example, in the past four races, he has two top-10 runs with two finishes of 16th and 26th. Because of that, and the fact I think he's overpriced in cap games, he's 29th in my rankings this week.

• In 31 Dover starts, Labonte has 14 top-10s, 11 top-5s and a win, with an average finish of 16.0.
• I've ranked Labonte 19th. He seems to be a lock for a top-20 finish each week and sneaking into the top 15 from time to time. He was 18th in this race at Dover a year ago and I think he winds up in the same territory this year.

• Leffler has three Cup Series starts at Dover with a career-best finish of 13th.
• Last time he made a Cup start at Dover was three seasons ago, and don't expect much, if anything, from him. The Haas-CNC team will also be without its crew chief and car chief after getting hammered by NASCAR.

• Martin has four wins at Dover, with the last coming in the spring of 2004. Martin's 20 top-5 finishes are the most of any active driver at Dover.
• Martin has 27 top-10 finishes at Dover, including five top-4s in the past seven races.
• I expect big things out of Martin this week, ranking him seventh. I think he's a lock for a top-10 finish and should be able to fight for a top-5. His average finish over his past five starts is right around 10th and I see that as almost a worst-case scenario for him at Dover.

• Mayfield has 25 Dover starts with eight top-10s, four top-5s, and an average finish of 18.8.
• Mayfield finished this race 38th last year.

• McCumbee has never raced at Dover.
• He just needs to make the race and that's about the best he can hope for.

• McDowell has never raced at Dover.
• I think he'd settle for a top-30 finish and be over the rainbow for a top-25.

• Jamie McMurray has an average finish of 14.8 at the "Monster Mile." Dover ranks as McMurray's third best track.
• McMurray has recorded one top-5 and four top-10s at Dover.
• McMurray hasn't exactly set the world on fire, but over the past six races, he is averaging around an 18th-place finish, much better than earlier in the year. I think he can finish in the top 15 at Dover and has an outside shot at a top-10. He finished eighth last fall so the potential is there and why I have him ranked 16th just below teammate Matt Kenseth.

• Mears 10 starts at Dover, posting a career-best finish of sixth there last September. He also had a top-10 finish in September 2005.
• He had two respectable runs of 13th and sixth a year ago at Dover, but it will be hard for him to finish in the top 15. His average finish this year is 24.7 and has struggled the past three races, finishing 36th, 35th, and 29th. My ranking him 20th might have been a stretch. The potential is there with Hendrick, but it's not happening right now at all for Mears.

• Menard has one start here, finishing 21st in the fall race here last year.
• There was a time a few weeks ago, Menard was turning himself into a legit top-20 threat every week, averaging a 17th-place finish. That has been followed, however, by three straight disasters. He's affordable in cap games, and if you're looking for a guy who can lock in a top-25 at Dover, than he could be your man.

• Montoya's average finish at Dover is 20.5. He has two starts here, both from last season.
• Ever since he was runner-up at Talladega, there's been nothing but heartache, and he is still seething over losing another crew chief. Getting a chance to test with new crew chief Brian Pattie at Pocono this week should help, but this guy is a scary pick right now.

• In 27 starts here, Nemechek has five top-10s, a top-5, and an average finish of 23.8.
• He finished 25th and 22nd in the 2007 Dover races.

• Ryan Newman has three wins, six top-5s and eight top-10s in 12 Dover starts.
• Newman swept both Dover races in 2003. His most recent win at Dover came in 2004. His average finishing position at the "Monster Mile" is 10th.
• This guy's performance is up and down; good one week, so-so the next. Still, I do have him ranked 13th this week, so I'm penciling him in for at least a top-15. A runner-up in this race a year ago, he was 28th in the fall, again inconsistent, but he could run strong.

• Ragan visited Dover twice in 2007. His best finish was 14th.
• One thing good about Ragan lately is that a bad day for him is still a finish in the top 15. I have him ranked 18th this week because a top-15 is about the best we can expect this week.

• Raines has 11 starts here with a career-best finish of 21st. His average finish is 30.5.

• Reutimann has one top-20 finish, 18th, in his only start at Dover.
• I think this guy has the potential to become a decent value pick in this second segment of SCC. A 19th at Darlington and 10th at Daytona brings hope, but has this team really found what it needs to put him 20th or better every week? If they did, this guy could be the bargain basement driver we're all looking for. I can see him finish 17th to 27th at Dover. That's how hard he is to figure.

• Riggs has eight starts here with one top-5 and an average finish of 22.8.
• Losing crew chief Bootie Barker for the next six weeks will really hurt as Riggs was already reeling. His average finish on the year is almost 25 and the team has not figured out how to finish well. One thing that might help is the fact that he has to drive his guts out. With the penalty NASCAR handed down, he's in danger now of losing his guaranteed starting spot. Minus the 150 points, Riggs is now 34th in owner standings, only five points ahead of the man in 36th. Will it motivate him for a top-20 run? Probably not, but maybe a top-25.

• This race last year: Started 12th and finished 17th. His best finish is sixth.
• This is one guy to keep an eye on over the next few races. I don't recommend a "buy" right now, but Sadler's starting to come around. Some of his finishes lately don't show it, but eighth at Charlotte is indication to what people are seeing behind the scenes with this team. Nice price too, if you're into taking risks.

• Smith is making his first Cup Series start at Dover.
• He's starting to finish consistently in the 20-25 range, and at his price, that's worth some thought. The 20th-place finisher earns 100 points and his price in cap games could allow you another big hitter. Remember, though, the Monster Mile eats young drivers for breakfast.

• He has four starts at the one-mile oval, with his best finish 11th.
• The potential for a top-20 is there, but he shows no signs of improving. You need a crystal ball to guess when his guy is going to put in a top-20 run. Average finish at Dover is also worse than 21.

• In his 12 career starts at Dover, Tony Stewart has two wins, nine top-5s and an average finish of 10.6
• I've ranked him 11th this week, but could see him finishing in the top 10, maybe better, after the disappointment at Charlotte. As the weather heats up so does Stewart. I'm still wondering, though, about where his mind is with the uncertainty of his future. There is talk that he's gone at the end of the year. He was ninth last fall at Dover, but had struggled previously at the Monster Mile.

• Truex is the defending winner of this race and has an average finish of 10.5 in four starts here.
• I expect big things from Truex. I don't know if he can win, but I expect him to challenge for a top-5. I have him ranked sixth despite mixed results lately. He won this race last year after leading 216 laps. I don't see that kind of dominance again, but I do see Truex making some loud noise.

• In eight starts here, Vickers has one top-10 with an average finish of 21.0. He finished 19th and 16th here last year.
• This team seemed to be coming on early, but has cooled down recently. Vickers did have a strong run at Charlotte until a tire came off, but that's his luck right now. He should finish in the top 15, but probably won't which is why I have him ranked 23rd.

• Waltrip will start in his 45th Cup race at the 1-mile track. He has two top-5s and eight top-10s.
• A 26th to 30th place finish is about the best you can hope for. He was 15th last fall at Dover and I don't see that happening again.

• Yeley has five starts here with an average finish of 33.4.
• If you want to talk about ugly, Yeley's average finish this year is almost 32 and it's 33.4 at Dover.

Mark Garrow covers fantasy racing for ESPN.com.

Mark Garrow

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