This week NASCAR drivers travel to Dover, Delaware for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism.
Dover International Speedway is located in Dover, Delaware, USA. Besides hosting NASCAR races, it also hosts USAC and Verizon IndyCar Series. The track is 1 mile (1.6km) long oval with 24° banking in the turns and 9° banking on the straights.This weekend’s race is 400 miles (640km) long and one of the 2 tracks made out of concrete. With a lot of similarities to Bristol race, it’s commonly referred as a “Bristol on steroids” and rightfully so. It’s a demanding 1-mile concrete track that is a huge challenge for any driver. Racing on such a demanding track also comes with a price; a simple mistake can end any drivers’ race and turn a race into a demolition derby.
This weekend’s race is 400 miles (640km) long and one of the 2 tracks made out of concrete. With a lot of similarities to Bristol race, it’s commonly referred as a “Bristol on steroids” and rightfully so. It’s a demanding 1-mile concrete track that is a huge challenge for any driver. Racing on such a demanding track also comes with a price; a simple mistake can end any drivers’ race and turn a race into a demolition derby. The track consists of 3 stages; Stage 1 (120 laps), Stage 2 (120 laps) and Stage 3 (160 laps).
The AA 400 Drive for Autism saw its first race back in 1969, but under a different name (Madon Dixon). Throughout the history, this race had a lot of name changes, 15 times, to be precise.
In 2007, Dover International Speedway decided the race would be named “Autism Speaks 400”, which marked the first time NASCAR Cup race entitlement was dedicated to a non-profit organization. The name of the race was decided in hopes to increase understanding, awareness and knowledge of autism and other similar disorders. The funding would then be used for researches, prevention and treatment of autism.
Last year’s race will be remembered, but for all the wrong reasons. With 45 laps to go, we saw a huge wreck, which resulted in 18 crashed cars due to Jimmie Johnson’s car malfunction. Supposedly the car could not shift into the gear after the restart, which in the end resulted in a huge pile-up.
After the crash, the race continued with lap No. 359. The fastest drivers were Kenseth, Larson and Elliott who were fighting for 1st place. We saw Kenseth pulling away from Elliott and Larson to take the win in the last 10 laps. As an interesting fact; the track name “Monster Mile” comes from the speedway’s mascot who is called Miles the Monster. Anyone who attended the race or just watched it could saw the mascot on the tickets, website monument and even on the trophy.
Predictions & Recommendations
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
He has earned himself a win this season and is currently holding a 10.5 average finish. He might not be a driver who will go on and win this race, but looking at his current placements and his finish at Dover from last year (8th), we can expect him to finish near the front.
We can’t go past the fact that he has never driven in Dover, but he has proven before he knows how to drive (Xfinity Series win). Looking at last 3 races, Suarez has finished in top 12, so if that means anything, we can expect him to finish in the top 10 this weekend.
This will be a really important race for Johnson. A win here would put him into Hall of Fame with Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip as a racer who won 11 (or more) races at a single track. With that in mind, I expect him to give his all and finish the race in the 1st spot. Up until now, Jimmie Johnson is the most successful driver on this track, earning his 10th win in 2015.
Our previous Nascar race preview: Geico 500