Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dover AAA 400 Race Preview

By Micah Roberts

This weeks race takes us to the 1-mile concrete oval of Dover for the second race of the Chase. While the track is unique to itself among all others, I like to use Bristol as a comparison of sorts because of the similarities despite being a half-mile smaller. Because of the banking and surface, many of the crew chiefs use similar set-ups for each and some bring the exact same car if having success on one.

Just as small sampling of how similar the two tracks are, Kyle Busch won at Dover May and a few weeks ago at Bristol. Busch only has three wins on the season and two came on these tracks which again makes him a contender this week. Over his career he has two wins and four other top-five finishes in 11 starts.

Look for Busch to keep the sweep trend going at Dover this week. Jimmie Johnson swept Dover last year just as he did in 2002. Ryan Newman also swept the season in 2003, as did Tony Stewart in 2000, Jeff Gordon in 1996, Rusty Wallace in 1994 and, well, you get the picture. It happens a quite often and more so than other tracks.

We didn’t see a lot of anything good out of the Roush drivers last week and that should change this week as all three in the Chase are quite accomplished at Dover. Last season a four year streak ended where a Roush driver had won at least one of the two races a year. Greg Biffle is a two-time winner on the track with Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth each posting wins as well. Kenseth is currently on a Dover streak of five straight top-four finishes and will be using his fifth-place Michigan chassis this week. Edwards is using a new car while Biffle is using his 10th-place car from Texas.

The Childress drivers should all be competitive this week. Jeff Burton was runner-up in the May race with Kevin Harvick finishing seventh. Clint Bowyer can build off his win last week with another good run this week based on his fourth-place finish at Bristol last month. Burton will be using his fourth-place car from Atlanta earlier this month.

As for Bowyer, don’t let his penalty deter you in betting him. His chances at winning the Chase are slim, but he’ll still be competing for wins and could get some. He’ll be using a strong chassis this week that looked to be one of the best at Pocono earlier this year while leading 59 laps.

Of the non-chasers who have the best chance at winning, Kasey Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman should all be top-10 contenders this week. McMurray has one of the best cars being brought to the track this week. It’s his third-place Bristol car that contended for the win.

Early Top-5 Dover Finish Prediction:
1) #18 Kyle Busch (4/1)
2) # 99 Carl Edwards (12/1)
3) #48 Jimmie Johnson (6/1)
4) #1 Jamie McMurray (20/1)
5) #17 Matt Kenseth (18/1)

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Eluvsracing said...

Wanted you to see this but it's not related to your race preview.
Fireball’s Jacket by NASCAR_Performance
Sep 24, 2010 at 01:15 PM
By Buz McKim
Fireball’s Jacket

One of the more fascinating artifacts in all the items we have discovered over the last three and a half years is a jacket given to NASCAR legend Glenn “Fireball” Roberts’ by the Autolite Corporation. Roberts was a major star in the 1950s and early 1960s. He became the first name in NASCAR to be recognized outside the sport, not only for his colorful nickname, which he picked up for his talent to pitch a baseball, but also for his daring driving style Autolite, now a division of Honeywell International Inc., provides spark plugs and electrical equipment for the sport, and is a NASCAR Performance partner.

The earliest photo of Roberts wearing the jacket was taken in 1963, the year he left General Motors to drive for Ford. The jacket is like new, with the main torso area done in red material and black leather sleeves. A large embroidered Autolite logo graces the back, with Roberts’ name stitched on the front. His fiance’, Judy Judge, donated several items to the Hall and this, by far, is the premier piece from her collection. Judge and Roberts had dated for several years and had planned to be married the first weekend of June 1964. Unfortunately, Roberts was gravely injured in a race on May 24. He survived for 39 days before succumbing to his injuries. Judge packed up all her remembrances of Roberts and put them away, except the jacket that she hung in her closet.

She explained that she would occasionally take the jacket out and hold it. Judge said when the time came that she could no longer smell him in the jacket, she put it away. Over four decades later she unpacked the box for us and gave the jacket to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The biggest surprise came when we found all the items still in the pockets from the last time Roberts had worn it, which was April 1964 at Atlanta Raceway. The jacket now was more of a time capsule with a ticket to the Atlanta race, Roberts’ signed pit credential, his lighter and half a pack of Juicy Fruit gum found inside.

The jacket and its contents, minus the gum, can be found in the Heritage Speedway area on the fourth floor of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Eluvsracing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fireballr7 said...

wow, thanks for sharing. That is very cool.

We are actually distant cousins from way back dating back to earliest records from Wilkes County, NC where many of the Roberts first came to from Wales and Ireland.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw his name along the family tree through the centuries when I did it all about eight years ago.

I'll have to go check it out.