Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jimmie Johnson favored to win AAA 400 at Dover

Jimmie Johnson: The Dover King
LAS VEGAS -- Even though Penske Racing drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have combined to win the past three NASCAR Sprint Cup races, Jimmie Johnson comes in as the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook's 4-to-1 favorite ahead of Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on the basis of his track-best nine career victories.

It doesn't matter that Johnson hasn't won in the past 13 races scheduled on the season. It's Chase time and no one has won more times than he has -- especially at Dover where he's won six of the past 11 races held on the high-banked 1-mile concrete oval. The six-time Sprint Cup champ has won the last two Dover races which trumps every kind of stat -- even the ridiculous type of run Penske is on.

Sure, we haven't seen Johnson win since getting his first career victory at Michigan way back in June, but over the past six races, we have seen Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus make noticeable improvements with three top-5 finishes. If there is one track that can get Johnson and his crew going, it's Dover. If there was ever a go-time for the No. 48 team, it's this weekend.

Keselowski has only one career win at Dover, but it came during his 2012 season when he won the title. I like to compare the Dover set-up to Bristol, even though Bristol is a half-mile shorter -- but still on high banks and on concrete -- and Keselowski is one of the best at Bristol. He's the 5-to-1 second choice to win on Sunday.

MORE NASCAR: Brad Keselowski continues to lead Sprint Cup odds

If we look at the top-5 finishers from the first Dover race in June and Bristol in late August, you'll see that three drivers finished fourth or better in each. You have Johnson, Keselowski and Matt Kenseth being dialed in for each and those are the three drivers to focus on Sunday.

Kenseth is a two-time winner at Dover and was third at both Dover and Bristol this season. He's searching for his first win of 2014 and this may present his best opportunity outside of Talladega where the Joe Gibbs Racing team still has an advantage.

Jeff Gordon is a four-time winner at Dover, but hasn't won there since 2001. He comes in at 6-to-1 odds only because of what he's done all season, which is lead the entire series with 18 top-10 finishes. This season he won at Michigan and Indianapolis -- just like 2001 when he won his last Sprint Cup title -- and there's no reason to believe he can't keep the flashback scene going this week. The dude is fast just about everywhere this season.

Are there any long shots that can win this race?

It would seem doubtful. Longshots in the form of Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 15-to-1 seem possible as does the desperate Kasey Kahne at 25-to-1, but it seems illogical to think anyone but a Penske or Hendrick Motorsports driver can win this race.

Over the years, the last real long shot to win was Tony Stewart during a 2001 sweep and Ricky Rudd in 1997. Before that it was Kyle Petty in 1995. If there is anything that is certain about Dover it's that the cream rises to the top and in this case it's Penske or Hendrick that should be rising.

Read More Here....Westgate SuperBook Dover odds

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