After a wild Talladega Superspeedway race last Sunday that saw Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch grab his second victory of the 2023 season, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover Motor Speedway for this Sunday’s Würth 400 at 2 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at the always unique ‘Monster Mile’.
Aptly nicknamed the Monster Mile, Dover Motor Speedway is a one-mile concrete paved oval located in Dover, Delaware. Dover Motor Speedway, originally known as Dover Downs International Speedway, has hosted 104 NASCAR Cup Series races dating back to the inaugural event on July 6, 1969.
The first Dover Cup Series race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty driving a Petty Enterprises Ford (115.772 mph, 02:35:28). Petty actually won the first two Cup events at the track (1969, 1970).
In total, the 104 NASCAR Cup Series races at Dover Motor Speedway have produced 43 different pole winners and 39 different race winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the Cup Series in poles at Dover Motor Speedway with six (1969, 1973 sweep, 1974, 1975, 1981). Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin leads all active series drivers in poles at Dover with four (2012, 2013, 2015, 2019).
Eight of the 43 NASCAR Cup Series Dover Motor Speedway pole winners are active this weekend.
|Active Dover Pole Winners||Poles||Seasons|
|Denny Hamlin||4||2019, 2015, 2013, 2012|
|Martin Truex Jr||3||2017, 2011, 2010|
Legacy Motor Club’s Jimmie Johnson holds the NASCAR Cup Series record for the most wins at Dover Motor Speedway with 11 victories (2002 sweep, 2005 Playoffs, 2009 sweep, 2010 Playoffs, Spring of 2012, 2013 Playoffs, Spring of 2014, Spring of 2015, and Spring of 2017). Three drivers are tied for the most wins among active competitors at Dover Motor Speedway – Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch – each have three wins.
Of the 39 different NASCAR Cup Series winners at Dover Motor Speedway, eight are active this weekend.
|Active Dover Race Winners||Wins||Seasons|
|Kevin Harvick||3||2020, 2018, 2015|
|Martin Truex Jr||3||2019. 2016, 2007|
|Kyle Busch||3||2017, 2010, 2008|
|Chase Elliott||2||2022, 2018|
This weekend’s Würth 400 will be 400 laps (400 miles) and will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 120 laps, the second stage will be 130 laps and the final stage will be 150 laps.
All the NASCAR Cup Series on-track action begins on Saturday, April 29 with practice from 10:30 a.m. ET directly followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 11 a.m. ET. You can find practice on FS2 and qualifying will be televised on FS1.
Three teams have dominated Dover over last 18 Cup races (2013-2023)
In the last 18 NASCAR Cup Series races at Dover Motor Speedway (2013-2021) only three teams have visited Victory Lane – Hendrick Motorsports (nine wins during that time), Joe Gibbs Racing (five wins) and Stewart-Haas Racing (four wins).
The most recent to win at Dover Motor Speedway was Hendrick Motorsports, when Chase Elliott drove to the win last season. It was the organization’s, NASCAR Cup Series leading, 22nd victory among seven different drivers at Dover – Jimmie Johnson (11 wins), Jeff Gordon (five), Chase Elliott (two), Geoff Bodine (one), Ken Schrader (one), Ricky Rudd (one) and Alex Bowman (one). Nine of the 22 wins have come in the last 18 races (50%), half of the events from 2013-2022.
Not far behind HMS in wins at Dover is Joe Gibbs Racing with a total of nine NASCAR Cup Series Dover Motor Speedway victories; five of them coming in the last 18 events at the one-mile facility (2013-2022). The most recent Joe Gibbs Racing driver to win at Dover was Denny Hamlin in 2020; followed by Martin Truex Jr. (2019 and 2016), Kyle Busch (2017) and Matt Kenseth (2016).
The third organization to jump in on the wins at Dover Motor Speedway from 2013-2021 was Stewart-Haas Racing with four victories among two drivers – Tony Stewart (2013) and Kevin Harvick (2015, 2018, 2020).
“Dover is a racetrack that everything about it is unique,” said veteran Kevin Harvick. “The concrete, itself, all the way around the racetrack, is unique. Dover is a racetrack where you can get away with being aggressive every single lap. You have to drive the car as hard as it will go every single lap, and that’s hard to do there because there are all the little bumps that come with the concrete, the change of elevation as you go in and off the corners, and all the banking in the corners – it’s just a really, really fast racetrack. It’s also a very physical racetrack just because of all the G’s and the bouncing and everything that comes with driving around Dover. It’s a racetrack where you have to have your hands gripping on the steering wheel and gritting your teeth all at the same time in order to go fast every single lap. When your car’s off, there’s just nowhere to hide there. You wind up going a lap down, probably two laps down, because you pit early and then the caution comes out. It’s a beast of a racetrack and there’s a reason they call it the Monster Mile because you can get yourself in trouble really quick.”
This season, seven different drivers from six different organizations have won at least one race in the first 10 events; led by Kyle Busch, William Byron and Kyle Larson with two victories each. Hendrick Motorsports leads all organizations in wins this season with four victories; followed by Richard Childress Racing with two and JTG Daugherty Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, 23XI Racing and Team Penske each have one win on the year.
Defending Dover winner Chase Elliott is still looking for first win of 2023
Mired back in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after being sidelined earlier this season due to a broken leg, the Cup Series’ Most Popular Driver and defending winner of last season’s race at Dover, Chase Elliott, heads to the Monster Mile this weekend looking to get his first win of the 2023 season; much like he did last season.
This year and last year for Elliott have been vastly different. In 2022, the Dawsonville, Georgia native was atop the point standings heading to Dover and rolled into the one-mile track fast off the hauler. He qualified fourth and led 73 laps en route to his first of five wins last season (Dover, Nashville, Atlanta, Pocono, Talladega).
Elliott returns to Monster Mile looking for his first win of the 2023 season, riding a winless streak that dates back to Talladega on Oct. 2, 2022 – 15 races ago (nine of which he has competed in).
Taming the concrete mile at Dover has come naturally for Elliott though, in 12 series starts at the Monster Mile, he has collected one pole, two wins (2018 and 2022) and nine top-five finishes. He has led 394 laps at Dover and has an average finish of 9.750 – one of just two active drivers with an average finish inside the top-10 along with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson (6.929).
Next Gen delivers high-speed competition
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is off to another highly competitive start and below are some of the statistics that the first 10 races of the season has produced.
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced an average of 11.3 lap leaders per race through the first 10 races of the year; which is the eighth-most in the 52 years of the Modern Era (1972-2023). Up +8.7% from 2022.
In total, 33 different drivers have led laps in the first 10 races of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season; led by Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson with 468 laps led (18.13% of the total 2,581 laps run this season).
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced and average of 23.2 lead changes per race through the first 10 races of the season – the 10th-most in the Modern Era (1972-2023), and up +1.8% from last season’s 22.8 average lead changes.
In total, the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 232 lead changes in the first 10 events – Daytona (52), Fontana (28), Las Vegas (13), Phoenix (10), Atlanta (20), Austin (16), Richmond (22), Bristol Dirt (9), Martinsville (10), Talladega (57) – up four lead changes from last season’s 228 through 10 races.
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced an average Margin of Victory of 1.604-seconds; with three of the 10 races this season finishing with a Margin of Victory of under a second. And five of the first 10 NASCAR Cup Series races this season have resulted in overtime finishes – Daytona, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Austin and Talladega.
Playoff polaroid is coming through but still a little fuzzy
With 10 NASCAR Cup Series races in the books this season, the Playoff picture is somewhat taking shape. So far, seven drivers have earned their spot in the postseason by virtue of a win, leaving nine spots still up for grabs as the series heads to Dover Motor Speedway for the Würth 400 on Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The fast seven that have earned a spot in the Playoffs already this season on wins are Kyle Larson (two wins), Kyle Busch (two wins), William Byron (two wins), Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (each have one win).
Last season, 19 different drivers visited Victory Lane in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott with five wins – including this weekend’s Monster Mile. This season, 12 of the 19 winners last year are looking for their first win of 2023 this weekend – Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Ross Chastain, Alex Bowman, Austin Cindric, Austin Dillon, Bubba Wallace, Chase Briscoe, Chris Buescher, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones. Of the 12 looking for their first win of 2023, four are former Dover Cup winners – Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin.
Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain holds the biggest points cushion between himself and the Playoff cutoff heading into Dover this weekend, up 90 points. Watch for Chastain to be a contender this weekend, he finished third in this race last season.
At the other end of the Playoff outlook sits last season’s Dover pole winner Chris Buescher, currently 16th in the standings 11 points up on Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez in 17th – the first position outside the postseason cutoff. Last season, RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher ran well at Dover. He scored the pole and then posted an eighth-place finish. Suárez finished 14th in last season’s Dover race.
|2023 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Playoff Outlook – Drivers Without Wins Following Race No. 10|
|Rank||Drivers||Points||Starts||Wins||Stages||Playoff Pts||Points From Cutoff|
|10||Martin Truex Jr.||281||10||0||0||0||52|
|20||Ty Gibbs #||199||10||0||0||0||-41|
|31||Noah Gragson #||108||10||0||0||0||-132|
|Note: Must compete in every race of the season to be eligible for the Playoffs or be granted a waiver by NASCAR (*).|