As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit rolls into race 13 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware, seven drivers bring wins to the garage where teams will prepare for the “Monster Mile.”
Matt Kenseth leads the victory pack with three wins. Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have won twice this year. Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and David Ragan have one win each.
Wins matter. Johnson, Edwards, Kenseth and Kahne are ranked in the Top Five. Only Ragan is positioned outside the Top 12 with 12 races complete.
One-third of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is now history and all the competitors are still chasing Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team. Whether that remains steady going into the final race at Homestead might be determined by performance and crashes.
The FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks will commence this Sunday, June 2 at 1:00 p.m. ET on the 1-mile concrete track with 24 degree banking. Fans not having a ticket for one the 135,000 seats can catch the action on Fox.
If the speedway's mascot called "Miles the Monster" could speak, he might describe the track like many of the competitors do.
This week, the top-five drivers—Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne—shared their thoughts about competition and the Monster Mile.
Jimmie Johnson and team in the No. 48 Chevrolet seem to find ways to stay on top. Johnson attributes that to diligence. Johnson commented on performance and his point lead.
“Everything that's put in that car is thought through, and if there is something in question there are two or three options that are thought through as well. It's all thought out at many, many deep levels. So that's what I think has helped us stay on top for so many years.”
“I feel good about things. We've got a huge points lead --we've had the wins and there have been tracks that we've been really hot at. But the points lead is huge, and I'd love to keep it that way and roll on into Richmond or the races before Richmond with that kind of points lead so we can lock in.”
Carl Edwards and team in the No. 99 Ford have moved up hung on to second place for the past four races.
“Dover is the most physically demanding oval we go to. It’s fast and if you have trouble, there’s nowhere to hide. We have run extremely well there as a company and I still smile when I remember Matt (Kenseth), Greg (Biffle) and I racing there for the win a few years ago. We plan on getting Subway their second win of the year on Sunday.”
Matt Kenseth has taken the No. 20 Toyota to victory lane three times but hasn’t caught up to Jimmie Johnson in points yet. Kenseth doesn’t waste words, but he commented much about Dover.
“Dover has always been my favorite track. It’s really unique and one of those tracks that you really have to attack. It’s also a track that is difficult to get a fast lap around there by yourself because you’re really on the edge, and then when you put everyone else out there and we’re all racing at the same time, it makes things really interesting. I’ve always enjoyed the challenges of Dover, and any time that you can get a good run at a track that you really like, you always feel good about it. Dover is always a place that I look forward to.”
Clint Bowyer and team have the No. 15 Toyota performing well this season. He has yet to win a race, but remains in the Top-Five.
“I think to give yourself an A you need to win races and we haven’t been able to do that yet. There’s been some setback and through all that we’re still good in points, so we’re happy so far.
“At Dover you just have to race hard. That’s not a track that you can let your guard down at all. You have to be up on the wheel every lap and you have to have to whole package. You can’t be off in any way, shape or form in any area or you’re in trouble.”
Kasey Kahne and team have had multiple second-place finishes in his No. 5 Chevrolet. It appears likely Kahne will add to his single win before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins.
“Our sport is very competitive. Something I definitely want to shoot for is winning races and ultimately winning a championship. That’s why we do it. That’s why Kenny Francis (crew chief) does it and our entire team -- it’s the effort we put in to make that happen. I definitely feel like this is my best shot yet just with the team, Mr. (Rick) Hendrick (team owner) and what he’s done for me, being prepared, having great sponsorship on the car and knowing all the people now and knowing the systems at Hendrick Motorsports.”
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained from personal interviews or official release materials provided by sanction and team representatives.