AAA 400 2013: Start Time, Lineup, TV Schedule and More
With eight races to go in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Matt Kenseth will try to protect his slim points lead in Dover at the AAA 400 on Sunday.
After winning both of the Chase's first two races, Kenseth holds a 14-point lead over Kyle Busch and is 18 points ahead of third-place Jimmie Johnson.
The standings are tight, and this is still anyone's championship. For instance, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in 11th place, but he is trailing the points leader by just 62 points. Also, Earnhardt managed to snag the pole at Dover, and he did so in record fashion:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins pole at Dover with track record lap of 161.849 mph— Bucky Birt (@BuckyBirt) September 27, 2013
Of course, Kenseth is right alongside him. NASCAR's hottest driver will start in second.
All of this sets up for what should be an exciting race—it always is in Dover anyway.
When: Sunday, Sept. 29, 2 p.m. ET
Where: Dover International Speedway, Dover, Del.
Live Stream: ESPN3
Starting Lineup (via NASCAR.com)
|POS||driver||Car #||Make||Sponsor||Best Speed||Best Time||Behind|
|1||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||88||Chevrolet||National Guard||161.849||22.243||Leader|
|2||Matt Kenseth||20||Toyota||No. 20 Home Depot "Let's Do This" Toyota||161.805||22.249||--0.006|
|3||Ryan Newman||39||Chevrolet||State Water Heaters||161.740||22.258||--0.015|
|6||Brad Keselowski||2||Ford||Miller Lite||161.594||22.278||--0.035|
|8||Jimmie Johnson||48||Chevrolet||Lowe's / Kolbalt Tools||161.341||22.313||--0.070|
|9||Kurt Busch||78||Chevrolet||Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet||161.326||22.315||--0.072|
|10||Martin Truex Jr.||56||Toyota||NAPA Shocks||161.204||22.332||--0.089|
|11||Joey Logano||22||Ford||Shell Pennzoil||161.023||22.357||--0.114|
|13||Juan Pablo Montoya||42||Chevrolet||Target||160.736||22.397||--0.154|
|14||Kyle Busch||18||Toyota||Interstate Batteries||160.721||22.399||--0.156|
|15||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||17||Ford||FORD ECO BOOST||160.714||22.400||--0.157|
|18||Denny Hamlin||11||Toyota||FedEx Freight||160.557||22.422||--0.179|
|20||Kasey Kahne||5||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||160.371||22.448||--0.205|
|21||Paul Menard||27||Chevrolet||Menards / CertainTeed||160.249||22.465||--0.222|
|22||Brian Vickers||55||Toyota||Aaron's Dream Machine||160.100||22.486||--0.243|
|23||Clint Bowyer||15||Toyota||Raspberry 5-Hour Energy benefiting Living Beyond Breast Cancer||159.851||22.521||--0.278|
|26||Casey Mears||13||Ford||No. 13 GEICO Ford Fusion||158.611||22.697||--0.454|
|27||David Ragan||34||Ford||Taco Bell||158.451||22.720||--0.477|
|28||David Gilliland||38||Ford||Long John Silver's||158.263||22.747||--0.504|
|29||Mark Martin||14||Chevrolet||Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops||157.992||22.786||--0.543|
|30||Travis Kvapil||93||Toyota||Burger King-Dr. Pepper||157.929||22.795||--0.552|
|32||J.J. Yeley||36||Chevrolet||Drive Sober Arrive Alive||157.549||22.850||--0.607|
|33||Cole Whitt||30||Toyota||Swan Energy||157.336||22.881||--0.638|
|34||Michael McDowell||98||Ford||Phil Parsons Racing||156.883||22.947||--0.704|
|35||Reed Sorenson||95||Ford||Leavine Family Racing||156.692||22.975||--0.732|
|36||Ryan Truex||51||Chevrolet||Shooters Sporting Center||156.644||22.982||--0.739|
|37||Landon Cassill||33||Chevrolet||Little Joe's Autos.com||156.495||23.004||--0.761|
|38||Josh Wise||35||Ford||MDS Transport||156.203||23.047||--0.804|
|39||David Reutimann||83||Toyota||Burger King-Dr. Pepper||155.595||23.137||--0.894|
|42||Timmy Hill||32||Ford||U.S. Chrome||154.526||23.297||--1.054|
Drivers to Watch
Kenseth has to be encouraged by his strong qualifying run. But while the 41-year-old has to be brimming with confidence due to his recent form, the Monster Mile might just knock it right out of him.
Who will finish highest?
He was 40th in Dover earlier this year and was able to run just 159 laps. In this race last year, he went 371 laps and finished just 35th. If he suffers another showing like that, the points race is going to look far different.
However, it isn't all demons at Dover for Kenseth—far from it. He's won there twice and has finished in the top five in eight of his past 11 starts.
Kenseth's start to the Chase, while impressive, certainly doesn't mean he will go onto win the Cup. Greg Biffle pulled off back-to-back wins to start the Chase in 2008 and wound up finishing in third place. Then again, Tony Stewart pulled off double wins to start the Chase in 2011 and he did win the Cup that year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt's Chase got off to a terrible start when car troubles knocked him out of the Chicagoland race. So, after the first race of the Chase, Earnhardt already had very little margin for error.
Despite the poor start, he is proving that it's far too early to count him out of this race. He was sixth last week, and now he posted his record qualifying bid.
Now, Earnhardt has to try and improve on that result—and he is in good shape to do so. His car obviously has the speed, and he's been solid at the Monster Mile recently. He was 10th here earlier in the year and 11th in this race last year.
For a driver that has spent his career racking up victories but never showing the consistency needed to win a championship, Kyle Busch's start to the Chase must be accounted for. He has back-to-back second-place finishes, which is a great sign for Busch's mentality.
There were times in Busch's career where staring at the back of Kenseth's car for two consecutive seconds would have turned him into Goofy in traffic. Busch is serious about winning his first Cup, though, and he's showing he has the maturity to pull that off.
He also has been in great form at Dover as of late. He was fourth earlier in the year there and was seventh in this race last year.
After a solid qualifying run, Busch will be near the front, starting in 14th, and he should be headed towards another top finish.
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