The Autism Speaks 400 marks the official halfway point in the until the cutoff for the Chase to the Sprint Cup. Dover is a one mile concrete track, it's tough on tires, and even tougher on drivers. So with that in mind, here's a quick recap of last week and what you can expect this week.
The Coca-Cola 600 turned into the 24 hours of Lowe's, with David Reutimann scoring his first career win. The hot topic in the garage, Tony Eury Jr., gone as Dale Earnhardt Jr. crew chief. How will this change his season? It can only get better, when you struggled as he did last week, driving to a 40th (40th?) place finish something had to be change.
On this week at Dover here is what you need to know
THE BIG THREE
1. Only one driver in Sprint Cup Series history has won the spring race at Dover and has gone on to win the Sprint Cup championship in the same season (Jeff Gordon 2001).
2. Roush Dominance- Roush Racing has won five of the last 10 races here at Dover, including a sweep of the top three spots last year here in the fall race.
3. Changes in the 88 team- Out is Tony Eury Jr., enter Lance McGrew. Don't expect things to turn around here though, he was one in here but an average finish of 17.3
1. Carl Edwards- Cousin Carl has another nickname...Concrete Carl, and right fully so. Edwards has three wins at Dover and the only driver in the field with a an average finish under 10 (7.7). His last five races here, no finishes outside the top three. He's coming off a fourth-place run at Lowes so look for him to be strong here.
2. Ryan Newman- Speaking of momentum, no driver has been hotter than the man they call rocket-man. Four straight top fives, and we come to one of his best tracks. Four poles and three wins are on his resume here and he in the best equipment he has in two years here.
3. Greg Biffle- He been the most consistent of the Roush drivers this year, and he won the fall race last year, another victory in 2005 gives him to wins at this track. Expect for "The Biff" to have a very strong run here this Sunday.
4. Mark Martin- The ageless wonder has already posted to win this year and could very well grab another one this week as very few track has given more success to Martin than this on. Four wins, 21 top fives and 28 top tens, and with the best equipment he had maybe eve, he should add to those numbers.
5. Matt Kenseth-Another Roush car with a good record at this track. He has one win here and has five top tens in his last six starts. He posted back to back top 10's for the first time since he won the opening two race this year, a sigh that he could be turning the corner.
THE DARK HORSES
1. David Reuitmann- He may not have great stats here—17th, 18th, and 27th are his results in three starts. But Reuitmann has one thing going for him, confidence. His first career win should push him to greater things this year, and he has been fast where ever we gone this year.
2. Martin Truex Jr.- He has been all that great this year, but he runs very well here, his only career win as here. With teammate Juan Pablo Montoya running well as of late, you can at least expect at top 15 out of Truex.
3. Jamie Mcmurray- Yet another Roush driver who could win this race. He was very fast in the fall race before a late accident took him out. McMurray has been rather pedestrian this year, so this could be the break out he needs.
4. Juan Pablo Montoya- Mr. Montoya has been very stead this year, and expect that trend to continue this week, he has a top 10 here and general runs well here, with Truex as his teammate, don't be surprise if Montoya ends up in the top 10.
YOUR SUPER SLEEPER IS
Joey Logano- Sliced Bread has been improving in a big way, three straight ninth-places runs has stamp that the kid for real. Yes he hasn't ran at Dover before, but the kid should at leat be in the top 20 by race end.
But the winner of the Autism Speaks 400 is
Ryan Newman score Stewart-Hass's first points win in Sprint Cup. Roush as a group is down from where they been last year and that should be enough for the rocket-man to pull into victory lane.
PROJECTED TOP 10
1. Ryan Newman
2. Greg Biffle
3. Carl Edwards
4. Mark Martin
5. Matt Kenseth
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Juan Pablo Montoya
9. David Reutimann
10. Martin Truex Jr.