Short-track racing on a big track.
Think of Bristol Motor Speedway on steroids.
Dover International Speedway’s one mile offers a unique blend of a slick, all-concrete racing surface and fast, high-banked corners.
“I enjoy racing at Dover because of the high speeds and the high-banked corners and the high-banked straightaways,” said Jeff Gordon. “You are constantly on the edge and you can find yourself in trouble quickly. The groove widens out and we can run low, middle or high. But this place is tricky because the balance of the car can be different from one end of the track to the other.”
This place gives even a four-time champion and four-time Dover race winner something to think about.
Two-time Dover winner Matt Kenseth brings a mini winless streak with him this weekend. But he may not be winless at the end of the weekend. Ask him what his favorite track is.
“Whenever somebody asks me my favorite track, I always tell them Dover,” said Kenseth in a pre-race interview. “You need everything there. You have to be stable going into the corner, but you always have to turn really good there. It’s hard to find that exact balance, but it’s a fun track because it challenges you every lap whether you’re racing someone or not.”
Eight-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson started his own little win streak last weekend in Charlotte, and he should be on anyone’s short list of potential winners for Sunday’s FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks.
The weather, which is often an issue for the spring race at Dover, looks to be mid-70s perfect all weekend long. Sunday’s Cup race tops off a rare weekend tripleheader, as NASCAR will stage a Camping World Truck Series race on Friday and a Nationwide Series race on Saturday.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a new Danica Patrick, one who is competitive on the 1.5-mile tracks. It will be of great interest to see how she fares on the tricky and fast Dover surface.
Every driver professes to love Dover, yet few have really mastered its unique blend of fast and slick.
Will Sunday’s winner be among the 10 who have already won this season, or will we see a new face in Victory Lane?