When NASCAR makes the trip north to pay "Miles the Monster" a visit during the Chase, it's one event that many drivers circle on their Chase calendars.
Of course, Talladega may loom later in the Chase, but this track presents just as many challenges, and possibly may be the toughest track in the Chase. One reason is that the drivers often have more control of their surroundings.
Sunday afternoon, that became a reality. At the same time, the theme of the AAA 400 at Dover was also about mistakes and bad luck.
At the beginning of the race, the talk of the garage was Clint Bowyer and how he would recover from the penalties levied last week. The answer...not well. A smack off the wall put his hopes of making up for the 150-point loss went out the window in an instant.
Bowyer finished 25th, and fell further behind in the standings as he remained 12th in the Chase.
Meanwhile, the biggest feel-good driver that was not involved in the Chase was A.J. Allmendinger. He was backing up his performance from May by leading over 140 laps. If it had not been for a flat tire after the first round of green flag stops, he would have been a contender in the second half of the race.
But, that team rebounded extremely well and brought home a 10th-place finish. The No. 43 team was strong, and it was great seeing that car out front.
The other strong car in the Chase that was not among the picks this week was Jeff Burton. After having Denny Hamlin call out Richard Childress Racing earlier in the weekend, he and Burton's teammate, Kevin Harvick, hand a few in-practice incidents.
Practice, not the race, during practice. Harvick would not be as big a threat in the race, but Burton would step up and show how much RCR has improved for the 2010 Chase.
He drove to the front and would definitely have the win if the race was longer. But, finishing second is nothing to be ashamed about.
Our creatures had their picks spread out among many of the past winners, every one of them in the Chase.
The most popular pick was Greg Biffle, and he had a solid car for a majority of the race. But, late in the going as the track got more rubber laid down, the handling went away.
It was disappointing as he would finish 19th.
The second most popular pick was "Cousin" Carl Edwards. He would be the top driver in the Roush-Fenway brigade as he would finish in fifth.
But, this week, one writer had his pick right on the money, and in essence, had a clean sweep on race day. Jimmie Johnson won the pole, led 191 of the 400 laps to get another five bonus points, and took the checkered flag.
If the No. 48 team is getting their groove back, they picked the right time to do so. The victory is Johnson's sixth of the season, and now he finds himself second in the Chase, right where he was entering New Hampshire.
One creature got the pick right, but the standings are still extremely close. Here is how the writers stack up after Dover:
Dustin Parks (5,390) Kyle Busch finished sixth (5)
Christopher Leone (5,375) Carl Edwards finished fifth (4)
Rob Tiongson (5,365) Carl Edwards finished fifth (2)
Alan Wade (5,360) Jimmie Johnson WON (2)
James Broomhead (5,316) Greg Biffle finished 19th (4)
Misan Ayuka (5,276) Carl Edwards finished fifth (2)
Kara Martin (5,224) Greg Biffle finished 19th (3)
Kyle Brandt (5,222) Greg Biffle finished 19th (2)
Billy Fellin (5,136) Greg Biffle finished 19th (3)
NEXT RACE: After escaping the "Monster Mile," NASCAR is heading to the plains. Don't expect Dorothy, the Tin Man, or the Cowardly Lion to be part of this trip. But do expect some twists in the heart of Tornado Alley.
Race No. 3 in the Chase is the Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods. The track is the Kansas Speedway, a 1.5-mile sweeping tri-oval that last year saw Tony Stewart get his fourth win of the season. Could he get his second win of the season at the same track?
Creatures, have your picks for Kansas e-mailed to me by 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 30.