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Wurth 400 at Dover Motor Speedway

Another superspeedway race, another new winner.


All three superspeedway races this season have supplied drivers with their first victory of the season after William Byron won the Daytona 500, Daniel Suarez won at Atlanta, and now Tyler Reddick punches his playoff ticket with a win at Talladega.


Was Reddick the most surprising driver to pick up a win at ‘Dega last week? Not by a long shot, but he found himself in the right place at the right time as Ford threw away another potential superspeedway win when Michael McDowell spun off the nose of Brad Keselowski entering the tri-oval on the final lap.


The win was Reddick’s first at a superspeedway in the Cup Series. As stated in last week’s article (where I advised bettors stay away from Reddick… whoops…) Reddick snapped a 0-for-18 streak at superspeedways to open his Cup Series career.


Talladega as a whole wasn’t the most exciting race I’ve seen. Like most superspeedway racing, it was a fuel-saving parade for most of the race, while the final 30ish laps produced high-speed side-by-side racing where nobody could fight their way to the front of the pack.


A third lane formed late in the race, but moving out there ruined the finishes of drivers such as Ty Gibbs, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Blaney just to name a few.


It’s a tough era to be a fan of superspeedway racing. Gone seem to be the days of driving through the pack and using the draft to earn a win. Runs don’t materialize like they used to and the slicing and dicing through the pack seems like a distant memory.


If NASCAR is deciding this kind of racing is better for safety, all they have to do is look at some of the crashes we’ve seen in the Next Gen era. Ryan Blaney in the fall Daytona race last year, Ryan Preece in the same race, Erik Jones on Sunday.


Jones’ big hit led him to a hospital visit and now news has come out that he has compressed discs in his back that will force him out of the car for at least this weekend at Dover.


Thankfully, Jones should make a full recovery, but this is the same injury that kept Alex Bowman out for three weeks last season, Denny Hamlin for four races in 2013 and Aric Almirola for seven races in 2017.


He’ll now have to win his way into the playoffs at some point, because I doubt someone in a points situation like Jones can afford to miss any time and expect to point their way in.


So, this week we move on to Dover. I’m hoping we see some good racing, but I’m willing to bet it ends up being difficult to pass. Dover can thrive under the right conditions, but I don’t think those conditions are possible in late April.


Back when Dover used to host races in the 100-degree July heat and tire wear was something that actually happened, Dover was a wide racetrack that offered multiple grooves of racing. The issue with the concrete is that if it doesn’t heat up, the fastest way around is always going to be the bottom of the track, and we know that aero-wise cars aren’t able to get close enough to each other to bump or dump air on another driver’s spoiler to get them loose.


Therefore, if the track doesn’t heat up, we’ll only have one groove; and if we have only one groove, we won’t have any passing. Hope for a hot sunny day on Sunday.


Last spring, Martin Truex Jr. picked up the win on a Monday. He led 68 laps in the victory, though William Byron probably had the bast car all day. Byron led a race-high 193 laps but came home with a third-place finish.


Dover has been a playground for Hendrick Motorsports for a long time. Jimmie Johnson won 11 times here to go with Jeff Gordon’s five wins. Geoff Bodine, Ken Schrader, Chase Elliott, and Alex Bowman have all also won for Team Hendrick at the track.


Certainly, Joe Gibbs Racing is the team that is most likely to prevent a Hendrick win this weekend. We’ll have to see if they, or anyone else can do so.


Make sure to follow me on Twitter (X) @WKFCody for my most up-to-date bets. I’ll tweet out my full card Sunday morning before the green flag.


One more quick plug, make sure to sign up for our NASCAR One & Done. Pick a driver to win every week and accumulate points all season long. Even if you missed the first quarter of the season, it’s still a fun time, and you can still possibly win some prizes.


Now, on to Dover.

 

Track Facts

The Wurth 400 is a 400-mile (400-lap) race around the 1-mile oval at Dover Motor Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Just like Talladega last week, Dover Motor Speedway has been a part of NASCAR’s schedule since 1969. Richard Petty won each of the first two races at the track, though those races were just 300 miles. Dover started running 500-mile races in 1971 and ran exclusively 500-mile races until 1997 when the distance was shortened to 400 miles. Dover had typically run two races per year, but starting in 2021, the track was dropped back to one date on the schedule. Jimmie Johnson holds the current record with 11 career wins at the track, a record that likely won’t be broken anytime soon, as the active driver with the most Dover wins is currently Martin Truex Jr. with four.

 

Who’s Hot?

Tyler Reddick comes off his first career superspeedway win and looks to carry the momentum into Dover, another track where his career numbers haven’t been great, but have gotten better since joining 23XI Racing. In his first four Dover races, Reddick carded just one top-10 finish, but in his lone race with 23XI last season, Reddick finished seventh. Depending on the track, weather conditions and tire compound, we could see some of the racing that Reddick thrives on – ripping the fence. I’d be somewhat surprised – although pleased – to see that type of a race unfold, but if it does, Reddick could easily find himself in the mix to go back-to-back.





Brad Keselowski enters Dover having finished P2 in back-to-back races at Texas and Talladega. Keselowski has improved his position in the point standings over those races and now finds himself inside the current playoff cut line by nine points over RFK teammate Chris Buescher. Dover has been a solid track for Keselowski throughout the years, and RFK Racing has been solid there lately. Keselowski has earned one career Dover win but is also coming of an eighth-place finish last year at the track. RFK - and Ford as a whole for that matter – seems to be a step behind where they were last year at this point, so I’m not overly excited for Brad this weekend. I’m going to keep a close eye on practice to see how RFK and the rest of the Ford banner stand up to the typical strong teams like Gibbs and Hendrick.


William Byron remains on the list following a strong Talladega run. Byron finished seventh at Talladega, extending his top-10 finishing streak to five consecutive races and lifting him to fourth in the point standings. Byron enters Dover on a hot streak, and Dover is historically one of the best racetracks for Team Hendrick. Though Byron has not won at Dover, he does have three fourth place finishes in his last four races at the track. If he’s able to pick up a victory on Sunday, Byron would become the third different Hendrick driver to win a race at Dover in the last four races at the track.

 

Drivers I Like

Chase Elliott leads us off here as the most recent Team Hendrick driver to earn a victory at Dover. Elliott’s win in 2022 was his second career victory at Dover and his ninth career top 5. Elliott has finished top-5 in nine of 13 of his career Dover races, giving him a lifetime average finish of 9.8 at the track. In the four races that Elliott has not finished top-5 at Dover, two of them were due to mechanical failures and one was last season when he was coming freshly off his leg injury. Elliott also has two career poles at the track and has qualified top-10 in eight of the last nine races at Dover. Look for him to have incredible speed this weekend.





Ross Chastain has had quite a few solid Dover finishes over his abbreviated time in the Cup Series. Since joining Trackhouse Racing at the beginning of the 2022 season, Chastain has finished third and second in his two Dover races. He has led a combined 184 laps in those two races and won stage two of last season’s race before coming home runner-up to Martin Truex Jr. He looks to carry his recent Dover success over to this season, and I think he can. Currently, Chastain is just one of three drivers in the top-10 in the point standings that does not race for Hendrick Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing.


Martin Truex Jr. is the winningest active driver at Dover, having won here four times, including last season’s iteration of the race. Truex also has wins in 2019, 2016 and 2007 at the track. Truex has led laps in six of the last seven Dover races and finished either first or second in five of those races. Not much more has to be said for the veteran, he races for Joe Gibbs Racing – one of the hottest teams in the series right now – and doesn’t often have bad races here. Bet him with confidence this week. If you can find +700 or better, I’d make it an auto-bet.

 

Drivers to Avoid

Joey Logano finds himself on the avoid list for multiple reasons this week. First off, Logano is a Ford driver. Ford has failed to find its way to victory lane yet this season in any of NASCAR’s top three series, so I don’t know that their equipment is quite up to par at this point. Logano has also surprisingly never won a race at Dover. Logano doesn’t always finish poorly at Dover, in fact he has top-10 in five of his last eight Dover races, but he has been unable to find victory lane. Last year Logano was involved in a crash and finished 31st. The year prior, he completely missed the setup enroute to a 29th place finish. I’d imagine he’s better than that this week, but I’m not putting my money on a win, or even a top-10 finish for that matter. Logano hasn’t led more than 16 laps in a single Dover race in his entire career.


Chase Briscoe is also in the Ford camp, so I’m counting him out as well. But that isn’t the only reason. Briscoe has run three career Dover races and finished 30th or worse in two of those three. Briscoe has never led a lap at Dover and has never finished better than 13th. A feat he accomplished in the only season of his career when he qualified for the postseason. SHR has been marginally better this year, but I can’t see Briscoe taking a huge jump this weekend.


Let’s go ahead and make it a Ford sweep in this section this week. Michael McDowell may have run up front last week at Talladega with a chance to win coming into the tri-oval on the final lap, but Dover has been a terrible track for him throughout his career. Since taking over the #34 car prior to the 2018 season, McDowell has finished better than 20th on just one occasion at Dover: a 17th-place finish in 2022. McDowell is a really strong superspeedway and road course guy, but the high-speed ovals are not his cup of tea. Leave him out of any fantasy lineups and avoid betting him this week.

 

Keep an eye on…




Alex Bowman has been one of the best here over the past few races. Bowman has the best average finish at Dover over the past three races (3.0) which includes a win. Bowman missed last year’s race with an injury, but Josh Berry wheeled his #48 Hendrick Chevy to a tenth-place finish. Bowman has finished top-5 in five of the last six Dover races and has led 116 laps in that span. Bowman has been the forgotten Hendrick driver this season, but Dover gives him one of his best opportunities to pick up a win to draw even with Hendrick teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott.


Similarly to Bowman, Ty Gibbs has seemingly been the odd man out at Joe Gibbs Racing this season. He doesn’t have wins like teammates Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell and he’s not as high in the point-standings as Martin Truex Jr., but Dover could be a sneaky good track for the young star still looking for his first win. In one career race at Dover, Gibbs finished 13th, but he has taken a large step forward as far as speed goes this year. In the Xfinity Series, Gibbs finished top-5 in both of his career Dover attempts. JGR has speed this year, so I’d expect Gibbs to contend this weekend.


Ricky Stenhouse Jr. isn’t the typical guy you think of when good Dover racers come to mind, but maybe he should. Stenhouse has surprisingly been quite good here in the Next Gen era. In 2022 he finished second to Chase Elliott and last season he qualified in the top-10 before coming home with a 15th-place finish. I’m not in on Stenhouse to win this race, but a top-10 may not be out of the question for a guy that has been decent here lately.

 

Current Bets

I’ve got nothing on the book yet, but here is what I have my eye on (all lines via DraftKings):


To Win:

Ross Chastain +750

Alex Bowman +1600

 

Top-10:

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +350

 

Be sure to follow Cody (@WKFCody) on X for his most up-to-date NASCAR bets and weekly NASCAR betting card posted on Sunday mornings. Also, listen to the WKF NASCAR Podcast anywhere you get your podcasts. The WKF NASCAR Podcast comes out at 7 a.m. every Friday morning over the course of the season.


Don’t forget to join our WKF Fantasy NASCAR One & Done! For more information, DM @WKFCody or @WKFNate on X.

 

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