Dover International Speedway, Dover, DE — May 5, 2019
Chase Elliott(9), last week’s winner at Talladega, sits on the pole today for the Gander RV 400 from Dover International Speedway. Elliott seems to always run well at the Monster Mile, can he make it two in a row? A two-hour rain delay pushed back the start of the race until just after 4 pm.
Just as 37 cars took the track for warm-up laps, the rain began again. Bringing the field back to pit road before the green flag could wave. The skies opened and drenched the track. With more rain in the forecast, NASCAR postponed the race until Noon on Monday.
A Day Later
Partly cloudy blue skies greeted the competitors on Monday for the green flag scheduled shortly after noon. Sunday’s rain continued into the night washing the track clean. NASCAR scheduled a competition caution for Lap 40 to allow teams to check tires and chassis adjustments.
Stages for the Gander RV 400 are 120/120/160 laps. Last year’s winner, Kevin Harvick(4), starts 6th. Four cars failed the pre-race inspection and will move to the rear of the filed for the green flag. Martin Truex Jr.(19), Matt Tifft(36), Ryan Preece(47), and Alex Bowman(88).
Elliott jumped out quickly to a one-second lead, lapping 13 cars before the caution flew on Lap 40. He was also the first to leave pit road after the competition yellow stop. No one experienced tire problems during the opening portion of the race.
Joey Logano(22) maintained the second position through the initial run and he exited the pits just behind Elliott.
On the restart, after the scheduled caution, Logano got a great jump. But, he could not take the lead away from Elliott who again began to stretch the advantage at the front of the field.
Kyle Larson(42) passed Logano to move into the second spot. While Logano could not catch Elliott, Larson began to chip away at the lead. With 35 laps to go in the opening Stage, Martin Truex Jr.(19) drove into the top 10 after starting at the rear of the field. A few laps later Alex Bowman(88), who also was penalized for inspection violations, joined Truex in the top 10.
With 15 laps to go, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(17) had his right front go down and he hit the wall bringing out the caution for the 2nd time. Logano, who only took 2 tires on his pit stop, was 1st out of the pits followed by William Byron(24). Elliott, who changed all 4 tires exited 3rd.
With 5 laps to go in Stage 1, Quin Houff experienced a right front tire failure and like Stenhouse, he also hit the wall bringing out a caution. Using a quick caution format, where anyone can pit regardless of laps down, NASCAR was able to restart the stage with 1 lap to go. Logano, Brad Keselowski(2), Elliott, and Kevin Harvick(4) lined up for the race to the Stage win.
Logano held on to win the Stage. The top 4 finished as they started with the exception of Larson nudging out Harvick for the 4th position.
Stage 1 Results
* Ford Mustang Drivers
Logano, unhappy with the set of tires he had on for the final few laps, and William Byron(24) were the only 2 lead lap cars to pit on the stage ending caution.
Keselowski and Elliott led the field to the restart. With the race leader starting on the outside row they are able to launch fast into Turn 1. Keselowski proved that point as he outraced Elliott for the top spot.
Green flag pit stops began at the halfway point of the Stage. After pit stops cycled through it was Elliott back out front and Keselowski in second. Until Bowman moved past and began to track down his Hendrick Motorsports teammate.
With 20 laps to go in the Stage, Bowman was on the bumper of Elliott. Battling side by side for a couple of laps allowed Harvick, in 3rd, to close up on the leaders. With 17 laps to go Bowman moved to the front with Harvick following him pass Elliott into 2nd.
As the laps wound down Harvick made a run at Bowman, but could not complete the pass. Truex joined the battle and jumped ahead of Harvick. After taking the white flag for one lap to go in the stage, Bowman drove too high into Turn 1 allowing Truex to pass on the inside. Stealing the Stage win for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
Stage 2 Results
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||10|
* Ford Mustang Drivers
The Final Stage
They lined up coming to the Final Stage restart with Truex out front. Followed by Bowman, Elliott, Harvick, and Keselowski. With 135 laps to go, Denny Hamlin brought out a caution when he cut down a right rear tire and spun trying to get to pit road.
Almost all the leaders stayed on track with the exception of Kyle Busch. After brushing the wall earlier, Busch wanted to make sure the fenders weren’t rubbing and could cause a problem similar to Hamlins.
Back to green and Truex again started to add to his lead interval.
Green Flag Pit Stops
Pit stops under the green flag during the final stage began on Lap 80. After everyone had made their way to the pits for service Truex was back out front with a 4-second lead and only 12 cars on the lead lap.
With 40 laps to go, the last to first twins Truex and Bowman ran 1st and second. Truex led by a little under 4 seconds with Bowman almost 4 seconds up on 3rd place Larson.
By the finish, Truex had doubled his lead and coasted to the easy victory, His 2nd win of the year and 21st cup victory of his career. Bowman finished 2nd. Dover was the site of Truex first Cup Series victory and this was the 2nd time he has won a race there on Monday after a rain delay.
Next Saturday the Series stops in Kansas for some night racing. With a 7:30 pm start on tap for the Digital Ally 400.
Results of the Gander RV 400 from The Monster Mile at Dover
|1||19||Martin Truex Jr.||—||400|
|33||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||-14||386|
Points / Playoff Standings
|3||Martin Truex Jr.||368||2|
|Playoff Cut Line|
*Ford Mustang Drivers