Dover International Speedway, Dover, DE — October 6, 2019
Today’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, the Drydene 400 from Dover International Speedway, begins round two of the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs. It’s also the 50th anniversary of the track and the 100th running of a Cup Series race at the Delaware Speedway.
Aric Almirola(10), Ryan Newman(6), Kurt Busch(1), and Erik Jones(20) were eliminated after last week’s Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte.
Playoff Points Reset
At the start of each round of the playoffs, points reset to a new level plus the playoff points earned year to date. Kyle Busch(18) and Martin Truex Jr.(19) have a huge advantage with 46 and 41 playoff points to start Round 2. Kyle Larson(42) sits on the bubble with 6 extra points. Alex Bowman(88), Ryan Blaney(12), William Byron(24), and Clint Bowyer(14) start in the elimination positions. These four drivers will have to post a win or fight their way into the top eight places to advance to Round 3.
|2||19||Martin Truex Jr||3041||-5|
The Monster Mile is 400 laps/miles of difficult racing.
Stages are 120/120/160 and will test the entire field of 38 drivers. Denny Hamlin starts on the pole with Kyle Larson next to him on the front row.
Last week’s winner Chase Elliott won last year’s edition of the race, he starts 5th today. Truex won at Dover in the Spring. Championship points leader Kyle Busch starts 18th.
During the warm-up laps, Joey Logano(22) brought his car to the pits. A broken axle and differential gear problems sent his car to the garage for repairs. He missed the green flag.
Hamlin drove off into Turn 1 with the lead as cars settled into position rather quickly. Eight laps into the race, Elliott’s engine let go and he dropped out of the competition. Two playoff contenders in the garage after the first 10 laps of the event. Logano’s crew was able to repair the rear end in his car and he returned to the track 23 laps down.
Hamlin began lapping cars after a third of the laps in Stage 1 had been completed. The slower traffic allowed Kyle Larson(42) to close and attempt a pass for the lead. Larson led for a lap before Hamlin was able to retake the top spot. Almost 60 laps in, it was Larson that got boxed in by slower cars allowing Truex to close up. Ultimately Truex was able to pass Larson and begin to track down Hamlin for the lead.
Green Flag Pit Stops
Larson was the first of the leaders to pit on Lap 76. Hamlin followed one lap later. Not wanting to lose track position to drivers with fresher tires, most of the field began heading for pit road.
After pit stops cycled through it was Hamlin back out front. Followed by Truex, Larson, William Byron(24), and Kevin Harvick(4). Hamlin held on for the Stage win picking up the 10 bonus points and another playoff point.
Stage 1 Results
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||9|
* Ford Mustang Drivers
Kyle Busch was penalized for speeding on pit road and starts Stage 2 at the rear of the field. A total of 18 cars remain on the lead lap heading to the restart.
Hamlin exited the pits first and held onto the top spot. Truex restarted 2nd and Harvick 3rd. Harvick got a great jump at the drop of the green flag and passed Truex for 2nd. Everyone settled into position and appeared content to just make laps.
With 55 laps to go in Stage 2, most of the leaders hit pit road. Truex, who had pitted a couple of laps earlier was looking for the lead. Hamlin retained the top spot, Truex replaced Harvick in 2nd. Byron was caught speeding on pit road and had to serve a drive-thru penalty dropping him 2 laps behind the leaders.
Hamlin had led 219 laps until Truex passed him with 12 laps to go in Stage 2. Logano, 23 laps down, would not yield to the leaders as they were battling for position. Truex won the Stage, Hamlin lost the 2nd position to Larson and Harvick finished 4th just ahead of Jimmie Johnson(48)
Stage 2 Results
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||10|
* Ford Mustang Drivers
The Final Stage
Truex had trouble on his Stage ending pit stop. His rear tire changer slipped coming back to the left side of the car and knocked the air gun out of its locked state. The #19 car exited the pits in the 6th position. Larson came out in 1st with Hamlin 2nd, Harvick in 3rd, Erik Jones 4th, and Alex Bowman(88) in 5th.
Attesting to the importance of clean air, Truex tried to make an aggressive move on the restart to get back upfront. He could not make it stick and dropped back into position. Jones passed Harvic for 3rd and the race settled into what was expected to be a long run to the next pit stop. Cautions, if they occur, may determine the pit strategy of one or two stops to get to the end of the race. Only 14 cars remain on the lead lap for the run to the end of the final Stage.
More Trouble for Playoff Drivers
With 100 laps to go in the race Ryan Blaney(12) came to pit road complaining of no brakes. His crew took a quick look and sent him to the garage to see if the problem could be repaired.
Larson built his lead to over five seconds. But, the fastest car all day, Martin Truex Jr., moved to second with just under 100 laps to go to the finish.
Green flag pit stops began with 80 laps to go. After service on all the cars was complete, Larson was still in the lead and had built his advantage over Truex to six seconds. With 40 laps to go Larson got stuck in lapped traffic and Truex cut the lead to under two seconds.
When Larson cleared the lapped traffic he began to rebuild his lead on Truex. With 20 laps to go the interval was over four seconds. With 10 laps to the end, Truex had cut it to under three seconds. He was able to get within a second and a half, but ran out of laps as Larson took the win and the automatic advancement to the next round of the playoffs. The first time a Chip Ganassi driver has made it to the round of eight.
The big loser at Dover was Ryan Blaney, his brake issue cost him dearly as he sits in 12th place 22 points behind the last advancement position. Logano’s axle problem cost him a lot of points, the 29 playoff points he brought with him into the round kept him in it. He’s tied on the bubble.
First, through 5th appear in good shape to advance. From 6th on down it’s a real battle for the final three spots. Blaney is not yet in a must-win position, but he needs a strong run next week at Talladega in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 to earn enough points to have a chance to advance past Kansas.
|Rank||Car||DRIVER||Position to Cut Line|
|1||42||Kyle Larson||Advanced with Win|
|2||19||Martin Truex Jr.||63|
|Round 2 Cut Line|
Results of the Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway
|1||42||Kyle Larson (P)||—||400|
|2||19||Martin Truex Jr. (P)||1.578||400|
|3||88||Alex Bowman (P)||8.568||400|
|4||4||Kevin Harvick (P)||9.017||400|
|5||11||Denny Hamlin (P)||15.848||400|
|6||18||Kyle Busch (P)||22.202||400|
|10||14||Clint Bowyer (P)||-1||399|
|11||2||Brad Keselowski (P)||-1||399|
|13||24||William Byron (P)||-2||398|
|16||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||-2||398|
|34||22||Joey Logano (P)||-25||375|
|35||12||Ryan Blaney (P)||-103||297|
|38||9||Chase Elliott (P)||-392||8|