The Round of 12 is set, Chase Elliott winning the 2019 version of the Roval last week. Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, and Erik Jones have officially been eliminated from contention; they’ll get to try again next year. Today we start the next chapter at the Monster Mile, the 50th race at Dover.
Here’s what to look for:
–Denny Hamlin took the Pole in his 500th start. For anyone who likes symmetry and round numbers, starting 1st in your 500th start at the 50th anniversary somewhere is mighty attractive! Factor in that drivers who qualify near the front at this track usually finish there. Look for Denny and his FedEx Toyota to deliver a strong run today.
–Kyle Larson will also start on the front row. He’s got the 4th best average here among active drivers as well (7.7), and should improve that number. He’s yet to capture the flag here, but today could be that day. Larson was 3rd at the Gander RV 400 in the Spring.
–Martin Truex Jr won this race in the spring, and carries a great average finish here (6.1). He claims this as one of his home tracks, and showed in May why that is so. Truex won this Fall race back in 2016, so he knows how to get around here late in the season, too.
–Chase Elliott took the checkers at this track last year, and this time around he’s got plenty more trophies on his shelf. As mentioned above, he won as recent as last week. He’s also got the best average finish of all active drivers over the last 10 races, a 4.4 and has finished out of the Top 5 just once; and that is where he’ll start today: 5th.
–Daniel Suarez is one of the drivers who advanced to the Round of 12, and is 3rd among active drivers over the last ten races (7.6). He’s yet to finish worse than 11th, but if you’re looking for a reason NOT to pick Suarez, that 11th came in the Spring, and he was 10th last Fall. His finishes are getting moderately worse, but he ran 3rd in 2018’s Spring race.
Coverage of the race starts on NBCSN at 2:30pm, green flag scheduled for 2:45pm.