By admin | September 29, 2012
By Richard Allen
The top-3 drivers in the current Sprint Cup standings seem to be threatening to distance themselves from the rest of the Chase for the Championship pack. Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin appear to be the class of the field so far. But this week, one of those drivers has a clear advantage coming into this weekend at the Dover International Speedway.
Of all the success he’s had throughout his career, Johnson can count Dover as one of his best tracks. The five time champion has compiled an astonishing seven wins, ten top-5s and fifteen top-10s in 21 starts. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has an 8.9 average finish.
By comparison, Keselowski has never registered even a single top-10 on the one-mile concrete track. The Penske Racing pilot’s best career finish has been a 12th this most recent spring. His average finish is a 17th in five starts on ‘The Monster Mile’.
Hamlin has never been shy about his disdain for the Dover track. He has even consulted a sports psychologist to help overcome his difficulties on the speedway. (And perhaps that psychologist has already had an impact as Hamlin grabbed the pole for Sunday’s race.)
The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 has two top-5s and four top-10s on the high banked facility. But he has also had some disasters among his 13 starts in Dover which have resulted in an average finishing position of only 20th. His last three starts have ended in finishes of 16th, 18th and 18th.
Of course, none of the twelve drivers is out of the running for NASCAR’s top prize just yet and there are others who could post a solid result in Dover that would boost them in the standings. However, Johnson, Keselowski and Hamlin have looked of late as if they are the most serious threats to capture the championship trophies.
If Keselowski and Hamlin are not able to improve on their past Dover efforts, Johnson could build a lead that might well send him on his way to a sixth title.
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