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Race Preview and Fantasy Picks: Autism Speaks 400

By admin | May 27, 2009

By Richard Allen

Track and Location:
Dover International Speedway in Dover, DE.

Track Layout:
1 mile oval with 24 degrees of banking in the turns

Race Distance:
400 miles/400 laps

Date of Race:
Sunday(May 31, 2009)

Radio Coverage: MRN(1:15pm Eastern)

Television Coverage:
Fox(1:30pm Eastern)

Start Time:
2:15pm Eastern

Last Year’s Winner:
Kyle Busch

This is the last week to “Pull those belts tight one more time!” and “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity!” Darn, does that mean no more Digger?

The Dover International Speedway is about as symmetrical as can be. Each straightaway is exactly the same length and each turn is banked the same with the same radius. However, the track does have its own nearly unique feature. Instead of asphalt like almost every other track on the circuit, this track is surfaced in concrete. Dover and Bristol are the only two facilities entirely surfaced in concrete, which provides a different challenge for drivers and crews.

The racing on this track is usually quite good. Last fall’s race was a very competitive one, especially in the latter stages. The track has finally improved a pit road that for years was too narrow and lacked enough pit stalls.

Much of the fantasy information shown below applies to the ESPN Fantasy Stock Car Challenge. However, the thoughts below can be applied to most NASCAR fantasy games.

Here are some thoughts for the Autism Speaks 400:

Drivers who should do well:
Even with this race being reduced from 500 to 400 laps as it was years ago, it is still a test of physical toughness. Teams that have shown the ability to field good handling race cars will do best here as handling is at a premium.

Greg Biffle-
He won here last fall and has scored more points on this track than any other driver since the CoT has been in use.

Ryan Newman-
He has won here three times and has taken four poles on ‘The Monster Mile’. He should be a favorite for the pole and should be considered a top contender for the win, which would be the first points paying win for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Mark Martin-
He has won here four times and is running well, so don’t count him out.

Carl Edwards-
He has won here in the past and has scored almost as many points as Biffle on this track since the inception of the CoT.

Jeff Gordon-
He has also been a top producer here and appears to be back on top of his game, even with a bad back.

Kyle Busch-
He must always be considered.

Martin Truex-
He earned his first and only win here and has produced plenty of points over the last four races. He might be the best value for this race as the EGR teams have been running reasonably well since cutting back to two cars.

Drivers to avoid:
Drivers who tend to wreck often will find plenty of opportunities to do so here. The wide turns that funnel onto tight straights can make drivers pay for their mistakes in a hurry.

Kasey Kahne-
He has run well here but has only one Top 10 to show for it in ten races.

Brian Vickers- Like Kahne, he has only one Top 10 in ten races despite often having good equipment.

Elliott Sadler-
He has only three Top 10s in twenty races here.

Richard Childress Racing-
Again as in other previews, I list this entire organization. Even though it would seem that Harvick, Burton and Bowyer should do well here, they have shown little over the past few weeks to inspire confidence.

Winner of the Autism Speaks 400: Ryan Newman

These are only suggestions. Do your own research and enjoy the Autism Speaks 400.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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