This week, NASCAR travels to Dover International Speedway for events in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the XFINITY Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. The Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism will close out the weekend’s competition Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.
There have been 94 Cup races with 35 different winners at Dover. The first Cup Series race was held on July 6, 1969, and was won by Richard Petty. David Pearson captured the inaugural pole and leads all drivers with six poles. But did you know that he also holds the record for most consecutive poles at Dover? From 1973 to the spring of 1974, he scored three straight poles.
Matt Kenseth is the defending race winner and heads to Dover hoping for a repeat performance. Last year the Joe Gibbs Racing driver held off a relentless Kyle Larson, leading the final 47 laps in his No. 20 Toyota to capture the checkered flag. He has three wins, 17 top fives and 14 top 10s at the 1-mile track with a 108.6 driver rating, second only to Jimmie Johnson. But did you know that Kenseth posted his first career Coors Light Pole at Dover in 2002?
Johnson is the undisputed master at the Monster Mile with a track-record 10 wins, the series-best driver rating (118.3) as well as the best average running position (7.8). In addition, the Hendrick Motorsports driver has 15 tops fives, 21 top 10s, and three poles. But did you know that if Johnson can pull off another win this weekend, he will become only the third Cup Series driver to win 11 or more races at a single track?
Richard Petty has done it at four different tracks, Martinsville (15), North Wilkesboro (15), Richmond (13) and Rockingham (11). Darrell Waltrip has accomplished this feat twice with 12 victories at Bristol and 11 at Martinsville.
Kyle Busch, winless this season, enters Dover with an opportunity to turn things around. He has the third-best driver (105.4), 11 top fives and 15 top 10s. With two victories, in 2008 and 2010, and a runner-up finish in the 2016 fall race after leading 102 laps, look for Busch to be a top contender. But did you know that if he leads 59 laps on Sunday, he will become the 11th Cup Series driver to lead 13,000 or more laps?
The best chance to claim the trophy at Dover is to qualify on the front row. Thirteen of the 94 races have been won from the pole (13.8 percent) while 16 have been won from second place (17 percent).
The AAA 400 Drive for Autism broadcast begins at 1 p.m. ET, Sunday, on FS1. Be sure to tune in early as this year’s pre-race activities will include special events to honor Richard Petty’s upcoming 80th birthday including a custom made cake to replicate the 1969 Ford that he drove to victory lane in the 1969 inaugural race plus a question and answer session. Petty will also drive a street-ready No. 43 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird tribute car around the track before the green flag drops.
In the meantime, check out the video below as Kenseth and Larson battle for the lead in the final laps.
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