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Fantasy Racing: Dover

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, September 24 2009

AAA 400
Dover International Speedway
Sunday September 27, 2PM ET, ESPN

AAA_400_thumbRace Facts: If Scott Wimmer wasn’t driving a Morgan-McClure entry this weekend, everyone who’s entered for the race would make the race… Jimmie Johnson chased down Tony Stewart over the last eight laps to win the spring race… 61 of the 79 Dover races have been won by drivers that started in the top 10. However, only 14 of those 61 started from positions 6-10… The fall race in 1993 had over 100 caution laps. Please please please hope that doesn’t happen on Sunday.

Drivers to Watch:

Greg Biffle: Yes, I’m picking the defending champion of the race as a driver to watch, but Biffle’s recent success at Dover has almost gone unnoticed. Did you know that in the last eight Dover races, Biffle’s lowest finish is eighth? Even Jimmie Johnson doesn’t have runs like that. There’s no reason that Biffle won’t continue that success, and this could be the race that vaults him into contention—at least for a little while—for the 2009 title.

Jeff Burton: Burton is in dire need of a good run, and Dover may be the place that it happens. Burton won the 2006 fall race, which vaulted him to first in the Chase standings. Since that win, Burton has three top 10s and his lowest finish is just 16th. The Caterpillar team has nothing to lose, so Burton may actually qualify well on Friday. If he does, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with on Sunday.

Matt Kenseth: In Kenseth’s last eight races, he has seven top 10s, and the only non-top 10 was because of a blown engine. Kenseth is in the same situation as Burton, and would like nothing more than to crash the Chase party. He’s got the success at Dover to do it, and if Kenseth qualifies well, he’s going to run well on Sunday.

Drivers to Watch Out For:

Denny Hamlin:
Like I said last week, it’s absolutely brutal for Hamlin at Dover. He does have three finishes of 11th or higher, but in his other four Dover races he’s finished 36th or lower. Needless to say, a 20th place finish doesn’t seem to happen for Hamlin at Dover. He’s either going to run well the whole day and finish in the top 10 or will have some misfortune that basically kills his Chase hopes. And since he’s in this column, he’s probably going to run really well.

Kasey Kahne: The hole that Kahne was put in last week because of the crankshaft problem may be a lot deeper after Sunday. Kahne’s best finish at Dover was in the spring—a sixth—but in the four races before that he had finished outside the top 10. The crankshaft apparently was a ticking time bomb in the new Dodge engines, so this weekend Kahne is running the old R5 engine. For Kahne’s sake, hopefully the lack of horsepower doesn’t hurt him too much.

Kurt Busch: Much like Hamlin, Busch has shown flashes of promise at Dover, but for every good finish that Kurt has, he seems to have two finishes near the back of the pack. Busch’s average finish is 20.5 at Dover, and he has only finished in the top 10 three of his last seven Dover races.

Stone Cold Lock of the Week:

Jimmie Johnson: Yeah, this is a giant cop-out, but why would I bet against the 48, especially since he won here in the spring? JJ did go through a mini slump in 2006 and 2007, recording three straight finishes outside the top 10, but in the three races before that, and the three races after that, he hasn’t finished any lower than seventh. I’d be shocked if JJ was lower than that as the checkered flag waves.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, September 24 2009
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