Dover stands alone. There are no real comparatives for this track since Bristol Motor Speedway began monkeying with the top groove and added progressive banking.
Although it is not defined by them like Talladega SuperSpeedway, Dover is prone to “Big One” crashes with a narrow backstretch that can get clogged by an accident soon after a restart.
No one is absolutely safe except for Martin Truex Jr. and Harvick, and only three could finish worse than 15th and still breathe relatively easy. Kez, Kyle Busch, and Matt Kenseth would need a combination of multiple bad factors to fall out—but wasn’t the same thing true of Jimmie Johnson last year before the AAA 400?
One minor mistake is all it will take and that does not have to come from the driver himself. If one of the spoilers pushes too hard trying to get a top-10 and clips a car exiting turn two, the resulting melee could move the Chase race to the garage as multiple playoff contenders battle to see who can repair their car the fastest to stay ahead of their stricken competitors. Meanwhile, McMurray and Austin Dillon are only five points out of contention and they could sail toward the front.
Suddenly NASCAR’s unique formula of having non-playoff drivers in the same event as the contenders makes a very big difference—not because they are more likely to make a mistake (which they are), but because of the separation they add between a 20th-place finish and another Chaser who scores a top-10.
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