NASCAR AAA 400 Drive For Autism Odds & Pick
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its first visit of the season to Dover for Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism race televised by Fox Sports 1. The early-week autoracing betting favorite is Jimmie Johnson at +350 as Dover is a track that J.J. has owned in his career.
An In Depth Repot on NASCAR AAA 400 Drive For Autism Odds & Pick
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 10, 2016
Johnson is the defending champion of this race. Last May in what was just the second green-white-checkered NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish in Dover history, Johnson drove away from Kevin Harvick to win the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks race at Dover International Speedway. Johnson only led 23 laps, but it was enough to make him just the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win 10 or more races at the same track. Johnson joined Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and David Pearson in accomplishing the feat.
Petty dominated at five tracks — Martinsville, North Wilkesboro, Richmond, Rockingham and Daytona. Waltrip was king at Bristol, Martinsville and North Wilkesboro. Earnhardt won 10 times at Talladega, and Pearson was the acknowledged ruler of Darlington, with 10 victories at what many consider NASCAR’s toughest track.
There had only been four cautions in the first 375 laps last year, but everything changed late in the race. There were three cautions in the final 25 miles. On Lap 398, a three-car accident slowed the field for a third time. But, also for a third time, Johnson drove away from the field and this time made it to the checkered flag without further incident, keeping Harvick from what would have been his first win at the Monster Mile. Harvick, Kyle Larson, Kasey Kahne and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five. Martin Truex Jr. was upset with Kahne after the last restart, thinking that Kahne was too slow on the restart and pushed him down on the apron.
In last fall’s race at Dover, things didn’t go as well for Johnson. Just past the 100-lap mark, the driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet told the crew “something is breaking” and brought the car to pit road under green on Lap 104. Giving up the 16th spot, Johnson stopped in his pit stall as the crew looked under the rear end. Unable to make repairs on pit road, Johnson took the car to the garage as the race continued under green-flag conditions. The team made repairs to the car’s rear-axle seal and sent him back on the track — but by the time he returned on Lap 139, he was in last place in the 43-car field, 37 laps down. Johnson would finish 41st and be eliminated from the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Harvick won last fall’s Dover race and is +600 this week. Harvick dominated on a Dover track at which he had never won in 29 previous tries. He led 355 of 400 laps, outdistancing runner-up Kyle Busch by 2.6 seconds.
Busch is +500. With Busch’s win last Saturday night at Kansas Speedway — long a place where he has struggled over the years — Busch checked another track off his all-time list of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series conquests. The GoBowling 400 victory, along with his win at Martinsville earlier this year, leaves only Charlotte Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway as unchecked tracks on the list. And Busch still visits each facility twice this season, starting at Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29. Busch has three wins this season and two career wins at Dover.
Busch is a member of Joe Gibbs Racing and Gibbs drivers have won six times in the first 11 races this year. Everybody on the team has a win except Matt Kenseth, and the former series champion finished a season-best fourth at Kansas. Busch has led a season-high 679 laps while winning three times. Carl Edwards has led the second most laps with 626, and he won back-to-back races at Bristol and Richmond. Denny Hamlin won the Sprint Unlimited before his Daytona 500 victory.
Kenseth is +800 this week and Edwards +1000. Kenseth has won twice in his career at Dover. Edwards has one win, eight top five, and 12 top 10 finishes in 23 starts at Dover.
I’m going with Johnson here — hard to ignore his dominance at Dover.
Dover International Speedway Track Facts
Number of previous races: 92.
First Sprint Cup race: July 6, 1969, won by Richard Petty.
Last Sprint Cup race: October 4, 2015, won by Kevin Harvick.
Won from pole: 13, last time by Jimmie Johnson in 2010.
Won from top-5 starting position: 53 times in 92 races (58%).
Won from top-10 starting position: 71 times (77%).
Won from 21st or worse starting position: 5 times (5%).
Worst starting spot for race winner: 37th, by Kyle Petty in 1995.
Most laps led: 491, by Richard Petty in 1974.
Fewest laps led by a race winner: 3, by Tony Stewart in 2013.
Fastest race: 132.719 mph by Mark Martin in 1997.
Fastest qualifying speed: 164.444 mph by Brad Keselowski in 2014.
Most lead changes: 29 in 1980 and 1986.
Closest finish: Jimmie Johnson’s .08 second margin over Kyle Busch in 2005.
Most caution flags: 16 in 1993.