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By the Numbers: Championship contenders not scared of Monster

September 29, 2011, ,

Kentucky Speedway is a 1.5-mile tri-oval with 14 degrees banking in the corners. The frontstretch is 1,662 feet with 8 degrees banking; the tri-oval is 57-feet wide and includes a 12-foot apron. The backstretch is 1,600 feet with 4 degrees banking. | Tickets

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4 -- Tracks with two dates on the Truck schedule: Nashville, Martinsville, Texas and Kentucky. This marks the first year Kentucky will host two races. Kyle Busch won the first race this year in July.

7 -- Top-10 finishes in the past nine races at Kentucky for both Matt Crafton and David Starr, making them the track leaders in top-10s. Both have a career-best third-place finish: Starr in 2004 and Crafton in 2008 and '09.

Side note: Starr finished eighth in July; Crafton suffered a DNF (engine) after 18 laps and was credited with 32nd place.

9 -- Place of finish in the July race at Kentucky for James Buescher, the best of the top three championship contenders. Buescher has posted top-10s in two of his three races at Kentucky. He won at ARCA race there in 2009.

Side note 1: Current points leader Austin Dillon finished 14th in July. He was running second on Lap 134 of 152 when his hood became unpinned and covered his windshield. Dillon started on the pole and finished ninth in his only other start at Kentucky, in 2010.

Side note 2: Johnny Sauter finished 24th in July. He started on the pole and was leading on Lap 124 when he broke an axle exiting pit road. Sauter finished second at Kentucky in 2010.

10 -- Times the driver leading with 10 laps to go has won the race. The only exceptions: Bobby Hamilton led the final two laps in 2004; Dennis Setzer led the final six laps in 2005.

Side note: Before this year, those were the only two green-white-checkered finishes at Kentucky. Kyle Busch won in a G-W-C finish in July.

Very Interesting

6 -- Drivers who were in the top six in points entering the July race at Kentucky who had issues: 1. Johnny Sauter (broken axle, finished 24th); 2. Cole Whitt (accident, finished 26th); 3. Ron Hornaday (accident, finished 27th); 4. Austin Dillon (broken hood, finished 14th); 5. Matt Crafton (blown engine, finished 32nd); 6. Timothy Peters (accident, finished 16th).

* July race at Kentucky: Results | Videos

Dover International Speedway is a 1-mile oval with 24 degrees banking in the turns. The frontstretch and backstretch are each 1,076 feet with 9 degrees banking. | Tickets

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4 -- Place of finish in the May race at Dover for points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr., his best in three starts (he led 33 laps). Stenhouse has an average finish of 11.0.

Side note: Elliott Sadler, who trails Stenhouse by 14 points, finished sixth in May. Sadler has three top-10s in seven series starts at Dover (two top-10s in six starts from 1996 through '98).

5 -- Times in the past six races at Dover ended with a final green-flag stretch of seven laps or less. Of the four green-white-checkered finishes in track history, three have occurred during that span.

Side note: The lone exception in the past six races took place last September; it had a final green-flag stretch of 35 laps.

5 -- Times in the past seven races at Dover the winner started from a front-row starting position, including three from the pole. Kyle Busch won from the pole twice during that span; Carl Edwards won from the first starting position (time trials rained out) earlier this year.

7 -- Times in the past nine races at Dover the driver leading the most laps has won. The only exceptions: Brad Keselowski in May 2009 (led two laps); Clint Bowyer in September 2009 (led 83 laps). Both times Kyle Busch was the laps-led leader.

Very Interesting

4 -- Drivers who have combined to win nine of the past 10 races at Dover: Kyle Busch (three), and Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer (two each). Brad Keselowski, who won in May 2009, is the only series regular to win at Dover in the past 12 races.

Side note: Edwards and Keselowski are the only Chase drivers entered in this week's race. Bowyer joins Cup regulars Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray in this week's field.

* May race at Dover: Results | Videos

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5 -- Drivers who finished in the top 10 in the May race at Dover who are not in the Chase: 2. Mark Martin; 3. Marcos Ambrose; 5. Brian Vickers; 6. Clint Bowyer; 8. Martin Truex Jr.

11 -- Place of finish in the May race at Dover for Jeff Burton, tied with Texas for his second-best finish of the season (ninth at Watkins Glen). Burton finished second in both Dover races last year, the September result his last top-five to date.

19 -- Consecutive races at Dover in which a Roush Fenway car has finished in the top 10, the longest current streak. Roush Fenway leads all owners with 48 top-fives and 76 top-10s (nine wins second on to Hendrick Motorsports' 13). Roush has scored the only 1-2-3 finish in Dover history, in September 2008: 1. Greg Biffle; 2. Matt Kenseth; 3. Carl Edwards.

Side note: Three of top four in points scored in the past 10 Dover races are Roush drivers: 1. Edwards; 3. Biffle; 4. Kenseth.

24 -- Starting position of May winner Matt Kenseth, breaking a string of six races in which Dover was won from a top-eight starting position.

Very Interesting

5 -- Drivers who have combined to win 15 of the past 19 races at Dover: Jimmie Johnson (six), Ryan Newman (three), and Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth (two each). Johnson (three), Busch (two), and Biffle and Kenseth (one each) have combined to win the past seven races there.

Side note: Other winners in the past 19 races: Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards.

* May race at Dover: Results | Videos

DOVER WINNERS | Chase for the Sprint Cup

1 -- Drivers who have won the Chase race at Dover who have went on to win the championship: Jimmie Johnson in 2009 and '10.

Side note: All seven Chase races at Dover have been won by a Chase driver.

2 -- Chase drivers who made their first career start at Dover: Matt Kenseth (September 1998) and Kurt Busch (September 2000). Busch has never won at Dover in 22 starts, tied with Daytona for the most starts at one track without a win.

Side note: Kenseth also scored his first career pole (June 2002) and top-10 (sixth in his September 2000 debut) at Dover.

6 -- Fewest laps led by a winner at Dover, in the Chase race of 2006: Jeff Burton.

8 -- Drivers in this year's Chase who have won at Dover: Jimmie Johnson (six); Jeff Gordon (four); Ryan Newman (three); Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart (two each); Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one each).

Side note: Four Chase drivers have swept the season at Dover: Gordon (1996), Stewart (2002), Johnson (2002, '09) and Newman (2003).

Very Interesting

21 -- Races at Dover since Tony Stewart's last victory there. Stewart, who has opened this year's Chase with back-to-back wins, swept the season in 2000.

Side note: It's been 20 races since Jeff Gordon won at Dover; 19 for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

DOVER HISTORY | Hall of Fame

3 -- Hall of Fame drivers who have swept the season at Dover: David Pearson (1972), Bobby Allison (1983) and Dale Earnhardt (1989).

Side note: Allison won the Cup championship in 1983, the oldest driver to win the title (he was 45).

6 -- Poles at Dover for David Pearson most of any driver. Pearson won three of his five races, including the season sweep in 1973, from the pole.

Side note: Pearson is one of three drivers to win three in a row at Dover; he also won in September 1972. Rusty Wallace (1993-94) and Jeff Gordon (1995-96) are the others.

7 -- Wins at Dover for Richard Petty and Bobby Allison, most in track history. Petty won the inaugural race at Dover in July 1969 with his longtime crew chief, Dale Inman.

Side note: Hall of Fame drivers combined to win the first 12 races at Dover, and 24 of the first 29 (exceptions being Benny Parsons and Neil Bonnett, each with two, and Jody Ridle. Besides Petty, Allison and David Pearson, other Hall of Famers to win during that stretch were Cale Yarborough (three) and Darrell Waltrip (two).

2,803 -- Laps led at Dover by Bobby Allison, most in track history. Allison led the most laps in a race at Dover seven times, a feat since matched by Jimmie Johnson.

Side note: Richard Petty led 491 of 500 laps in his September 1974 victory, the most in track history.

Very Interesting

1 -- Previous races at Dover held in October. Richard Petty won on Oct. 17, 1971, the fourth race in track history. This year's race, the 84th at Dover, will be held on Oct. 2. On that date in 1949, Lee Petty scored the first of his 54 victories, at Heidelberg Speedway (half-mile dirt short track) in Carnegie, Pa.

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