The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs begins the Round of 12 this weekend at Dover International Speedway with the Drydene 400 on Sunday afternoon (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The first race of the second round of the playoffs is on a 1-mile, high-banked track and sees Kyle Busch lead the standings by five points over fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. as the round begins.
Here is the rest of the need-to-know information for Sunday’s race at the home of Miles the Monster.
Dover International Speedway hosted its first race on July 6, 1969 and the event was won by Richard Petty — who won three of the first four races there. Since 1971, the “Monster Mile” has held two races a year — typically one in the late spring and one in the fall.
The 1-mile track has 24 degrees of banking in all four turns as well as nine degrees of incline on the straightaways at the concrete oval. The straightaway length is 1,076 feet and measures 48 feet in width, while the turns measure 58 feet in width. Dover’s pit road measures 1,580 feet long and 47 feet wide. Jimmie Johnson has the most wins at the venue with 11 Cup wins.
The race at Dover will feature the 2019 rules package with no aero ducts and a tapered-spacer engine generating a targeted 750 horsepower.
Each team will have three sets of tires for practice, one set for qualifying and 10 sets for the 400-mile race — nine race sets plus one set transferred from qualifying or practice.
Steep banking at tracks such as Dover creates higher loads specifically on the right-front tire. Due to that, Goodyear will be working with teams to stress the importance of set-ups as well as air pressures on the right-front tire. Goodyear performed additional simulation work for this track to give teams the most current information on how air pressure affects both durability and performance.
“When we went to Bristol for the second time in 2019, we saw exactly how many gains these teams have made with this package since the first race there in the spring, and we expect the same at Dover this week,” Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, said. “Right-front durability at Dover is always on our radar because of the speeds and loads generated by these cars in the high-banked corners. … We certainly understand that in the teams’ efforts to gain as much grip as possible, being aggressive on air pressures is one of the tools they use.”
—Sunday’s race marks Dover 100th Cup race. It is the 10th track to host at least 100 races.
—The last 21 races at Dover were won by 10 different drivers—nine of which are all Cup champions. Defending race winner Chase Elliott is the lone non-champion to win in that span.
—Elliott holds the best average finish at Dover among all drivers — 4.43 in seven starts. Learn more about why Elliott is a favorite in the Round of 12 here.
—Kyle Larson’s eight top 10s at Dover are his most at any track.
—Kevin Harvick will make his 676th Cup start — matching Dale Earnhardt’s number of Cup starts. Dover is also the track where Harvick has led the most laps with SHR — 1298.
Source: Racing Insights
This weekend’s race will air live Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and streamed on the NBC Sports App. Radio coverage can be found on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Also, follow along on NASCAR.com for live Lap-by-Lap coverage, the live leaderboard, Drive (featuring in-car cameras) and RaceView (subscription: in-car audio, stats, more). Be sure to set your lineup in Fantasy Live and make your picks in the Props Challenge.
2018 RACE WINNER
A year after giving up the lead to Kyle Busch with two to go, Chase Elliott wrote his own redemption song by staying out under a late caution to take the lead and then leading the final 11 laps for the win over Denny Hamlin. The victory locked him into the Round of 8 in the playoffs.
ACTIVE DOVER WINNERS
Jimmie Johnson (11 times); Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. (three wins each); Kevin Harvick (twice); Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski (one win each)