Qualifying is over. All of the practice laps have been run. This is it. Let’s make some picks.
Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. The information is not developed or provided by NASCAR, Inc., or its affiliates.
High Price Salary
Jimmie Johnson ($13,200) – The #48 didn’t have the qualifying effort we would have liked (14th), but that doesn’t hurt his value. Jimmie has won more at Dover than at any other track (9 times). His Friday morning practice session proved that he can be fast. Chad Knaus will make the proper adjustments and the #48 will be ready for Sunday. Look for him to add to his 2,581 laps led at Dover and score a lot of DraftKings fantasy points.
Matt Kenseth ($11,200) – Kenseth doesn’t have the win total that Johnson does at Dover, but he does have the stats. He ended up qualifying 4th and solidified a strong showing for JGR at the Monster Mile. In the last 3 years he has finished 3rd twice at the Dover spring race. A strong qualifying effort at CMS last week tells us that the JGR cars are up to speed. Look for his 108.3 driver rating to move up a few points this week.
Kevin Harvick ($13,900) – Kevin Harvick qualifies in the top 10….. seems like we have heard that before. Harvick has been the man to beat for the last two years. His Dover stats aren’t as impressive as Johnson or Kenseth, but the 2015 campaign has been amazing. He has led 259 laps at Dover over his career. It is always hard to argue with present form.
Mid Price Salary
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,200) – Truex calls Dover his home track and he definitely has a home field advantage. He needs a win to solidify his spot in the Chase. Truex has two wins, 8 top 10s, and two of those top 10s coming last year with his Furniture Row team. Instead of switching to a new car built for Dover, Truex is running the same car that dominated Kansas and Charlotte and adjusting the setup to fit Dover.
Kyle Busch ($10,300) – Here’s another JGR driver that had an excellent qualifying effort at Dover. Rowdy will be starting in 10th with a qualifying time of 22.645. Busch needs a win and needs to be in the top 30 to make the Chase. He can complete one of those two tasks this weekend. At 10,300 it is hard not to take a driver that has won 11 times (across circuits) at Dover.
Kyle Larson ($9,500) – Kyle Larson is an up and coming monster at the Monster Mile. The kid eats up short steep banked tracks. Last year as a rookie, Larson finished 11th and 6th on this tough concrete track. He had even better success at this and similar tracks in the Xfinity series. He qualified third. That shouldn’t elicit place differential fears; it should signify to you that he’s taken the next step.
Low Price Salary
Paul Menard ($8,400) – Mr. Consistent stayed consistent by qualifying 18th. It seems that’s where he always starts and finishes. Menard’s been above average this year (15th in points) and he’s above average at Dover (19th best in average finish). At $8,400, I’ll take above average.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,800) – He was pretty freakin’ fast in qualifying (starting ninth). Sure, some people will worry about place differential. “What if falls backward or wrecks?!” Let’s say he qualified poorly. Do you know how hard it is to work your way through the field? We’ve been preaching the virtues of the mullet-less Ricky Stenhouse all week in our pick articles. He’s just good at these tracks. He’s going to run upfront all day. As Don West would say, “Don’t think about it, just pick up the phone and Dial!”
Trevor Bayne ($7,700) – in the xfinity series, Bayne has proven that he can run at Dover. In his last 6 races, he’s finished in the top 10 in each Dover race. This is the Sprint Cup, not the minor leagues. We’re not asking for a top 10, but if Bayne moves up 6 spots from 31st and cracks the top 25, then he’ll be knocking on the door of a 30 fantasy point performance. The Roush Ford’s have looked good this weekend. Bayne can gain 6 spots.
Brian Scott ($7,700) – The RCR part-timer just missed the low price salary play by qualifying too high.
Danica Patrick ($8,000) – Whaa— We’re writing about Danica? Starting 33 and average finish at dover in the mid 20s, but her price is a little too high.