The Monster Mile is an unpredictable track; however, there have always been drivers who have excelled on it more than others. Some weekends have been dominated by one or two drivers, while others have been a lot more up for grabs.
The way things are going so far in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series prep for Sunday’s “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks,” this race looks like it might be the latter.
Matt Kenseth ran the fastest lap in Saturday morning’s second practice, posting a lap of 156.788 mph on his first time around the track. He was followed in the top five by Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch. The four drivers other than Kahne have all won here in the last three years.
Next on the scoreboard was pole-sitter Denny Hamlin, who had been terrible at Dover until suddenly seeming to figure things out last fall, when he took the pole and was running up front until bad luck on fuel mileage and cautions knocked him back to an eighth-place finish. Even with that, his career average finishing position at Dover is 19.6 in 14 races, which is among his worst on any of NASCAR’s tracks. But he looks to be in a position to improve upon that again this weekend.
Carl Edwards, a former Dover winner both in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series cars, was seventh-fastest. Clint Bowyer was eighth, and then lurking back in ninth was Jimmie Johnson, who is trying to become Dover’s all-time wins leader with what would be his eighth victory at the Monster Mile. Johnson qualified terribly and will start 24th. But he was the fastest driver in Friday’s practice session and then on Saturday posted the fastest 10-lap average of the 15 drivers who ran 10 or more consecutive laps.
The field will return to the track for Happy Hour at 12:50 p.m. and green flag for the June 2 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is set for 1 p.m.