The Round of 12 Starts in Dover
After a surprising, dramatic ending at Charlotte saw 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson eliminated on a tiebreaker after he spun racing for the lead on the final lap, and Kyle Larson getting through by making a pass for 25th with a wrecked car in the final chicane, the Round of 12 starts at Dover.
With both sitting ahead of the pack in terms of playoff points earned, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, each with 7 wins this season, are the co-favorites to win the championship.
The Dover winner has to feel pretty good about his playoff chances. Since 2009, 4 of the 9 Dover winners have gone on to win the championship, and 2 of those that didn't finished runner-up in points, including Kyle Busch in 2017 and Kevin Harvick in 2015.
Jimmie Johnson is Eliminated, Can He Snap Drought?
In a dramatic finish last week at Charlotte, Jimmie Johnson was eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs, ending any shot of him to stand alone with his 8th Cup Series title.
Johnson went hard after the win at Charlotte, and it didn't pay off, but his 52-race winless stretch could end at Dover, a track where he's won 11 times, 4 more than any other driver. Only Johnson, Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip have ever won 11 times at a single track.
Johnson's last win came at Dover early in the 2017 season. His current 52-race winless streak is more than twice as long as any other winless streak in his Cup career.
Busch and Harvick Look to Remain Strong at Dover
The last 2 Cup Series races at Dover have been won by Kevin Harvick (earlier this year) or Kyle Busch (last year's playoff race). Last year in the playoff race, Busch made the race-winning pass with 2 laps to go, passing Chase Elliott. That's the latest lead change in 97 Cup Series races at the track.
Busch has been hit and miss at Dover. Although he's a 3-time winner at the track, Busch has failed to finish 4 of the 9 races held at the track since the start of 2014.
Meanwhile, Harvick, his co-favorite to win the title, has been the dominant force at the track over the last 5 years, with 2 wins and more than 1,000 laps led.
Who's Hot and Who's Not - Dover
Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas): led 1,011 laps since start of 2014 at Dover (493 more than any other driver)
Kyle Busch (Gibbs): top-2 finish in last 3 playoff races at Dover (36th, 30th, 16th, 35th in last 4 spring races)
Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick): 11-time winner at Dover; more than any active driver has at any track (1 of 3 drivers with 11+ career wins at a track)
Chase Elliott (Hendrick): 4 top-5 finishes in 5 career Dover starts (his most top 5s at any track)
Kyle Larson (Ganassi): finished 11th or better in 8 of 9 career Dover starts (7 top 10's)
Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas): 2 top-10 finishes in 13 races at Dover since winning 2011 playoff race at track
Ryan Blaney (Penske): 21.8 Avg finish career at Dover in 5 starts (no finish better than 8th)
Joey Logano (Penske): 0 top-5 finishes in last 7 Dover races; 4 career laps led in 19 starts at track
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