Y! Sports picks: AAA 400

Yahoo Sports Staff
Yahoo! SportsSeptember 27, 2012
Track Facts
Track Facts
Venue: Dover International Speedway
Race length: 400 miles
No. of laps: 400
Qualifying: Sat., 1:30 p.m. ET
Race: Sun., 2:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)


Leader of the pack: In the last seven races at Dover, Jimmie Johnson has led at least 157 laps in each.


Top 5
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Clint Bowyer


2011: Kurt Busch
2010: Jimmie Johnson
2009: Jimmie Johnson
2008: Greg Biffle
2007: Carl Edwards
2006: Jeff Burton
2005: Jimmie Johnson
2004: Ryan Newman
2003: Ryan Newman
2002: Jimmie Johnson


Nationwide Series
OneMain Financial 200, Dover International Speedway, Sat., 3:45 p.m.
Camping World Series

Smith's 350, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sat., 8:49 p.m.


NOTE: Jay Hart ended the regular season with 816 points, followed by Jay Busbee with 775 and Nick Bromberg with 755.

Hart:  2097 points (5 wins)
Bromberg:  2087 points (1 win)
Busbee:  2086 points (3 wins)


Check your team | Expert picks
Dover preview (PDF)

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway for Sunday's AAA 400.

Kurt Busch is the defending race winner.

Who Will Win?
View photos
Who Will Win?

Jimmie Johnson: Only a masochist (or Jay Busbee) would pick anyone other than Jimmie Johnson. Considering he's finished outside the top 10 only once since 2008, and that he's coming off back-to-back second-place finishes to start the Chase, well, that's a combination that makes him the only pick, unless you're Jay Busbee. – Jay Hart

Jimmie Johnson: Oh, wow, look, status quo. There's really no point in trying to convince myself or you that another driver is going to win, so I might as well go with the prohibitive favorite because there's no good reason not to. It's Jimmie Johnson. At Dover. He won there in the spring. Any questions? – Nick Bromberg

Kyle Busch: Look, everyone and their mother (assuming their mother knows anything about NASCAR) is going to pick Jimmie Johnson this weekend. And it's one of the safest weekends to do so. I'm thinking Kyle Busch might have a little something to prove here. He's now missed out on the Chase by totals of three and eight points, and that can't sit well with someone as competitive as him. As long as he's got a halfway decent car, expect him to run up front. – Jay Busbee

Top Storyline
View photos
Top Storyline

If Johnson does his thing like he likely will do, the onus is on the 11 other Chase drivers to avoid a bad finish. If he doesn't, the onus is also on them to get all the points they can get to capitalize on a points-gaining opportunity that didn't exist on paper entering the weekend. While Johnson is the man at Dover, everyone else knows it. That's why the pressure isn't on him. – Nick Bromberg

If Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin run away with this race and put six or more Chasers 30-plus points down after three races, expect the calls for a new points system to increase. There's not much point in a 10-race system where only three drivers are in it, and a modified points system for the Chase, while confusing, could keep everyone interested for much later into the fall. – Jay Busbee

Will Dover once again be Denny Hamlin's Achilles Heel? Eighteenth, ninth, 22nd, 38th, 38th – these are Hamlin's finishes at the Monster Mile in September. A top 10 and Hamlin will be on his way to potentially a first championship; another 38th and, well, he's done. – Jay Hart

View photos

"I'm going to be optimistic when I go there. Darian [Grubb] and the team have been working on that race track for quite a long time the last few weeks, working on a setup that would make me comfortable on that race track. The car is going to be good. I just have to have an open mind when I get out there for the first green flag run and have faith that I can do it." – Denny Hamlin