What to Watch: Full guide for Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway

·8 min read

Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway (⏰ 2 p.m. ET | 📺 FS1 | 📻 MRN, SiriusXM)

Everything you need to know for Sunday’s race, the 13th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series event of the 2021 season.

Where: Dover International Speedway, a 1-mile track located in Dover, Delaware
Green flag: 2:11 p.m. ET
TV/Radio: FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Forecast: A chance of showers and thunderstorms before 9 p.m. ET. Partly cloudy, with a low around 53. Chance of precipitation is 30%, according to NOAA.gov
Race Distance: 400 laps, 400 miles
Stages: 120 | 240 | 400
Pit-road speed: 35 mph
Caution car speed: 45 mph
Dover 101: Get the full lowdown
Starting lineup: See the full lineup

Pit-stall assignments: See who is pitting where | Expert breaks down pit selections

DOVER, DE - MAY 06: A general view of racing during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 6, 2019 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images
DOVER, DE - MAY 06: A general view of racing during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 6, 2019 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Five to watch

Here are five big story lines we’ll be following at Dover International Speedway.

1. It’s entirely possible Martin Truex Jr. wins out the rest of the month of May after his win at Darlington Raceway last Sunday. The only multi-winner at the Cup level this season — he has three victories — Truex enters the weekend as the race favorite at 7-2 odds. It’s for good reason, too, as the 2021 stalwart is also a three-time Dover winner and has finished in the top two in each of the last four races at the “Monster Mile.” He’ll also be among the favorites at the other two tracks in May (Charlotte Motor Speedway, three wins; Circuit of the Americas, four career road-course wins). The Summer of Marty is here.

2. If there’s a driver primed to put Truex’s show on hold, however, it’s Kyle Larson. The No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports driver is fresh off another runner-up finish at Darlington — the 24th of his 235-race career — and owns the best average finish all time at Dover with a keen 7.4. After a late-race contest last weekend, it could come down to these two drivers once again, and expect Larson to be a little more aggressive this time in search of win No. 2 on the season.

3. Quickly becoming one of the most intriguing drivers to watch every week, William Byron‘s breakout season has been so strong he’s riding a streak that last saw him finish outside the top 10 in February. At Daytona International Speedway. Yes, you read that correctly. Dover is a track that can change a driver’s fortune in a hurry, but the fourth-year talent is well on his way to a career high in top 10s with 10 already (previous high is 14) and he placed fourth in the most recent “Monster Mile” race.

4. All three of its drivers have a victory in the first third of the season, but is Team Penske showing signs of a slump? It could certainly look that way after this weekend. Brad Keselowski has been up and down of late, fighting an ill-handling car to a 24th-place finish from the Darlington pole. Bristol Dirt Race winner Joey Logano has been shut out of the top 10 in three straight races. He has never won at Dover, either, and his 41 laps led in 24 starts there are the fewest he has at any track. And don’t expect much from Ryan Blaney this weekend — he has just one top 10 in the last nine Dover races, with just four lead-lap finishes in his career there.

5. While Penske might be on the downturn, Ford stablemate Stewart-Haas Racing could be on the rise finally. Kevin Harvick is the most recent Dover victor and a threat to win every weekend, so he could certainly hoist trophy No. 1 of the season this weekend. His young teammates could be top-10 threats this weekend as well, and Dover always marks a spot where Aric Almirola might turn things around. Cole Custer won at Dover in the Xfinity Series in 2019 and has averaged a 10.5 finish in two Cup starts, while Chase Briscoe tied his best career finish (11th) last week and won the Xfinity Dover race a year ago. Almirola was seventh at Dover last fall and notched a pair of top fives in 2015, so he could potentially improve on his 24.4 average finish in 2021.

Race-day staples

Larson Com Powerrankings Hero
Larson Com Powerrankings Hero

Our biggest pieces of the week — get covered for race day from all angles.

Power Rankings: Larson heating up; Dover domination ahead? | Scope the ranks
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Fantasy Fastlane: See which drivers to use, avoid | Full Fantasy advice | Set your roster
Preview Show: Jonathan Merryman and Alex Weaver preview the race | Watch the show

Get in on the action

Think you know NASCAR? Put your mettle to the test with gaming, fantasy.

Betting odds for Dover race | See the odds
Dover betting: How bettors benefit from lack of practice, qualifying | Find out why
Take a shot at winning cash prizes with the free-to-play Jackpot Races app | Hit the jackpot
Full guide to 2021 NASCAR Fantasy Live game | Get the FAQ

Track history

Every track has a story to tell. Here‘s what we‘ve seen go down at Dover in the past.

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Remember this?: Memorable moments from Dover | See the moments
Spring winners: All-time winners in Dover spring race | See the list
Front of the field: See who has led the most “Monster Mile” laps | Dover lap leaders

Fast facts

Hard-hitting, race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.

The 2018 fall race winner, Chase Elliott‘s seven Dover top fives are his most at any track.
• Aric Almirola has only one top-10 finish this season. He had four at this point last year and 18 at the end of 2020.
• Daniel Suarez has finished in the top 10 in four of his eight Dover starts and won there in the Xfinity Series in 2016.
• Alex Bowman is slumping lately but could rebound at Dover — he has finished in the top five in three of the last five races there.
• Erik Jones is battling for top 20s at the moment and should have a good shot at one this weekend. He has finished top 20 in seven of his eight Dover starts.

Catch the pack

Read up on all the headlines from the week leading up to Sunday’s race.

• Ready to retire: Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage to step down after All-Star Race | Track release
• Vote now, vote often:
NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race Fan Vote open now | Cast your ballot
• Wolfe out:
No. 22 crew chief suspended for lug violation | Read more
• Sense of normalcy:
NASCAR no longer requiring masks in outside area | Read more
No. 2 crew chief out: Jeremy Bullins once again sidelined for Dover race | Read more

Say what?

Notable quotes from the stars of the sport heading into Sunday’s race.

“(Catching Denny Hamlin atop the standings is) doable for sure. It‘s obviously going to take a little bit of rough luck on their part. We‘ve had a couple bad races and that‘s really the difference. Wrecked at Daytona, wrecked at Talladega and a flat tire on the last green-white-checkered at Bristol really hurt us. We‘ve had a couple really bad finishes and that‘s really the difference. They‘re going to need to have a few of those I think for us to catch them. We‘ll see how it plays out. Obviously, feeling great about where we are as a team and what we‘re doing. If we can keep winning races, we‘ll do what we need to do points-wise.” — Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - APRIL 18: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 18, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - APRIL 18: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 18, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images

“There‘s things (about Dover) that really separate it from the others; but to me, those features are things that weren‘t, I guess, new to me coming from dirt racing and seeing a lot of different tracks. That sensation you have driving off of the banking down into the corner is a lot more than a lot of the tracks that we do go to. But I‘ve raced a lot of different tracks at a lot of different places, so those sensations that you have at Dover, they never really jumped out at me when I first went there. Probably the biggest one is I feel like you have to be aggressive to make some good lap times, but you can burn your tires up. But at the same time, if you do make that mistake off of Turn 2 or Turn 4 and overcorrect it or bounce off the fence, it‘s very easy once you‘ve lost control to find yourself spun around backward or heading towards the inside wall.” — Tyler Reddick, driver of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

“I thought we had a couple decent runs (at Dover) last year. I don‘t think we‘ve been in contention for a win, but I feel like this year we‘ve learned a lot of stuff where we can go back and see what we‘ve got, so I‘m looking forward to this weekend, trying to get another Miles. That‘s my Xfinity one (behind on the desk), so hopefully we can get a Cup one here.” — Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford

“First of all, I think everybody at Hendrick has given us a great race car to work with. So, our product, to start with, has been very good. So, we start with a good product and we tune on it and William has been very involved in all the set-ups and what wasn‘t good before and going well and what we can do better. By bringing small pieces here and there, we‘ve just made some really good decisions. We‘ve had some good luck and we‘ve capitalized.” — Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for William Byron, on the team’s top-10 finish streak