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The one-mile concrete Monster Mile is one of NASCAR’s most physically demanding tracks, with a two-story drop entering the corners and a sense of speed unlike anywhere else.
Saturday’s Drydene 200, the 10th event on the Xfinity Series schedule, will feature 200 laps (200 miles), with stage breaks planned after 45 and 90 laps.
Justin Allgaier is the defending winner of the race. Justin Haley has been sidelined under NASCAR’s COVID-19 protocols. Zane Smith will replace him in the No. 11 Chevrolet.
|Drydene 200 Information|
|Race||Drydene 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race|
|Location||Dover International Speedway|
|Time||Saturday, May 15, 1:30 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||FS1|
At difficult race tracks, it’s smart to go with veteran drivers, and there’s a no better veteran on the board this week than Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
Allgaier is the defending winner of Saturday’s Drydene 200, having claimed victory in the first leg of last year’s COVID-gerrymandered Dover doubleheader.
In fact, the 34-year-old from Riverton, Illinois, is a two-time winner at the Monster Mile, and he’s the only former Dover winner in the field for Saturday’s race.
Despite starting second in the Drydene 200, Allgaier (+360 according to PointsBet Sportsbook) has to share favorite honors with Austin Cindric, who starts 16th and is coming off a 30th-place finish at Darlington.
Under the circumstances, we’ll go with Allgaier, who boasts a series-best 16 lead-lap finishes at Dover, to win his second straight Xfinity Series race.
For roughly two hours last Saturday, Noah Gragson thought he was $100,000 richer. His fourth-place finish at Darlington was good enough to win a third straight Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus.
In post-race inspection, however, Gragson’s No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet was disqualified for a suspension infraction, costing Gragson the bonus.
JRM appealed the penalty, and on Wednesday afternoon the disqualification was rescinded, and Gragson’s finishing position and $100,000 Dash 4 Cash payoff were reinstated.
So Gragson is now eligible to compete for the final Dash 4 Cash bonus at Dover. To sweep the series, he’ll have to finish higher than Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones and Josh Berry.
But Gragson (+725) also is worth considering for a bet to win. In five starts at the Monster Mile, he has four finishes of seventh or better, including fourth and sixth in last year’s doubleheader.
In the last 22 NASCAR Xfinity Series events at Dover International Speedway, dating to 2010, all eventual winners have come from the top eight on the starting grid.
The most prolific starting spot at producing winners over that span is second (five times in 22 races). That’s where Justin Allgaier starts on Saturday afternoon.
The position that has produced the second most winners (four) is the pole. Daniel Hemric (+900) starts there in the Drydene 200, but the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has never won a NASCAR national series race.
Co-favorite Austin Cindric (+360) will take the green flag from the 16th position and would have to break a streak of top-eight starters/winners more than a decade long.
That’s not likely. Cindric has never won at Dover (though he was third and second last year), and 16th is his career-worst starting position there.
Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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