Drydene 311 at Dover (Sunday) Predictions, Odds & Picks
- Led by Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing shows its hand with 1-2-3 finish in Dover opener.
- Jimmie Johnson looks to expand his slim Playoff lead after vaulting past his teammate.
- Will inverted starting order give also-rans a chance on Sunday? Don’t count on it.
Drydene 311 Sunday Race at Dover Odds
The odds for the Drydene 311 are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
|Martin Truex Jr.||+400|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||+15000|
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Drydene 311 Predictions and Picks
With one race under his belt and a day to think about and fine-tune his No. 18 Toyota, Kyle Busch will be a winner on Sunday. After all, he has to improve only two positions from his Saturday finish at Dover.
Kyle Busch (+700).
How to Watch the Drydene 311 Dover Cup Race
|Drydene 311 (Sunday) Race Information|
|What||Drydene 311 NASCAR Cup Series race|
|Where||Dover International Speedway|
|When||Sunday, August 23, 4 p.m. EST|
|How to Watch||NBCSN|
On Saturday at Dover International Speedway, Denny Hamlin won the Drydene 311 to tie Kevin Harvick for the lead in NASCAR Cup Series victories with six. On Sunday, Hamlin will try to win the Drydene 311, the second leg of a doubleheader that sports the same name as the first.
The race is scheduled for 311 laps (311 Miles) and ties Saturday’s first race of the Cup doubleheader as the shortest scheduled race at the Monster Mile in NASCAR’s premier division. Stage breaks will take place after 70 and 185 laps. Hamlin beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. to the finish line by 1.179 seconds to win Saturday’s opener.
Joe Gibbs Racing Shows Its Hand with Podium Sweep in Dover Opener
You can’t say Denny Hamlin is peaking at the right time. The driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has been in the NASCAR Cup Series vanguard all season long. Hamlin’s victory in Saturday’s Drydene 311 was his sixth of the season, tying him with Kevin Harvick for most in the series.
But two of Hamlin’s JGR teammates—Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch—also had strong showings, as the organization swept the three podium positions at the Monster Mile. Busch, in particular, had a satisfying run after a litany of issues this season that have kept the reigning champion winless. In a problem-free performance, Busch was third behind Hamlin and Truex.
Consider also that neither Busch nor Truex could find an ideal balance with their cars.
We were really loose, couldn’t keep it where I needed it to, Busch said afterwards. Came down for tires for the final run under green flag conditions, did a small minor adjustment, went tight. We were really all over the place with balance being very finicky, just not quite ever able to get it to where I needed it.
But if Busch can take the lessons of Saturday and apply them to Sunday, watch out.
Jimmie Johnson Looks to Expand Lead for Final Playoff Spot
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson vaulted into a Playoff spot at the expense of Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron on Saturday. Though he didn’t have the speed to keep up with the top Toyotas, Johnson posted a solid seventh-place finish at a track where he has won a record 11 times.
Byron, meanwhile, fell off the lead lap in the middle of the second stage and finished 28th in a performance that left Byron and crew chief Chad Knaus carping at each other on the team radio. Byron saw his 25-point lead over Johnson for the 16th and final Playoff spot disappear in a 28-point swing that left Johnson with a three-point lead heading into Sunday’s race.
Johnson has an excellent chance to expand that advantage. The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet will start 14th to Byron’s 23rd in the second race of the doubleheader. Given the handling problems that beset Byron on Saturday, that nine-position gap is likely to widen. Though Johnson isn’t a good bet to win on Sunday, he’ll probably leave Dover with a working margin over young Willie B.
Inverted Order Will Make Sunday’s Race Interesting—at the Start
For the second race on a doubleheader weekend at the same race track, NASCAR takes the top 20 finishers from the first event and inverts the order to form the field for the second race. In Sunday’s Drydene 311, Saturday winner Denny Hamlin will start 20th, with runner-up Martin Truex Jr. 19th, etc.
The inversion puts Matt DiBenedetto on the pole and Ryan Newman beside him on the front row to start Sunday’s race. DiBenedetto and Newman finished 20th and 19th, respectively on Saturday. Both were two laps down when Hamlin took the checkered flag. (Behind the first 20, the rest of the drivers start from the positions where they finished in the first race.)
Hamlin’s win from the second starting position was the eighth from that spot on the grid in the last 18 Dover races. Unfortunately, Newman won’t add to that total. Though he and DiBenedetto will benefit from the front-row start, the inversion won’t deter the likes of Hamlin, Truex, and Busch from their appointed rounds. By the end of the second stage, at the latest, the Toyotas will be contending for the lead.
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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.