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Admittedly, the Toyota contingent in the NASCAR Cup Series hasn’t spent a lot of time at the front of the field this year.
Yes, Tyler Reddick won on the road course at Circuit of the Americas, and Christopher Bell triumphed on dirt at Bristol, but the Toyotas have been notably absent from Victory Lane at the more traditional paved ovals.
Nevertheless, three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers—Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Bell—are tied at fourth favorite (+900 each at DraftKings Sportsbook) entering Sunday’s Wurth 400 at Dover Motor Speedway.
We don’t think the Toyota drivers have found enough speed to contend for the win at the Monster Mile, but we do think Bell will beat Hamlin head-to-head at the high-banked concrete track
Bell was fourth to Hamlin’s 21st in last year’s race, the first at Dover with NASCAR’s Next Gen car, and Bell has been the fastest and most consistent JGR driver so far this season.
Since Matt Kenseth won the spring race at Dover for Roush Racing in 2011, only one Ford driver has scored a victory at the Monster Mile.
Driving for Stewart-Haas Racing, Kevin Harvick won the spring race in 2018 and the fall race in 2020, the last year Dover hosted two NASCAR Cup Series events in the same season.
All told, Harvick has three victories at the concrete track, the first in 2015 before Stewart-Haas switched from Chevrolet to Ford.
Harvick isn’t our pick to win this week, but for Ford aficionados, he’s an attractive pick at +1100 via DraftKings.
And given that he enters Sunday’s race riding a string of eight consecutive top 10s at Dover (including the two wins), we don’t think it’s unreasonable to back Harvick to finish in the top three at +300 (DraftKings).
Small wonder that three Hendrick Motorsports drivers are the top three favorites in Sunday’s Wurth 400 at Dover Motor Speedway.
Hendrick cars have been to Victory Lane in four of the last seven races at the Monster Mile, including the last two. They have won four of the first 10 races on the Cup schedule this season.
Chase Elliott is the most prolific Dover winner for the organization, having taken the checkered flag in the fall of 2018 and in last season’s only race.
But we’re not backing Elliott (+750 DraftKings) this weekend because this will be his third race back after breaking his left tibia in a snowboarding accident, and Dover is the most physically demanding track on the NASCAR Cup circuit.
We’re not backing William Byron (+650 DraftKings) because he hasn’t won at Dover. We’re not backing 2021 winner Alex Bowman because we can’t—he’s out with a spinal compression fracture suffered in a winged sprint car accident during the week before the race.
We’re not backing Bowman’s replacement, full-time Xfinity Series driver Josh Berry (+4000 DraftKings) because he’s inexperienced, despite having subbed for Elliott during his recovery.
That leaves favorite Kyle Larson (+500 DraftKings), and he’s our pick to win the race. A 2019 winner at Dover, Larson has taken the checkered flag in two of the last four Cup races, and he’s starting to resemble the driver who won 10 races and the championship in 2021.
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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. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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