As the NASCAR Cup Series schedule shifts to Dover International Speedway for the only time in 2021, three-time Dover winner Martin Truex, Jr. has begun to separate himself from the pack. Truex’s performance has been especially exceptional on the 750-horsepower rules package, which will be used in over half of the 10 playoff races later this season.
Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates have shown speed as well. Regular-season points leader Denny Hamlin has been the most consistent driver this season despite being winless so far. Hamlin boasts a series-best average finish of 7.3 and has nine top-five finishes in 12 races this season. Hamlin won the first race of the Dover doubleheader weekend last season for his only career win at the Monster Mile.
Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell each have a victory and have shown speed at times, but have yet to match the consistency of their teammates. With finishes of first and third in his last two races, Busch is starting to piece everything together with new crew chief Ben Beshore. Busch is a three-time Dover winner and Christopher Bell finished 22nd and 27th in the two Dover races last year.
Kevin Harvick won the second race during the doubleheader weekend last season and is looking for his first victory of 2021. Harvick has quietly put together three straight top-six finishes and is a three-time winner at the Monster Mile.
Hendrick Motorsports has had an impressive start to the 2021 campaign. William Byron sits third in the points standings with a win and hasn’t finished worse than ninth since the Series left Daytona in February. Kyle Larson won at Las Vegas and has shown elite speed nearly every week. Larson has the series-best average finish at Dover of 7.4. Defending Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott is no slouch at Dover either with seven top-fives in ten career starts there.
Prediction: It’s hard to bet against Martin Truex, Jr. and crew chief James Small at this point. Especially considering the speed they’ve shown at 750-horsepower tracks so far. I think Kyle Larson will have good speed on Sunday and will contend for the win as well.
Watch the Drydene 400 at Dover at 2 PM on FS1.