DOVER, Del. – As a host of one of the ten Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup races since the format’s inception in 2004, Dover International Speedway — host to Chase race No. 3 this season — has played a crucial role in determining who has hoisted NASCAR’s top prize in the past seven years.
With race weekend in Dover upon us, Tony Stewart comes to town red hot as he’s won the first two races of the Chase and finds himself sitting atop the standings after a regular season that saw him go winless and left him frustrated after many races. To sustain his current roll, however, Stewart will have quite the challenge as he now attempts to conquer the Monster Mile.
The one-mile, concrete oval in Dover is unique on the 10-race circuit, and drivers who excel when challenged with the distinct features of the Monster Mile put themselves in a better position to take a serious shot at a championship as the Chase wears on.
Take for example, Jimmie Johnson, winner of five straight Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup titles entering the 2011 season. In 2009 and 2010, Johnson hoisted the Miles the Monster trophy at Dover en route to his championships. Prior to that, the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet never finished worse than 14th in a Chase race at the Monster Mile in a title season, always priming himself for a run at a championship.
As the 12-driver Chase field comes to Dover for the Oct. 2 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, each driver will do so knowing the importance of taming the Monster Mile to keep championship hopes alive.
Johnson leads all drivers in the field with six Dover wins, including three in the Chase, followed by Jeff Gordon, who last won at the Monster Mile in 2001 and has four total victories, and Ryan Newman, with three checkered flags, including one in the 2004 Chase race in Dover.
Beyond that, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch each have two wins at the Monster Mile, with Kenseth conquering it most recently in Dover’s spring race this year. Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have one win apiece in Dover, Edwards’ coming in the 2007 Chase; and Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick have yet to figure out how to beat the field in Dover.
While Johnson’s win total in the First State stands alone amongst the 12 Chase drivers, he certainly is not lacking in competition when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Dover. Even outside the Chase field, Mark Martin owns four Dover wins, while Greg Biffle has two victories on the Monster Mile, one coming in the 2008 Chase race.
Great tickets are still available for the Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2011 race weekend by calling 800-441-RACE or visiting DoverSpeedway.com.
Race winners in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Dover International Speedway
— Ryan Newman — Sept. 26, 2004
— Jimmie Johnson — Sept. 25, 2005
— Jeff Burton — Sept. 24, 2006
— Carl Edwards — Sept. 23, 2007
— Greg Biffle — Sept. 21, 2008
— Jimmie Johnson — Sept. 27, 2009
— Jimmie Johnson — Sept. 26, 2010
Current Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings
— Tony Stewart —
— Kevin Harvick -7
— Brad Keselowski -11
— Carl Edwards -14
— Jeff Gordon -23
— Kyle Busch -26
— Matt Kenseth -26
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. -26
— Kurt Busch -28
— Jimmie Johnson -29
— Ryan Newman -34
— Denny Hamlin -66
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Dover Motorsports, Inc. is a leading promoter of NASCAR sanctioned motorsports events whose subsidiaries own and operate Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware and Nashville Superspeedway near Nashville, Tennessee. For further information, log on to www.dovermotorsports.com.