There’s a reason Dover International Speedway is nicknamed the Monster Mile. It’s because the concrete track eats up tires, thereby creating problems, accidents, and the need for extra pit stops and ongoing strategy. It’s also because, at some point in a race on the one-mile racetrack, there’s a substantial wreck that takes out numerous contenders. This definitely was seen in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday night and again in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday. Seemingly, however, that close-call racing vanished during Sunday’s Monster Energy Cup Series race, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard-fought.
The race began with a change to the front row of the starting grid when pole-sitter Kyle Larson was sent to the rear of the field for failing pre-race inspection. This put eventual race-winner Kevin Harvick in P1 to start. Only 4 laps into the first stage, the caution flag flew for Michael McDowell who spun in Turn 4. McDowell’s spin was accredited to a push from Darrell Wallace Jr in the #43. Corey Lajoie blew his engine on Lap 20 and brought out the second caution of the day. Luckily, the yellow flag wasn’t seen again until the end of the stage and allowed for drivers to settle into a rhythm and focus on advancing their position. Kevin Harvick would go on to win both Stages 1 and 2.
After complaining all race long about an increasingly bad vibration that eventually led to radioing to his team that the driveshaft “was gone”, Kyle Busch brought the caution out on Lap 271 when his #18 Toyota started smoking and leaking fluid on the track. Busch was finished for the day and would go on to finish 35th.
The race resumed for a handful of laps until Mother Nature decided to intervene with rain that lasted just long enough to wet the track. After a 41-minute red-flag delay, the race was underway once again and went uninterrupted for the final 80 laps.
Teammates Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick went head to head on the restart and after an aggressive battle, Harvick pulled away to a 7-second lead to capture his 4th win of the season.
Catch the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway next Saturday night for the KC Masterpiece 400. Get your tickets HERE!