Rear View Mirror: Dover

Another race weekend has come and gone and it’s time to have one last look back at the NASCAR weekend at Dover before taking on Kansas Speedway on Friday and Saturday night. I’m already sidetracked before we get into this, so I have to get something off of my chest. The ONLY two times during the 365 day calendar year that I even remember that the state of Delaware exists are the two NASCAR race weekends at Dover. Seriously I cannot think of a more overlooked state than Delaware. No clue if it’s a good or bad place to be but I can assure you it is the least popular state in the country.

AAA Drive for Autism 400

Nothing to see here, just Harvick doing Harvick things. It is mind numbingly brilliant how dominant the 4 team is this season, with no end in sight. It’s hard to even fathom how hard it is to set yourself apart from the competition on speed and Kevin Harvick did all that and more on Sunday as he pulled away by as much as 5 seconds on runner up and teammate Clint Bowyer. A brief battle for the lead was the only thing that was holding Harvick up from an even stronger grip on the competition. I thought the race overall was underwhelming, and mainly because the Xfinity Series and Truck Series both put on phenomenal shows on Friday and Saturday night. The race dragged on and on but all signs pointed to another dominant Harvick Sunday afternoon at the office. There were plenty of bright spots not to be overlooked, with Ricky Stenhouse running competitively early in the race, Clint Bowyer racing for wins again, and an injured Daniel Suarez bringing home a gritty 3rd place finish in what some refer to as the most physical race of the season.

OneMain Financial 200

Who would have ever predicted that amidst all the talk about Xfinity driver-only races, that we’d be so pumped about two wiliest of veterans racing for the win on the last corner of the last lap? Not I. Saturday’s Xfinity Series race was what people expect to see in the cup series races at Dover; experience shining through leading to a grind-it-out type of win. We were so lucky as to see Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler, two of the most experienced full time Xfinity drivers in marquee cars, beating and banging on each other on the last turn of the last lap towards the drop of the checkered flag. Both Allgaier and Sadler have had their fare share of peaks and valleys over the last three seasons as teammates, both missing out on a championship in the final race, but Saturday’s race was a showcase of why they put their head down and just race until the bitter end. Please, please, please give us more of these non-cup driver Xfinity races.

JEGS 200

Recently I have popped off about the ARCA Racing Series being the most fun stock car series to follow right now, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is slowly taking over that spot. Week in and week out the young guns and Johnny Sauter put on breathtaking shows. This week we saw an all out dog fight between Noah Gragson and Johnny Sauter that led to Gragson planting his truck into the wall while racing for the win. Sauter took the win while Gragson continued to make a name for himself. Noah handled himself well while still wearing his emotions on his sleeve and appropriately taking blame for his mistake. I don’t really see where he raced in a way that is even remotely unacceptable, but I respect the hell out of him for taking blame for the incident. We all know the post-race story would have been 180 degrees different had Sauter not hung on to win, but that’s neither here nor there. If NASCAR implemented a “Driver of the Day” award à la Formula 1, it certainly would have went to Jesse Little. The second generation driver, running a limited schedule in 2018, fought hard to lead a couple laps and kept himself in the mix despite a pit road penalty. Big things on the horizon for a good chunk of the young talent in the truck series.

We’ll catch up with you all after Kansas, Spain, and the Indianapolis Grand Prix next week.

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