Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Up to Speed: Wurth 400 at Dover Preview

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

The Monster Mile. Bristol on steroids. No matter the nickname, Dover Motor Speedway lives up to the hype as being one of the most physically demanding racetracks on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit.

One of just a few concrete tracks currently in use by NASCAR’s top division, drivers have likened a lap around the one-mile oval to riding a rollercoaster, as they drop off the straightaways into the turns before rocketing back uphill on corner exit.

By the time the checkered flag flies on Sunday’s running of the Wurth 400, drivers will feel as they had just been through a boxing match with Mike Tyson.

The past six races at the track have seen six different drivers win, with Hendrick Motorsports drivers Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott winning the last two. Bowman will be on the sidelines Sunday after a back injury sustained in a sprint car crash has forced him out of the car. Josh Berry will substitute.

With inclement weather threatening for the 400-lap marathon, NASCAR made the decision to move the start of the race up to 1:00 pm ET in an effort to provide as much time to get the race in should weather move in over the course of the afternoon.

By the Numbers

What: Wurth 400, NASCAR Cup Series Race No. 11 of 36

Where: Dover Motor Speedway – Dover, Delaware (First race: 1969)

When: Sunday, April 30

TV/Radio: FOX Sports 1, 1:00 pm ET / PRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Channel 90

Track Size: 1.0-mile concrete oval

Banking: 24 degrees in turns, nine degrees on straightaways

Race Length: 400 laps, 400 miles

Stage Lengths: First two stages: 120 laps each; Final Stage: 160 laps

2022 Race Winner: Chase Elliott – No. 9 Chevrolet (Started second, 115 laps led)

Track Qualifying Record: Brad Keselowski – No. 2 Ford (21.892 seconds, 164.444 mph – 06/01/2014)

Top-10 Highest Driver Ratings at Dover:

  1. Kyle Larson – No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet – 106.0
  2. Kyle Busch – No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet – 102.5
  3. Martin Truex, Jr. – No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota – 100.5
  4. Kevin Harvick – No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford – 98.7
  5. Chase Elliott – No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet – 97.1
  6. Brad Keselowski – No. 6 Roush Fenway Keselowski Ford – 91.8
  7. Denny Hamlin – No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota – 89.4
  8. William Byron – No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet – 85.6
  9. Joey Logano – No. 22 Team Penske Ford – 85.5
  10. Ryan Blaney – No. 12 Team Penske Ford – 83.6

From the Driver’s Seat

“Racing at Dover Speedway is like a rollercoaster ride with no tracks,” said Austin Dillon. “There’s none like it, a lot of pace there, you’re driving down into the corner coming off of a four-story banking to the bottom of the track and you just try to catch your breath and get back on the gas, to drive off the corner and do that for 400 laps. Once you get into the race you get into a rhythm, and you start to feel comfortable. The first couple of laps are always hard on you.”

Last Time at Dover

Coming into last year’s race at the Monster Mile, it had been more than a year since Chase Elliott had won on an oval and finally the 2020 Cup Series champion was able to get the monkey off his back.

Just 78 laps were able to be completed on Sunday before rain moved in and pushed the conclusion to Monday.

After 17 lead changes among 10 different drivers, Elliott was able to take over the lead for the final time with 53 laps to go, separating himself from the pack as he pulled away for the victory down the stretch.

“Had some good circumstances finally,” Elliott said. “Really appreciate Alan and our entire team for just sticking with it. We’ve had some tough races over the last, I don’t know, four, five months. Just great to get NAPA back to Victory Lane, great to get Hendrick Motorsports back to Victory Lane.

“Just so proud. This one means a lot in a lot of different ways. Just appreciate all the effort. But thanks to all the fans for coming out. You’re always awesome. Hope to see this big crowd here next year. Just a huge thanks to everybody involved. It’s been a fun day and we’re certainly going to enjoy.

“Like I told them after the race, those guys, they’ve been deserving of one for a while. Glad we could get across the line first. We’ll enjoy it for a few days and go to work next week.”

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who is always strong on concrete tracks, finished the race in second, followed by Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, and Alex Bowman.

The remainder of the top-10 went to Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Chris Buescher, Kevin Harvick, and Erik Jones.

Weekend Schedule (All Times Eastern)

  • Saturday, April 29
    • NASCAR Cup Series Practice (10:35 am – FOX Sports 1 coverage at 11 am)
    • NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying (11:20 am – FOX Sports 1)
  • Sunday, April 30
    • Wurth 400 at Dover (1:00 pm – 400 laps, 400 miles – FOX Sports 1)

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.