Due to a persisting mist, NASCAR has postponed the Drive Sober 200 from Dover International Speedway. NASCAR did their best effort to throw the green flag, but rain returned to the area after engines fired.
Erik Jones is on the pole, Kyle Busch will start second, Joey Logano will start third, Alex Bowman will start fourth, and Daniel Suarez will start in the fifth position
Logano will not race, but Ryan Blaney will be the replacement in the no. 22 Team Penske Ford. Regan Smith will replace Austin Dillion in the no. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Drew Herring will replace Busch in the no. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. All three drivers were slated to race, but due to the elimination race and the drivers not being locked into the next round in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the teams have decided to find replacement drivers.
Tomorrow’s Drive Sober 200 will begin at 10AM EST on CNBC and Motor Racing Network.
Due to persisting mist, Erik Jones has won the pole at Dover. This is his second straight pole. The field will be set by first round speeds.
Despite rain cutting the Sprint Cup practice session short, qualifying went underway as no cars hit the track within the opening four minutes with Timmy Hill being the lone driver to hit the track. The first round of qualifying was able to go the distance as E. Jones topped the board with a speed of 158.318 mph. Kyle Busch was second at 157.660 mph, Joey Logano was was third at 157.480 mph, Alex Bowman was fourth at 157.089 mph, and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-five with a speed of 157.048 mph. All drivers made a lap on the speedway, and no drivers will be going home.
NASCAR is hopeful to get the Drive Sober 200 completed in its entirety beginning at 3:00PM EST on NBCSN and Motor Racing Network. Green flag is scheduled for 3:06PM EST.
After a week alone in Kentucky, the NASCAR Xfintiy Series thunders into Dover, Delaware to Dover International Speedway for the 31st annual Drive Sober 200, the second race in the Round of 12 in the chase. 40 teams have made their way to Dover to compete for 40 spots on Saturday.
The field for Dover is graced with the presence of Sprint Cup Series drivers. The five Sprint Cup drivers participating on Saturday include Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Matt DiBenedetto, Joey Logano, and Josh Wise.
Dover International Speedway is known as “The Monster Mile”. It is a one-mile concrete oval. The straightaways are banked at nine degrees with the turns banked at 24 degrees.
This will be the 66th race at Dover. There have been 42 different pole winners with Darrell Wallace Jr as the youngest and Dick Trickle as the oldest pole winner. 43 different drivers have graced victory lane with Casey Atwood as the youngest and Harry Gant as the oldest winner. Seven drivers have won from the pole position with Joey Logano being the last driver to do so back in 2013. Logano also holds the race record at 131.219 mph set back in 2013. Ky. Busch holds the qualifying record at 158.288 mph set back in 2010.
After dismal performances by many chase drivers at Kentucky, Elliott Sadler tops the grid with his win last weekend. The bottom three of the grid are Justin Allgaier, Brennan Poole, and Blake Koch.
In their weekly press releases, drivers are excited about the return to Dover.
"With the win last weekend, we can afford to go out and race, be aggressive, and maybe try some different things to get ready for the second round of the Chase. We have a lot of momentum on our side right now and we are looking forward to getting to Dover this weekend and having some fun,” said Sadler
“Last week I made a mistake laying it all out on the line for a win, but we definitely had the speed and that’s encouraging heading in to this weekend. At this point, we’ll need to focus a little more on points racing and go to Dover with that mindset and try to go out and get a solid finish. I think we can get a top-five finish the next two weeks and hopefully that will put us in a good position to move on to the next round and keep us in contention for the championship,” said Erik Jones.
“Our Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association team had a really solid run last weekend at Kentucky. I’m so proud of their effort – we never gave up that whole race. I think this weekend at Dover we can keep building on that momentum. We have to have a solid run to keep ourselves in Chase contention,” said Ryan Reed, who will be making his 100th NASCAR Xfinity Series start on Saturday.
Qualifying for the Drive Sober 200 will be at 11:30AM EST on CNBC. The race will be at 3:00PM EST on NBCSN and Motor Racing Network.
Before his recent win to advance in the chase at Kentucky Speedway in the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300, Elliott Sadler conducted a interview with Speedway Digest about his 2016 and the NASCAR Xfinity Series Chase:
What are your strengths and weaknesses this season?
I don’t really know if we’ve had many weaknesses. We’ve had lots of strengths. We probably excelled on the mile-and-a-halfs a little bit better than we did at other places, maybe in the speedway races. I haven’t had many weaknesses this year. I think that is why we were able to accumulate such a lead in the regular season, and have so many top-six place finishes. We’ve been pretty fortunate this year.
Do you feel as if you have momentum going into the chase?
Yeah, we definitely do. We feel like we got some momentum. Especially coming off a great run like we had in Darlington a couple weeks ago then Richmond then Chicago. Three top-fives in a row usually gets some good momentum on your side.
Who will be your biggest challenger within the next seven races?
I’d say the Gibbs cars. They’ve been extremely strong all year long. I don’t see anything else changing. they’re definitely going to be the guys you have to bet each and every round.
Does experience help going through the chase?
I don’t think so. I don’t think experience had anything to do with it. It’s not like I’m a quarterback trying to read a defense over top a freshman quarterback trying to read a defense. Its all about racing, having a fast car, and putting a race together.
Has JRM been one of your best fits in your return to Xfinity competition?
They’ve definitely been a good fit for me. Dale and Kelly have given me a great opportunity. It is definitely a lot of fun racing for this team. We want to try and go out and make the most of it, and hopefully finish the season on a high note.
What will be your strongest and weakest track over the chase?
We are not looking at it like that. We hope Homestead is going to be our strongest race. The ultimate goal is to win a championship and Homestead is where you’re really going to have to have the best run at. Hopefully the peak of our season will come with an amazing run at Homestead.
Where do you see the state of motorsports and NASCAR as a whole?
We still have a lot of great fans coming to the track every week. Our social and digital ratings are up by a lot. There is lots of great sponsors involved in our sport. Our fans are by far the most loyal. I think right now our sport as a whole is in pretty good shape and in pretty good hands.
The VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 did not fair well for half of the chase field. Many drivers will have to dig out of a hole made at Kentucky.
The first chase driver to have issues during the race was Brandon Jones. Jones was collected in one of the numerous spins by Justin Marks. Jones ended up finishing 26th. He currently sits 11th in the chase field, 35 points behind the leader.
Brendan Gaughan and Ryan Sieg scrapped the wall during the race. Gaughan was able to recover from contact with the wall multiple times to finish sixth. He sits third in the chase standings, 14 points behind the leader. Sieges day did not end well. Siege spun to bring out the caution, but was unable to recover finishing 16th. He currently sits 10th in the chase standings, 25 points behind the leader.
Justin Allgaier was the next driver to experience trouble in the race. Allgaier was collected in a spin by Sam Hornish Jr on lap 131. Allgaier was able to recover and finish ninth. He sits sixth in the chase standings, 18 points behind the leader.
Erik Jones and Ty Dillion were the final two chase drivers to be involved in an accident. Jones and Dillon both spun on lap 189. Jones was unable to return to the track. He finished 28th. He currently sits ninth in the chase standings, 23 points behind the leader. However, Dillon’s team was trying to fix the car, but was unable to return to the track because they worked on the car under red flag conditions. Dillion ended up finishing 27th. He currently sits in the 12th spot, 35 points behind the leader.