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Last Updated May 01, 2022, 19:51 PM

Drydene 400 Picks, Predictions, Odds

NASCAR says three organizations have won at Dover International Speedway’s high-banked 1-mile concrete oval in the last 17 races. Last season one of those teams, Hendrick Motorsports, had all four of its drivers finish 1-2-3-4 in a dominating performance from the same team that set up Jimmie Johnson to win a track record 11 races. 

When Alex Bowman led the Hendrick charge last season after runner-up teammate Kyle Larson led 263 of the 400 laps, it gave Hendrick 21 all-time wins among the 103 Dover Cup races run since the first event in 1969. The four current Hendrick drivers are listed at odds to win of 10-to-1 or lower at Caesars Sportsbooks with Larson the 4-to-1 favorite.

(Getty)

DRYDENE 400 PICKS & PREDICTIONS

However, we have the new car with wider tires and this weekend will be the first time on the concrete of the Monster Mile. Through 10 races this season, five different organizations have at least one win. Hendrick has four wins, Trackhouse Racing has two wins, Joe Gibbs Racing has two wins, Team Penske and Stewart-Haas Racing have one win each.  

“It’s called the Monster Mile for a reason,” three-time Dover winner Kyle Busch said. “It’s almost like going around a circle in a rollercoaster. The drop-off you have going into the corners, the sustained load that you have, as well as the G-force of turning around that turn and going back in the other direction.”

I love that description by Busch, one of three active drivers with three Dover wins. It’s a shame they took one of the two races away from this unique layout with 24 degrees of banking. There’s nothing like it, but NASCAR needs more road courses and dirt races.

Busch is listed at 10-to-1 odds this week and seven Dover races have passed since he last won there in 2017. He leads all active drivers with 13 top-fives at Dover. And we also can’t forget his five Xfinity Series wins and four Truck Series wins. Busch is tied with Chase Elliott for the series lead with seven top-10s this season.

DRYDENE 400 BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Sunday, May 1, 2022
  • TV-Time: FS1, 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Dover Motor Speedway
  • Location: Dover, Delaware
  • Distance: 400 miles
  • Laps: 400

Elliott is the lone Hendrick driver with no wins this season, but he has a 2018 win at Dover. In fact, his Dover resume is quite impressive. His third-place finish last season was his eighth top-five in 11 Cup starts there. That’s like Elliott road course stuff almost. 

The parity of 2022 with the new cars is no more apparent than the fact that Elliott doesn’t have a win yet, neither does Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano, or Kevin Harvick. That’s four former NASCAR Champions winless after 10 races.

Harvick makes his 42nd Cup start at Dover and leads all active drivers with 1,631 laps led while also accumulating 10 top-fives and three wins. He’s a big fan of the Monster Mile.  

“Dover is just a unique animal of its own just because of the fact it has those elevation changes and it has a lot of speed,” Harvick said. “Dover is going to be one of the most difficult places we go to in order to just say, ‘OK, this is what we’ve got to do from a driving standpoint to really be up to speed.’ The corners are really long, you have a huge compression when you go down the hill and the car sets, then you get back on the throttle and it shoots you back up out of the hill. It’s a physically demanding racetrack and it’s a racetrack where you definitely get the biggest sensation of speed of anywhere we go because of the way it compresses you down into the banking and tosses you up out of it.”

Harvick is 15-to-1 to win at Caesars and someone to consider for a wager. It feels like not too long ago he led 223 of 311 laps at Dover in 2020 for his third win. Remember when they jammed two races into one weekend? I loved the COVID-19 initiative by NASCAR that season. I want more of it in the future. Hamlin won on Saturday, Harvick won on Sunday.

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DRYDENE 400 BETTING ANALYSIS

Hamlin’s win was the first of his career at Dover after 29 starts. He’s not sure what to expect this weekend. 

“It’s another week and another challenge being the first time we’re on a concrete track with this car,” Hamlin said. “It will be interesting to see how the tire does and how the track takes rubber or if it even takes rubber like we hope. It’s a long race Sunday, so we’ll have our hands full trying to stay on top of it, but hopefully we will see the groove widen out and give us options as we go through the day.”

Hamlin was ordered by NASCAR to immediately take sensitivity training following a tweet making fun of Kyle Larson who is of Japanese descent. 
The thing I find stunning about Hamlin this season is that his only top-10 of the season came with his Richmond win where his team was rewarded with smart pitting. But Hamlin led only five laps that day. Outside of the two superspeedway races, Hamlin and his team have struggled this season. He didn't do well on the superspeedways either this season.

If the car doesn’t have a chance on speed alone, but a smart driver, clever crew chief, and great timing can see some other drivers pop up with a chance to win.

DRYDENE 400 CONTENDERS

  • Ryan Blaney +1000
  • Joey Logano +1200
  • Denny Hamlin +1400
  • Chase Elliott +1400
  • Brad Keselowski +1400
  • Bubba Wallace +1400
  • Austin Cindric +1400
  • Chase Briscoe +1400
  • More Futures Odds

How about it Tyler Reddick, who has a 2015 Truck Series win at Dover? But he’s 18-to-1 to win and the joy of winning with him for the first time has been diminished some because the sportsbooks are dropping his odds each week and he still has no wins.

How about Christopher Bell at 22-to-1 odds? Now we’re talking. I can get behind this because he’s good on the concrete. It suits his style well. He won Xfinity Series races at Dover in 2018 and 2019. 

How about Phoenix winner Chase Briscoe at 28-to-1 odds to win? He won one of the doubleheaders at Dover in Xfinity Series in 2020. He thinks this is a good track for him.

“Yeah, I’ve always loved going there,” Briscoe said. “It’s really high-speed, high-commitment, high-reward, and those are the kind of places I enjoy running. So yeah, I’ve always enjoyed going there and I’d love to get another win there. It’s one of my favorite racetracks, especially when we can move around and run other lanes, and that’s the area I’m kind of curious to see how this NextGen car kind of plays into that. It’ll be a really fast track this weekend, so hopefully we’ll have a fast car and be able to take advantage of it.”

Joey Logano is 12-to-1, but he’s never won a Cup race at Dover. However, he dominated two full years of Xfinity Series races there in 2012 and 2013. That’s four straight wins he had going. The reason to bet him this week would be because his car is good almost every week, just as Penske Teammate Ryan Blaney is. Blaney has a 2017 Xfinity Series win at Dover but doesn’t have a top-five in the Cup Series in 11 starts.

Martin Truex Jr. is Caesars Sportsbook's second choice to win at 15-to-2 odds. The three-time Dover winner grabbed his first Cup win there in 2007. He also won there in the Xfinity Series in 2005 and 2005. New car, first time on the concrete, sounds like this is going to be a challenge.

“It’s going to be a challenge for sure,” Truex said. “Dover is so different from anything we have raced so far and really different from anywhere that we go all year. So that practice is going to be very important. It’s a hard track to get right anyways but throw in the new car and limited track time, it’s going to be difficult. I love going there though, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

(Getty)

Practice and qualifying is Saturday at 10:30 am PT on FS1. I would recommend getting back into the habit of using practice as a handicapping tool, particularly the 10-consecutive lap average. By all means, get the best prices before practice but enhance an opinion more after practice.

My favorite long shot of the week is Cole Custer at 200-to-1 odds just because he’s always performed well on the Dover concrete whether it was a 2019 Xfinity Series win on it or a 10.3 average finish between three Cup starts. He was 10th last season and I’ve seen moments this season where I was “Wowww, Cole Custer means business today.” I wonder how he feels about Dover.

“I love Dover,” Custer said. “You’ve got to be really aggressive and just go for it, or it’ll eat you up. But you also have to be very strategic with how you work the gas pedal and make your way through the corners. There’s a reason it’s called the Monster Mile. If you aren’t ready for it, and don’t pay attention to those details, it can be a handful.”  

I’d love to see Custer crash the party, but ultimately I’m a realist and I think it’s Kyle Larson’s race to lose just like last season and I think Alex Bowman (10/1) will be right there as well. 

Larson, who grabbed his 2019 Dover win while still with Chip Ganassi Racing, loves the concrete. Seven top-fives in 13 Cup starts with a seventh-place average finish shows over the long haul, Larson will find a way to compete for the win no matter what kind of car or no matter what team.

As for Mr. Badass Ross Chastain, a bet on him anywhere is becoming a wise move, He leads the Cup Series with six top-fives this season and has two wins. He doesn’t do well well historically at Dover, but the new car and his stats say that he’ll be somewhere near the lead late because that’s what he does in 2022. Why can’t Chastain win the 2022 Cup Championship?  

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DRYDENE 400 TOP-5 FINISH PREDICTION

  1. #5 Kyle Larson (4/1)
  2. #48 Alex Bowman (10/1)
  3. #19 Martin Truex, Jr. (15/2)
  4. #9 Chase Elliott (10/1)
  5. #1 Ross Chastian (15/1)

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