We all knew that the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season would have a lot more twists and turns. Literally and figuratively. We’re getting closer to the run on road courses, but we’ve got one more traditional event before the drivers begin a stretch that features two road courses in three weeks.
That is this week’s Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway. The Monster Mile has held NASCAR races since 1969 and has been a twice-a-year stop until now. This is the first time since 1971 that the drivers will only go to Dover once and it is the spring race that is still on the schedule.
We’ll dig into all the particulars in this Drydene 400 preview with betting odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Drydene 400 Betting Odds
Martin Truex Jr. as the favorite is the least surprising thing ever. Truex has averaged a top-five finish in his last 10 starts at Dover and is the only driver with multiple wins this season. He’s won three times, including last week’s race at Darlington. It was a dominant win for Truex, who led 248 of the 273 laps in the race.
Kyle Larson’s three worst performances have come on the Daytona Road Course, the Bristol Dirt Track, and at Talladega Superspeedway, where anything can happen. Otherwise, he’s been very competitive and he’s a deserving second favorite at +450.
Denny Hamlin is +600, followed by fellow winless drivers Kevin Harvick at +750 and Chase Elliott at +800. Kyle Busch is also +800 with a good history at Dover and a couple strong performances recently, including just his third win in three years.
Everybody else is +1300 or higher, with Brad Keselowski at that price.
Standings & Futures
Hamlin may be the points leader, but he is only the second choice for the NASCAR Championship. He is +650 to be the winner on November 7 at Phoenix Raceway. Truex is second in points, but the favorite to win it all at +550. Larson is sixth in points, but also priced at +650 with Hamlin.
Elliott doesn’t have a win yet, but that will change. He’s +700 to win the Championship and he should get a win one of the next four weeks with Dover, the Course of the Americas, Charlotte, and then Sonoma. Elliott does well on road courses and he’s been great at Charlotte.
Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Logano, and Harvick are all priced from +800 to +900. It would be hard to see anybody outside of the top guys taking down the title. Harvick is the only one of that list without a win, but if he makes the Final Four, we know how good he is at Phoenix.
William Byron is actually third in points, with Logano fourth, and Ryan Blaney fifth. Larson, Harvick, Elliott, Keselowski, and Busch round out the top 10, with Christopher Bell, Austin Dillon, Chris Buscher, Alex Bowman, Michael McDowell, and Tyler Reddick also in the top 16.
Who Has Had Success Here?
Dover has been a twice-a-year stop since 1971, which means that there are some drivers that have a lot of starts here. Kevin Harvick is one of them. He is one of four drivers with three wins and he won the race here last August. Harvick has 10 career top-five finishes and has led 1,666 laps in 40 starts.
Kyle Busch actually has the most top-five finishes among active drivers with 13. He’s been in the top 10 in 20 of 32 races and has led 1,213 laps. He also has three wins. So does Martin Truex Jr. in just 30 starts and Ryan Newman in 38.
Truex and Kurt Busch are tied with nine top-five finishes lifetime. Newman and Chase Elliott have seven each. Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin each have six.
Who Has Had Recent Success Here?
Truex’s 446 points are the most over the last 10 races. He has 10 lead lap finishes and nine finishes in the top 10 in that span. He also has eight top-five finishes. Truex has led 622 laps in the last 10 races. Only Harvick has more laps led with 828. Harvick has finished in the top 10 in all seven of his lead lap finishes. He also has two wins and five top-10 finishes.
The recent success department very much belongs to Elliott and Larson, though. Elliot has a win and seven top-five finishes in eight lead lap finishes. When he hasn’t gotten tied up in something or had a mechanical problem, he’s been dynamite at Dover. Larson has a win and five top-five finishes in his eight starts.
Drydene 400 Picks & Predictions
Elliott and Larson are both picks for me this week. The +350 price on Truex is a little too low for my liking, but it is hard not to take him with his Dover dominance and also his recent success.
Keep an eye out for matchups as the week goes along. Guys like Elliott, Truex, and Larson seem to have better top-end potential than Harvick, Larson, and Busch, at least relative to how this season is going. There could be some good opportunities there.
The Drydene 400 will be on Sunday May 16 with a 2 p.m. ET start on FS1.