Roger Diez: Truex has three wins and is favored at Dover

Roger Diez

Roger Diez

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The NASCAR Cup Darlington race last Sunday was entertaining, if only for the throwback paint schemes.
Martin Truex Jr. dominated, winning both stages and the race, although Kyle Larson made the closing laps interesting. Truex now has three wins, the only multiple winner so far this season.
And Noah Gragson’s JR Motorsports entry was disqualified and stripped of the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash prize. But the disqualification was overturned on appeal, so his points and the cash have been restored.
Meanwhile, after scoring his 100th F1 pole on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton took advantage of tire strategy by the Mercedes team to chase down Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the closing laps in Spain, erasing a 16-second lead in the process. The podium was a carbon copy of last week at Portugal – Hamilton, Verstappen, and Valtteri Bottas in third.
I fear that may be a pattern that keeps repeating all season. Although it may be tougher after June 21, when Red Bull’s flexible rear wing will be banned after Hamilton reported noticing the flex while following Verstappen. The team has three races to develop a wing that conforms to regulations.
Formula 1 is off until the May 23 Monaco race, but this is a very busy racing weekend nevertheless. NASCAR is at the Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware, the NTT IndyCar series races on the Indianapolis road course, the NHRA holds the NGK NTK Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte, and the IMSA sports car series is at Mid-Ohio.
Xfinity airs on FS1 on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. while the IndyCars race at 11:30 a.m. on NBC and NHRA qualifies at 4 p.m. on FS1.
Sunday, it’s more NHRA qualifying at 8:30 a.m. with final eliminations at 3 p.m., both on FS1. The same channel also airs the NASCAR Cup 400 miler at Dover at 11 a.m. and the IMSA WeatherTech series is on NBCSN at 11:30 a.m.
So, what’s the prognosis for the NASCAR Cup Dover race? With 11-time Dover winner Jimmy Johnson racing Indy cars this season, the biggest winners in the field are Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Ryan Newman, with three wins each.
There are also five one-time winners in the field: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, and Kurt Busch. Harvick and Hamlin split the 2020 August doubleheader at Dover while Larson and Truex won in 2019, and Elliott and Kyle Busch in 2018.
Truex is favored to win Sunday at 7-2 odds. Larson is at 9-2, Hamlin 5-1, Elliott 7-1, Harvick 7-1, Kyle Busch 9-1, and Penske teammates Keselowski and Logano at 14-1.
The GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course will be the 10th outing for the IndyCar series at the venue. Six previous races have been held in the month of May and three were run last season – one on July 4 and a doubleheader in October.
To date it has been a Team Penske benefit with Will Power taking four wins, Simon Pagenaud three, and Josef Newgarden one. The sole exception was Scott Dixon’s victory for Chip Ganassi Racing last July.
But there are a number of hot youngsters in the 26-car field including Barber winner Alex Palou and Texas oval champ Pato O’Ward.
Also making a return to IndyCar this weekend is two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, driving the Arrow McLaren SP #86. The last IndyCar outing for the 45-year-old Montoya was the 2017 500, 63 races ago. He will be among the 34 drivers attempting to qualify for the 33 spots in the 500 next weekend.


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