NASCAR Dover Preview

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From its start in Loudon the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series remains in New England for the second of the races in the Chase.

NASCAR's post season shootout moves to the concrete, high banks of Dover International Speedway, a track known as The Monster Mile, and with a reputation to match.

Although only a mile round the high banks allow drivers to lap at an average speed approaching 160mph. Combine that with the “self-cleaning” nature of the track, and the unique configuration that leaves the inside of the turns below the top of the straights, and you have a track that both challenges and frustrates drivers.

“It's a tough track, it's a fairly long race,” says Chase contender Kasey Kahne, who needs to bounce back after an engine failure in New Hampshire. “The Monster Mile is difficult and anything can happen.”

It's the combination of the 400 miles and the track that also plays on Penske driver Kurt Busch's mind. “It's definitely one of the most demanding [tracks] on the drivers physically,” he says. “You're wanting to stay as hydrated as you can, get your car set up as well as you can because if you're working the wheel too hard you'll be worn out by half way.”

All of this makes drivers that can handle the monster a rare thing. Statistically the Roush Fords run well at the track, although none of the team's five drivers have won since Matt Kenseth won in California at the second race of the year. Earnhardt Ganassi's Martin Truex Jr. has been considered to be one of the strongest at the track, although he only has a single win from seven starts to show for it.

One driver who, ominously, is looking forward to Dover is the man leading the points, Mark Martin.

“Dover's one of my very favourite race tracks on the whole circuit. Alan [Gustafson, Martin's Crew Chief] and our team are really excited about getting back there, I look forward to getting there.”

But, perhaps the last word on what you need to do to succeed at Dover should go to the man who won the battle of the Roush cars at the track last year – Greg Biffle.

“It's definitely important to keep your nose clean,” explains the Washington state native, emphasising the importance of a good qualifying and track position. “[It's] very unforgiving….when there's an accident [it's] very hard to avoid.”

“It's like a big Bristol, it's very fast and probably the most banking that we run on on the straightaways. When something happens on the straightaway, that straightaway is so banked it's very difficult to manoeuvre.”

That is the great unknown of Dover. A single car crash can quickly become a pile. Elliott Sadler's lone crash in June last year went on to collect Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart among others – a fate all three (and Sadler) will be wanting to avoid on Sunday.

The all important qualifying session starts at 3pm local time, with the green flag expected soon after 2pm local time on Sunday.

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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