Roush looks to remain dominant at Dover
What surprises will the Monster Mile deliver on Sunday?
Can Kyle Busch repeat as winner of this event? If so he will certainly have to fight off the Roush Fenway Racing trifecta of Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth — each earned top-five finishes in both races at Dover International Speedway last season.
Roush cars have won at least one Cup race at Dover for the last five years and have led the most laps (3,499).
Take your pick
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Edwards, who leads the tour with an average finish of 7.7 at the one-mile speedway, rolls off 13th for his 10th Dover start on Sunday. With strong past performances, it's no wonder that the driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford says Dover is "Great, as long as you're not the part that's self-cleaning.
"This track is one of the most fun racetracks we go to," Edwards said. "It's got the highest sensation of speed for me, so that's fun. That's why we all started racing — we like to drive fast. It's a mile (long), it's high-banked, it's fast-paced, and late in the race you can run two or three wide, which is really fun.
"And, yeah, the wrecks here are crazy. It's like driving 100 miles an hour down the hallway in your house. There's not a lot of room."
But the weekend is about more than Roush Fenway Racing.
David Reutimann carried momentum to Dover following his first Cup win in the Coca-Cola 600 last week at Charlotte and claimed the pole position on Friday with a lap of 156.794 mph.
While Reutimann celebrated his victory in earnest, he realizes that some fans won't give the team its due since the race was rain-shortened to 227 circuits instead of the advertised 400 laps. This weekend, he'll be looking to fix that.
"For me, I would like to win a race a little differently than that, but you take them any way you can get them," Reutimann said. "I'm none the less proud of the call Rodney (Childers) made last week that won us the race. I'm really proud that we got a win last weekend and we hope to have a strong run on Sunday to back it up. It still feels really good and this pole just gives us another boost.
"Any time you can win a pole, it's big for your team. I do think we have a little momentum going right now and a strong race team and it is showing."
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Kasey Kahne starts alongside Reutimann, the second time he has claimed a front-row start since 2005. In 10 starts, he's scored just one top 10 at Dover but has four crashes and one part failure in the same span. He's hoping to reverse the trend this weekend as Richard Petty Motorsports begins using the Dodge R6 engine.
"So far in practice I can really tell the difference," Kahne said. "I can really get off the corner and on to the straightaway because of the torque it has compared to the R5.
"The new engine is something that we've needed and I think that it's going to be really good with cars around me as well."
But not even the engine will shield Kahne from the physical demands of Dover.
"It certainly gets your attention," Kahne said. "You can run pretty hard here and the track is pretty rough. The concrete is rough and you get bouncing around like you're on really, really hard tires."
Dover International Speedway received a dramatic renovation over the winter that included improvements to its notoriously treacherous pit road. A new SAFER barrier was attached to the longer (432-foot) pit wall and currently covers all four turns and the inside retaining walls.
Edwards shared the sentiment among all drivers that the additional SAFER barriers or "soft walls" are welcomed as it alleviates the force from impact.