Five drivers to watch at Dover

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Here’s a look at five key Sprint Cup drivers to keep an eye on this weekend at Dover International Speedway.

Kyle Busch

The hottest driver in the Sprint Cup Series hasn’t won at Dover since Spring 2010, but he has posted eight top 10s in the 11 Dover races since then. Last spring, he was in line for a top-five finish until he was involved in an incident with Brian Scott. Busch delivered a second-place finish in the fall playoff race that helped him advance. Another effort like that would be par for the course this season for Kyle, who leads the series with nine top-five finishes.

Jimmie Johnson

With Kyle Busch white-hot, Johnson’s mastery at the Monster Mile may be severely tested this weekend. But you can’t argue with his success there: 10 wins (most all-time), 2,999 laps led (again, most all-time), and a 9.1 average finish over his career (best among active drivers). Another victory would make him just the third driver in Sprint Cup history to earn at least 11 wins at a single track, joining Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip. And with one more lap led, Johnson will become the seventh Sprint Cup driver to pace at least 3,000 laps at a single track.

Kevin Harvick

Harvick’s clutch elimination race win at Dover last fall was a culmination of improved performance there since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. He’s led 693 laps in his last four Dover starts, and arguably could’ve had at least three Miles the Monsters on his mantle by now. A valve stem problem on his left front tire cost him a likely win in Sept. 2014 (led 223 laps) and he lost out to Jimmie Johnson last spring in a green-white-checkered finish.

Kurt Busch

While Harvick has enjoyed good results at Dover since joining SHR, the same can’t be said for teammate Kurt Busch, who only has an average finish of 21st in his last four Dover runs. But that figures to change with Kurt Busch riding lots of momentum thanks to nine top-10 finishes in the first 11 races this season.

Kyle Larson

While his great run at Kansas ended in a late-race wreck, Larson should be confident as he heads to Dover. Although he has only four career Cup starts there, he’s posted a strong 7.2 average finish with no finish worse than 11th. Additionally, 88 percent of his laps at Dover have been spent inside the top 15. At 52 points behind the Chase cutoff, a big result is certainly needed and Dover just might be the place for him to get it.

Justin Haley replaces Kyle Busch in Kaulig car for Xfinity race


Justin Haley will drive Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 car in Monday morning’s scheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Haley replaces Cup Series regular Kyle Busch, who was scheduled to drive for Kaulig in the 300-miler. The race was postponed from Saturday to Monday because of weather, giving NASCAR a 900-mile doubleheader at the track.

Busch decided to concentrate on the Coca-Cola 600 Cup race, scheduled for a  3 p.m. start.

Haley also will race in the 600.

Ty Gibbs is scheduled to run in both races.

Charlotte Cup race postponed to Monday by weather


CONCORD, N.C. — All-day rain Sunday forced the postponement of the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup Series race to Monday.

The postponement means that Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled to host 900 miles of stock car racing Monday. A 300-mile Xfinity Series race, originally scheduled Saturday and first postponed to noon Monday, has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. ET Monday (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Cup race is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. (Fox, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Sunday’s Cup race was scheduled to start at 6:21 p.m. ET, but light rain was still falling at that time in the speedway area near Charlotte. Rain intensified a few minutes later and, despite an evening forecast that showed slight improvement, officials decided at 6:30 p.m. to postpone the race.

Monday’s forecast calls for a 34% chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity race and a 30% chance at the start of the Cup race.

William Byron will start the race from the pole after qualifying was washed out Saturday night.

RFK Racing gains sponsorship from submarine recruiting group


CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR racing and submarines? Yes.

RFK Racing announced Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway that it has entered a partnership with BlueForge Alliance, which is involved in securing workers for the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base (SIB) program. will be a primary sponsor for RFK drivers Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher in 10 Cup Series races this year and in 18 races per season beginning in 2024.

The sponsorship will showcase the careers related to the submarine-building program across the nation.

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“I’m proud to support a cause of such vital significance to our country with this new partnership,” Keselowski said. “The synergies between a NASCAR team and our military’s needs to stay on track fast are countless. We hope to inspire the workforce of the next generation across the country when they see RFK race and hear our message.”

The sponsorship will support the mission to recruit, hire, train, develop and retain the SIB workforce that will build the Navy’s next generation of submarines, the team said.

“We are excited and grateful to be teaming with RFK Racing to drive awareness of the thousands of steady, well-paying manufacturing jobs available across the nation. Innovation, working with purpose and service to others are hallmarks of both of our organizations,” said Kiley Wren, BlueForge chief executive. “Together, we aim to inspire NASCAR fans and all Americans to pursue career opportunities that will support our national defense.”

Kyle Larson visits Indianapolis Motor Speedway to survey the scene


Former NASCAR champion Kyle Larson, who is scheduled to run the Indianapolis 500 in 2024 as part of an Indy-Charlotte “double,” visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage area Sunday on Indianapolis 500 race day.

Larson said he wanted to familiarize himself with the Indy race-day landscape before he becomes immersed in the process next year.

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Larson later returned to Charlotte, where was scheduled to drive in the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday night. Next year, he’s scheduled to run both races.

“I love racing,” Larson told NBC Sports. “I love competing in the biggest races. In my opinion, this is the biggest race in the world. I wanted to be a part of it for a long time, and I finally feel like the timing is right. It’s pretty cool to have a dream come true.

“I wanted to come here and kind of experience it again and get to experience how crazy it is again before I’m in the middle of it next year. I kind of want as little surprise as possible next year.”

In the 2024 500, Larson will be one of four drivers with the Arrow McLaren team.

Earlier this month, Larson and Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman Jeff Gordon attended an Indy 500 practice day.

Larson said Sunday he hasn’t tested an Indy car.

“I don’t know exactly when I’ll get in the car,” he said. “I’ve had no sim (simulator) time yet. I’ve kind of stayed back. I didn’t want to ask too many questions and take any focus on what they have going on for these couple of weeks. I’m sure that will pick up after today.

“I look forward to the challenge. No matter how this experience goes, I’m going to come out of it a better race car driver.”