For the last 11 years, Dover International Speedway has been really kind to the Xfinity Series team that won the spring race at 1-mile track.
Because in eight of the last 11 seasons, the team that won that race also went on to win the fall event at “The Monster Mile.”
Beginning in 2006, the only years this hasn’t taken place were 2007, ’09 and ’15.
Chip Ganassi Racing is the organization that’s set up to try to extend this trend after Kyle Larson won in June. Of its 13 Xfinity wins, it was Ganassi’s first at the track.
Piloting the No. 42 Chevrolet this weekend is the newest winner among the ranks of Xfinity drivers, Tyler Reddick. Joining him in the effort is playoff driver Brennan Poole in the No. 48. The duo delivered a 1-2 finish for Ganassi last weekend.
Reddick, who won at Dover in the Camping World Truck Series in 2015, is coming off winning last Saturday at Kentucky Speedway.
“We can’t get too caught up in Kentucky,” Reddick said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” on Wednesday. “Yeah, it’s the first win. Yeah, it’s exciting, but I don’t want to pass up another good opportunity at Dover, a place the 42 won already this year. I need to hunker down and get focused on it.”
When Larson won, he led 137 laps from the pole to beat Ryan Blaney, who will be back in the No. 22 Ford this weekend for Team Penske.
“(The 42) car was so good there,” Reddick said. “Kyle and the 22 of Ryan Blaney had the field covered by 15 seconds at the end of that race. So I know our car is fast. … We know what we need to do. My first time there in a Xfinity car, it will be a little tough at first. … I will just have to adjust what I do as I’ve done in the past. (Crew chief) Mike (Shiplett) has tried to make the car as close to what Kyle has. … I’m sure I’ll be fine. Dover is a track I love a lot. It’ll be an exciting challenge.”
Poole, in his second full-time season with Ganassi, will be making his fifth start at the high-banked oval. In his first four, he did not finish better than 10th (May 2016).
“Dover is a really tough race track, it’s definitely one of the most demanding tracks that we go to,” Poole told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” on Wednesday. “We’ll have to make sure our car gets through the bumps really well and make sure we don’t get tied to the 2/3-mark in the corners. That sounds strange, but the corners are so long at Dover you get where you’re carrying some maintenance throttle. So you’re half-throttle in the middle of the corner and the car will get tight on you as you’re trying to make the final turn up out of the corner.”
Unlike last weekend at Kentucky, a standalone race for the Xfinity Series, there will be six Cup regulars in the race.
Poole said that will have some impact on the potential pit strategy calls his team makes over the course of the 200-lap race.
“There’s some pit strategy and stuff like that that could put you behind on having an opportunity to get up there and win the race,” Poole said. “You just have to be smart on the pit strategy and decisions you make on keeping some of your track position and still making sure you’re going to get those stage points.”
Poole cited that although he came in second at Kentucky to Reddick, he lost a spot in the points after placing 12th in Stage 2.
“I’m sixth in points where I started fifth,” Poole said. “So I think you’ll see a lot of guys going after stage points.”
If either Ganassi driver is able to complete the Dover sweep, it would join Joe Gibbs Racing (five times), Team Penske, Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing (once each) in completing it since 2006.
The Use Your Melon, Drive Sober 200 airs at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday on NBCSN.