As the stars of NASCAR headed north from Talladega to Dover, all eyes were on mother nature. It was forecasted that it would rain all weekend long. For some of Saturday, it rained, and all of Sunday it rained. NASCAR made the decision early Sunday morning to postpone the race until noon on Monday afternoon, and this was the right call. There was no chance of the race getting in on Sunday. Thankfully NASCAR made the call early so fans wouldn’t have to be sitting in the pouring rain waiting for NASCAR to decide about the race. As the sun shined down on Dover on Monday, one driver was the shining star in the field to victory at Dover.
Truex Tames the Moster Mile:
Coming into this past weekend’s race at Dover, Martin Truex Jr was riding on a 54-race winless streak. This is the longest winless streak for Truex since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019. Dover has always been a great track for Truex. Dover is where Truex earned his first career victory back in 2007. Now, after this past weekend, Truex has four wins at Dover. However, it wasn’t just smooth sailing for Truex all day long throughout the race. Due to qualifying being canceled to weather, Truex would start from the 17th position. Truex would fight his way to finish 9th in stage one and would finish 4th in stage two. Late in stage two, Truex was questioning the strategy of his crew chief, James Small. Small gave Truex a fiery but brief pep talk.
Truex would eventually get the lead with 69 laps to go in the race after a cycle of green flag pit stops. After managing his way through lapped traffic, Truex seemed prime to finally break the winless streak. Suddenly, the caution would come out for the spinning Joey Logano machine, with 14 laps to go. Then the question became, what would the pit call be? Truex, Ryan Blaney, and Christopher Bell would all take right side tires only. Truex’s closest competition, Ross Chastain, would take four tires. On the restart, Truex would clear Blaney with 5 laps to go, and Chastain would not be able to catch Truex. The winless streak was over for Truex. This was Truex’s third win at Dover on a Monday, an odd but fun stat to keep track of. However, Truex’s winless streak-breaking win wasn’t the big headline from Monday, that belonged to Ross Chastain.
Ross Chastain is Making Headlines Once Again:
Ever since the debut of the next-gen car in 2022, there has always been one driver making headlines constantly. That driver is the #1 Chevy for Trackhouse Racing, Ross Chastain. There is no denying that Chastain has been the one driver in the past 10 years that has brought more publicity and excitement to the sport. But at what cost? Dating back to Dover last season, Chastain has been involved in several incidents in recent memory. It seemed that every week last season Chastain was involved in some sort of incident on track, and that trend is continuing in 2023. From his multiple run-ins with Denny Hamlin to his wall ride at Martinsville, Chastain will always find a way to make headlines during the weekend. That trend continued this past weekend at Dover.
Very early in the race, on lap 81, Chastain was attempting to pass the lapped car of Brennan Poole. Kyle Larson was charging hard behind Chastain. As Poole and Chastain would enter turn one, Chastain would get into the back of Poole. Poole would spin down to the apron, and then back up the track into Larson’s path. This ended Larson’s day, who was running the fastest laps up until the time of the wreck. With Chastain’s reputation being what it has been in the last year, it is hard to believe that anyone will take his side in this incident. But the fact that this incident happened 81 laps into a 400-lap race, it’s understandable the heat that Chastain has received for this incident. But Chastain might have a good shot of shaking off all this heat from where NASCAR is going for their next race.
What to Expect from Kansas:
As NASCAR heads back south from Dover, they will head to the country’s heartland to Kansas. Kansas has been a popular track amongst fans for years, possibly the fan-favorite intermediate track on the schedule. In recent years, Kansas has been known for great racing, some that we usually don’t see at other intermediate tracks. Last season, the two Kansas races were swept by 23XI Racing. Kurt Busch, who is now retired from full-time competition, won the Spring race, and Bubba Wallace won the Fall race. This is a great opportunity for Bubba Wallace to win his way into the playoffs for the first time in his career. It would not be a big shock to see a 23XI Racing car, or any Toyota up at the front of the field at Kansas.
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