Sprint Cup Series returns to the “Monster Mile”

by Blake Smith and Moon Mullins

            In this week’s WBKR NASCAR Preview, we will take a look at the headlines of the week and preview this weekend’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. This weekend’s stop is the third race of 10 in the Chase and the concrete monster always provides good racing and heated tempers. Who will conquer “Miles, the Monster” this weekend? Can Matt Kenseth score his third win in a row? We will all find out together on Sunday!

NAPA and Truex a package deal?

After last week’s announcement of NAPA departing from Michael Waltrip Racing, the rumor mill has been turning with possibilities of where Truex and NAPA may land. While NAPA did announce they would be leaving MWR, they did not announce they would be leaving Truex. A possible landing for both Truex and his sponsor NAPA could be at Joe Gibbs Racing for a fourth team or it could be at Earnhardt/Ganassi Racing for a third team. Team owner, Michael Waltrip did advise he would release Truex from his recently signed contract if another opportunity arises.

Valvoline replacing Quaker State at Hendrick Motorsports

            Valvoline will be reunited with Hendrick Motorsports for a mult-year agreement beginning next season. The Valvoline brand will be a major associate sponsor on all Hendrick Motorsports entries and will utilize it’s stable of drivers for promotions. Valvoline was with Hendrick Motorsports from 1993-1995. No word on how this will effect the current sponsorship location at Roush Fenway Racing.

Kurt Busch’s Car Number Announced for 2014

            Sources close to the organiziation confirmed to the Charlotte Observer on Monday night that Kurt Busch’s car number will be 41 at Stewart-Haas Racing. The #41 will join car numbers 4,10 and 4 at the Tony Stewart stables.

Allmendinger in the #47 at Dover

            AJ Allmendinger will be back behind the wheel of the JTG-Daugherty Racing Toyota this weekend at the monster mile. Allmendinger will continue his stint behind the wheel of the car next weekend at Kansas. "We think Allmendinger's record at Dover is really good," JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter said. "He has led a good number of laps there, come close to winning and it is a track that suits his style. There is not a more aggressive physical track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule than Dover and when you hit there you hit a ton. While Bobby is still recuperating from his broken ribs, Dover is a race that we have decided to put AJ in the #47 House-Autry Toyota."

Sponsors follow drivers for 2014

            As the 2014 season draws near, sponsors are making their moves to prepare for the new season. This week it was announced that Jimmy John’s will follow Kevin Harvick from Richard Childress Racing to Harvick’s new home at Stewart-Haas Racing. Jimmy John’s will serve as primary sponsor of Harvick’s #4 Chevrolet in 12 Sprint Cup Series races in 2014.

While Stewart-Haas gets a new sponsor with Jimmy John’s, they will also be losing financial backing from Quicken Loans. Quicken Loans, who has been with Newman since 2012 will be following their driver to Richard Childress Racing. Quicken will be the primary sponsor for 12 races and serve as an associate sponsor in the other 24 events.

It’s Wonder Bread, Ricky Bobby!

            If you are a NASCAR fan, you have probably watched the movie “Talladega Nights” with Will Ferrell. In that movie, Ricky’s #26 Chevrolet is sponsored by Wonder Bread. Well…Wonder Bread is back for Talladega. The bread manufacturer will sponsor Kurt Busch’s #78 Chevrolet at Talladega in October with the paint scheme used in “Talladega Nights.”

Pre-Season Testing returns to Daytona in 2014

            Pre-Season Thunder, the annual NASCAR testing event at Daytona International Speedway will expand next January to include the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. Testing will kick off on January 9th with the Sprint Cup Series and conclude on January 14th with the Camping World Truck Series.

Race Preview: AAA 400

The Sprint Cup teams will be making their second visit of the season to Dover, Delaware to tackle the “Monster Mile.” In the June race, Tony Stewart took the #14 Chevrolet to victory lane. With "Smoke" out for the season, that means no sweep at Dover in 2013.

43 teams will thunder onto the concrete mile at Dover for today’s practice session in preparation for this afternoon’s qualifying session. While passing can be easy at Dover, pitting is a challenge. Teams will try for a quick qualifying lap to earn a premium pit stall selection for Sunday’s race.

The Dover International Speedway can be described as a Bristol on steroids. The similarities include the concrete surface as well as the tall banking in the corners.  Dover is also known as a “self-sweeping” track, meaning if you hit the outside wall, it is likely you will sweep down the track to the inside. The monster has bitten many in the past and is sure to wreak havoc again this weekend.

The first two races in the “Chase for the Championship” have had some similarities. Matt Kenseth has been the victor with his teammate Kyle Busch coming in second. Another similarity has been the threat of rain in the weather forecast. That aspect changes this weekend as the forecast for Dover appears to be perfect for racing. According to Raceweather.net, the forecast is for sunny skies and high temperatures in the low 70’s.

Blake’s Dover Pick:

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images Sport

The series heads to one of the most aggressive and physically demanding race tracks on the schedule this weekend at Dover. The track, which is only a mile in length doesn’t give the driver a chance to rest as they are “up on the wheel” for 400 laps. A driver who is always “up on the wheel” is Kyle Busch. After following on his teammate’s coat tails the last two weeks, I think Kyle Busch will be in victory lane on Sunday. I don’t expect Matt Kenseth to be far back from him though.

Moon’s Dover Pick:

Getty Images by Jaret C Tilton


Sunday’s coverage of the AAA 400 from Dover begins at 12PM on WBKR and WBKR.com!