NASCAR & Auto Racing

A Chase spoiler in store?

A little more about the Cup race at Dover to consider:

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Kyle Busch spent the regular season establishing his No. 18 Toyota team as the one to beat. But his lead entering the Chase evaporated when he finished 34th last weekend. Can Busch, who dipped to eighth in the standings, bounce back this weekend?

2. In each of the first four Chase years a playoff driver has finished outside the top 30 at Dover - last year, for instance, Denny Hamlin was 38th. If a Chase driver dances with disaster again this year he could get into a hole that's too deep to climb out of.

3. It's not ALL about the Chase. Mark Martin starts second and he has said he'd dearly love a win with the No. 8 team before he leaves Dale Earnhardt Inc. at season's end. Martin has 20 top-five finishes at Dover in his career, so this could be the place.

OBSERVATIONS

Clint Bowyer said Friday that Kyle Busch is "a little bit of a time bomb, but before the explosion it's as sure as heck a good ride." If you wanted to gin that up into a controversy you could. But what you have to know is that comment came right after Bowyer jokingly expressed surprise when asked if Busch should still be considered a championship front-runner. "You guys have given up on Kyle already?" Bowyer said. "One bad week and you've dumped him?" It was all done in a sense of frivolity.

Marc Davis, who finished second to Aric Almirola in the Camping World East Series race here Friday, is scheduled to run his first Nationwide Series race for Joe Gibbs Racing at Memphis next month. Davis, one of the more promising young black drivers in the sport's developmental pipeline, recently ran his first Truck race, too. It's good to see him making progress toward the top rungs on the NASCAR ladder.

JUST THE FACTS

What: Camping World RV 400.

Where: Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Track type: 1-mile track with a concrete surface. The turns are banked at 24 degrees.

Race distance: 400 laps (400 miles).

When: 2 p.m. Sunday.

Weather: Mostly sunny with a high around 80.

TV: ABC.

Radio: Motor Racing Network.

PRACTICE UPDATE

Carl Edwards, who is currently tied with Jimmie Johnson stop the Cup series standings, led Saturday's final practice session and was the most consistent driver in both Saturday sessions at Dover. He was second-fastest in the morning session, behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. Greg Biffle, Johnson and Matt Kenseth were all in the top five in both sessions. Pole-winner Jeff Gordon was not better than ninth in either session.

OBSERVER PICKS

DAVID POOLE

Nine different drivers have won the past nine Dover races, so it's hard to find a pattern. But they don't call Carl Edwards "Concrete Carl" without a reason. He won this race a year ago and won at Bristol a few weeks back. That's pattern enough for me.

Winner: Carl Edwards.

JIM UTTER

A pole does not a race win make, but Jeff Gordon and his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team have been making gains of late. The winless streak ends here.

Winner: Jeff Gordon.

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