Podium Preview: Drydene 400

Above all, Kevin Harvick hopes for a win with today's Drydene 400 at Dover. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Above all, Kevin Harvick hopes for a win with today’s Drydene 400 at Dover. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Certainly, the remaining Round of 12 racers survived a tough trio of races with another challenging test with today’s Drydene 400 at Dover.  Of course, the Monster Mile in Delaware always presents havoc and incredible stress to those who may fear this concrete behemoth.

Still, with at least 400 miles and laps ahead, valuable stage and playoff points are available while a sweet golden trophy awaits in Victory Lane.  In the meantime, teams and drivers realize that today’s race may be about the least stressful test when considering the next event looming during the holiday weekend.

However, the focus remains with today’s Drydene 400 at Dover. Ashley Hobbs, Cody ShoppeJose Acero JrKobe LambethMatt Sisoler, Tanner Brown, and yours truly mull over the shenanigans surrounding Alex Bowman and Bubba Wallace along with Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s uncertain future.

Question 1
Perhaps Lionel Racing should make a Raced Version of Alex Bowman's ROVAL ride. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

Perhaps Lionel Racing should make a Raced Version of Alex Bowman’s ROVAL ride. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

We saw some tempers flare following the Bank of America ROVAL 400 particularly with Alex Bowman and Bubba Wallace.  Considering what transpired and the less than ideal conditions, is Bowman somewhat in the clear following the post race incident with Wallace? Or might he have a target on his car for the rest of the Playoffs?

Hobbs :  It has been Bubba vs. Bowman for a little while now, and I do not think either driver will let it go. While it may have appeared as though each driver got their last words in, until the air is officially cleared between the two drivers, both drivers will still be targets for each other on, and off, track. Bubba does not care if a driver is in the Playoffs or not – he will race as hard as possible each and every week for himself and his team.

Sisoler :  Personally I do not like Alex Bowman pulling what he did. It was way too risky to dump Wallace in an elimination race, especially one where if Wallace had gotten back to him, it could have ended the 88’s chances prematurely. Keep an eye on this going forward. 

Lambeth :  Alex Bowman’s decision to make an unnecessary enemy was not a smart move on his behalf. Bubba Wallace has nothing to lose, but Bowman can lose out on advancing to the Round of 8 and a potential championship run. Drivers never forget conflicts. Do not expect the 43 car to cut Bowman any slack moving forward. 

Acero :  I don’t want to say that Bowman has a target on his back but stuff like that is not forgotten easily. We all remember the feud between Kenseth and Logano a few years back and how that ended. I believe once Bowman is knocked out (if he does) that Wallace will all of a sudden remember the incident. Look for hard racing from Bubba without any incident towards Bowman, YET! 

Brown :  I don’t necessarily think Bowman is completely out of the clear. We saw a few months ago at Watkins Glen that Bubba is not afraid to ruffle some feathers with top drivers. Even if Bubba doesn’t necessarily wreck or spin him, Bubba can still make it very hard for Bowman to get away the 43 during this round. We also can’t forget what happened at Richmond with Austin Dillon. I think we can conclude that the 88 will a car to pay attention to this weekend!

Question 2
In this case, "Good Day Sunshine" to Chris Buescher in 2020. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

In this case, “Good Day Sunshine” to Chris Buescher in 2020. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

In a somewhat surprising move, Chris Buescher will take over the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford ride driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr since 2013.  With so few seats available in Cup, can Stenhouse find a decent opportunity for 2020? Or might he focus on other racing series?

Shoppe :  From what I see, the best ride that is definitely available is the #37 JTG Chevy that Buescher is vacating. That ride will be hotly contested among many drivers. Aside from that there is at least one spot at Front Row Motorsports Stenhouse Jr has a chance of getting, taking the place of the soon to be retired David Ragan. With RSJ’s long standing Ford connection, Front Row is a good fit for him but with the way the Roush Fenway deal came to a somewhat sour end, would this Roush Fenway aligned team be a good fit for him?

Tiongson :  While the obvious seats for Stenhouse look like the No. 37 and 38 rides, it may not be a bad idea for the two-time Cup race winner to take a step back to the NXS for 2020. Rather than take a ride that may not be as prestigious or stellar as the No. 17, perhaps the Alex Bowman route may work out. It’s tough timing for the Mississippi racer with only seven races left in 2019.  However, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this aggressive driver.

Two laps around Dover can prove truly batty, or shall I say, fun! Now, we’ll review the prior weekend craziness from the Charlotte ROVAL!
A pair of young gun panelists chose race winner Chase Elliott.

A pair of young gun panelists chose race winner Chase Elliott.

Meanwhile, some Florida girl leads the points. Again.

Meanwhile, some Florida girl leads the points. Again.

While making lists on TPF generally means good things, this list usually means sadness for drivers. With that, here’s our predictions for those eliminated after the Round of 12.
Quite possibly, Clint Bowyer's telling this group about his least favorite part of TPF's preview. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

Quite possibly, Clint Bowyer’s telling this group about his least favorite part of TPF’s preview. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

Graphics don't lie.

Graphics don’t lie.

Acero :  Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, William Byron

Brown : Clint Bowyer, William Byron, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson 

Hobbs :   Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, William Byron

Lambeth :  Alex Bowman, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, William Byron 

Shoppe :  Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman 

Sisoler :  Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer and William Byron

Tiongson :  Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, William Byron, and Brad Keselowski

TPF Stats :  Alex Bowman, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, William Byron

Ashley Hobbs dances like the Joker by Crunching the Numbers: Drydene 400 style!
Clearly, Jimmie Johnson helps Hendrick's Dover stats.

Clearly, Jimmie Johnson helps Hendrick’s Dover stats.

Since 2004, the fall Dover winner has an average starting spot of 6.8 while leading an average of 138.3 laps.

Since 2004, the fall Dover winner has an average starting spot of 6.8 while leading an average of 138.3 laps.

Can Cliff Daniels add to Johnson's sterling Drydene 400 stats?

Can Cliff Daniels add to Johnson’s sterling Drydene 400 stats?

First, here's the Drydene 400 race trends since 2009.

First, here’s the Drydene 400 race trends since 2009.

Next, here's the Drydene 400 race trends since 2014.

Next, here’s the Drydene 400 race trends since 2014.

How did last year's fall race at Dover play out?

How did last year’s fall race at Dover play out?

That infernal machine really loves Chase Elliott.

That infernal machine really loves Chase Elliott.

Miles the Monster prepares for a 50th birthday with today’s Drydene 400. Here’s our picks for today’s race!
Six picks sounds like a good six pack of Harvick.

Six picks sounds like a good six pack of Harvick.

Acero :  Jimmie Johnson will spoil the party for the party goers, er, Playoffs racers.

Tiongson :  Maybe now’s the time to be aggressive plus some Floridian thinks I’ve cloned her picks.  On the contrary, let’s go with Jimmie Johnson with his first win not only of 2019, but in two years…at Dover.

Hobbs :  He is the best when it comes to Dover Speedway in the Playoffs – Chase Elliott will grab a spot in the Round Of 8 early on.

TPF Stats :  You can most certainly count on Dawsonville, GA native Chase Elliott every time he comes to Dover Speedway for the Fall race. And this time is no different, especially with ROVAL momentum.

Brown :  Alex Bowman comes back from a wild elimination race at the ROVAL and locks himself into the round of 8.

Lambeth :  Kevin Harvick is going to crack open an ice cold Harvick in victory lane.

Shoppe :  Denny Hamlin.

Sisoler : I think we are gonna see Martin Truex Jr go back to victory lane and tame The Monster Mile!

Race fans, thanks for joining us for our preview of the Drydene 400 at Dover!

We’re ready for some racing. How about you? What do you think are the biggest storylines heading into Sunday’s race and who is your favorite to win?  Tweet us now @ThePodiumFinish and tell us now!

Thanks as always to the TPF team for their amazing efforts this week!  We hope to see you at the races in 2019. 

The opinions and thoughts expressed in Podium Preview are solely of the authors. They do not reflect any organizations affiliated with the participants and author outside of TPF. This weekly feature is strictly for entertainment purposes and are not indicative of TPF, the organization, and its staff.

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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