Dover Weekend Preview: Snake-bitten Truex hopes for happy homecoming

Martin Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr. has had some of the worst luck in NASCAR this year.

First, he held the lead on the final lap of the Daytona 500 but was edged by Denny Hamlin in a photo finish.

Next, he dominated the April Texas race, leading a race-high 141-of-334 laps until an inopportune caution relegated him to sixth.

Most recently, Truex outclassed the field at Kansas, but was done in when the head bolt fell of his brake during a pit stop on the Lap 212, forcing him to pit a second time and place 14th.

“We’re going to win races for sure – if we keep bringing cars like that, we’re going to win some,” said Truex following Kansas. “It’s frustrating when you’ve had it happen so many times in your career. I swear, you watch guys win races that don’t have the fastest car or on fuel mileage and all this stuff and it’s like, ‘damn.’ Someday I’m going to get on one of those or on the other side of one of them.”

Truex will try to turn his luck around in Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway (1 p.m. ET on FS1) – the home track of the Mayetta, New Jersey native.

He earned his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at the Monster Mile in 2007 and has finished seventh or better in five of the last eight races there.

“It’s always good to go (to Dover),” Truex said. “It’s a special track to me for a lot of reasons. I love going there, love racing there and have a lot of friends and family that come. That always adds some incentive to try to get the win on Sunday.”

A victory would be big for Truex because it would guarantee him one of the 16 berths in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and a chance at a repeat appearance in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Certainly we expect to make the Chase, expect to win races,” Truex said. “The way we’ve run this year, I feel like it won’t be long, we’re going to start winning again. We’ve been so close. It’s not really pressure. We want to get the job done. We know what we’re capable of and we don’t want to let those wins slip away. Hopefully we’ll get a few soon and get to focus on the Chase.”

A second Dillon Dash 4 Cash win would result In Chase Berth

Ty Dillon had money on his mind during the last NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash race at Richmond.

 Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 RCR Chevy.

Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 RCR Chevy.

After starting fifth in the second Heat, Dillon slammed his throttle, bumped the rear of Justin Allgaier’s No. 7 Chevrolet and shot out to the front the field. He led all 35 laps in the heat, and became eligible for the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash prize in the Main. Once in the Main, Dillon averaged a running position of 3.73 and avoided a late-race accordion-style pileup to finish runner-up to Dale Earnhardt Jr. He took home the Dash 4 Cash bonus as the top eligible finisher.

Dillon will go for the green once again in the third installment of the four NASCAR XFINITY Dash 4 Cash races – Saturday’s Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200 at Dover International Speedway (2 p.m. ET on FOX).

This time, he’ll be racing for more than the $100K. If Dillon wins the Dash 4 Cash again, he’ll clinch a berth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase.

“I really enjoy racing at Dover mainly because it is always a unique challenge,” said Dillon, who ranks third in the points standings. “Higher speeds, higher banking and a concrete surface – it really takes a lot of focus during practice to figure out how to get your race car balanced correctly.

“Also, we’re going back to heat racing this weekend with the Dash 4 Cash format so that mean’s a shorter race length. We’ll really have to be aggressive from the start and make no mistakes. I’m sure the fans will enjoy this weekend’s race.”

Reddick readies to vanquish Monster Mile once again

Tyler Reddick, the 20-year-old Californian who utilized his skills honed as a youth on dirt tracks to produce a runner-up NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finish in 2015 has struggled so far this year.

DOVER, DE - MAY 12:  Tyler Roddick, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, practices for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Dover International Speedway on May 12, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

DOVER, DE – MAY 12: Tyler Roddick, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, practices for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Dover International Speedway on May 12, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Through the first four races of his second full-time NCWTS season, Reddick has posted an average finish of just 16.2. He currently sits 15th in the series standings, 34 points off the lead.

Reddick showed signs of breaking out last Friday in the Jayhawk State when he led 56 laps – his highest total in 44 previous starts – but an unfortunate spin with two go-arounds left in regulation caused him to place a season-high 13th.

Fortunately for the No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing driver, he next competes in the JACOB Companies 200 at Dover International Speedway (5:30 p.m. ET on FS1) where he won last May.

Reddick finished eighth at the Monster Mile in his only other start there, in 2014, and is the only driver in the field who has won at Dover.

“The win last year was incredible and I think we can do it again,” Reddick said. “Dover is a challenging race track, but there’s something about it that I really like.  It can be a very physical track, even for 200 laps, but I’ll do everything I can to be at 110 percent.”

NASCAR Race Weekend Guide

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Race: AAA 400 Drive For Autism

Place: Dover International Speedway

Date and Time: Sunday, May 15 at 1 p.m. ET

Tune-in: FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (400 laps)

What to Watch For: With a victory at Dover, Jimmie Johnson would join NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip as the only drivers to win 11 or more races at a single track. … Kyle Busch goes for his second straight win after becoming the first driver this season to post three victories last week at Kansas. … Kevin Harvick tries to win his second straight race at Dover after visiting Victory Lane for the first time there in last year’s Chase race. … Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney make their Dover debuts. The two have both finished in the top 10 in the last two races. … Tony Stewart’s last win came at Dover on June 2, 2013 – 80 starts ago.

NASCAR XFINITY Series

Race: Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200

Place: Dover International Speedway

Date and Time: Saturday, May 14 at 2 p.m. ET

Tune-In: FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: Two Heat Races – 40 miles (40 laps) | Main – 120 miles (120 laps)

What to Watch For: The third installment of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash returns. The highest finisher among eligible drivers wins the $100,000 bonus. … Standings leader Elliott Sadler tries to gain a points advantage over Daniel Suárez. The two are tied in points, but Sadler holds the tiebreaker. … NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series drivers pulling double duty in the race this weekend include Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Josh Wise, Matt DiBenedetto, Travis Kvapil, Timmy Hill and Matt Tifft.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Race: JACOB Companies 200

Place: Dover International Speedway

Date and Time: Friday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m. ET

Tune-in: FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 200 miles (200 laps)

What to Watch For: Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner William Byron attempts to win his second consecutive race. Byron visited Victory Lane at Kansas in only his fifth career start. … Matt Crafton, who has finished second or better 20 times since 2013, can build on his runner-up finish from Kansas. … Daniel Hemric enters the Dover race second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings and fresh off a career-best third-place finish. … Standings leader Timothy Peters goes for his first Dover win.

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