Dover To Host 100th NASCAR Race

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Sunday’s Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is set to be more than the opening race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12.

The Monster Mile is hosting its 100th Cup Series event, celebrating the concrete oval’s 50th year on the schedule with twice-yearly events.

It is not lost on Mike Tatoian, the track’s president and CEO, what it means to head a facility that has reached the half-century mark.

“Obviously, I haven’t been here for all 50 years,” Tatoian said. “But I think it really does reflect the relationships that we really have enjoyed over the years with so many different groups of people that have provided the opportunity to celebrate 100 races.”

The track has seen its fair share of frequent winners – Richard Petty and Bobby Allison have seven victories apiece and Jeff Gordon and David Pearson each won five times – but no one has visited Dover’s victory lane more than Jimmie Johnson.

The seven-time Cup champion has 11 wins in Delaware, and although he finds himself outside of the Playoffs for the first time in his career, Johnson appreciates the role Dover has played in his career.

“My first time driving a car here, I think it was (1998), maybe ’99 in an ASA car,” Johnson said. “I just couldn’t believe there was a track shaped like this. The elevation changes, which are kind of hard to see unless you’re out there, in and off the turns, the amount of banking, the amount of grip, how wide it was, it just blew my mind then and I still come back every time and still have that same realization.”

Johnson’s career-long winless streak sits at 88 races, with his last points victory coming at the Monster Mile in June 2017. Johnson was third-fastest in Friday’s first practice and 11th in final practice and carries optimism into Sunday’s race.

“Really happy with the way practice went (Friday),” Johnson said. “It’s always helpful coming to a track that you know and have success at. That can help steer the team with our adjustments in a way that I think will be helpful.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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