My top picks were about as fast as I figured they’d be at Dover on Sunday, although several drivers and teams committed bonehead blunders that doomed their day, and bad luck struck a few others.
1. Kyle Busch: The 18 was the dominant car on short runs early on, and as the laps wound down, it appeared Busch possibly had the #1 car on long runs, too. He cruised to victory after the other top car, the 48, committed a grievous foul on pit road with 30-ish laps to go, spoiling what would’ve been a terrific duel to the finish line.
2. Jimmie Johnson: The 48 was the other top car, but as noted above, Johnson incurred a pit-road penalty on the final stop, and he finished in the teens instead of first or second.
3. Clint Bowyer: It appeared Bowyer had at least a top-5 car, but a pit-road incident sank his chances of finishing that high (the jack got stuck under his car, and he dragged it around the track for a lap).
4. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex wasn’t quite as fast as I figured. Around mid-race he had a top-15ish car, and he finished 12th.
5. Kasey Kahne: The 9 was on par with the 48 and 18, but Kahne’s gearshift broke off early in the race. The resulting bumbles and penalties on pit road flushed Kahne’s day down the toilet. He finished 20th, two laps down.
Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, and I did not see that coming (particularly Kenseth). Also, A.J. Allmendinger had a terrific car that at one point challenged Johnson for the lead. Unfortunately for the 43, two mistakes on pit road killed his track position.
My Yahoo! Fantasy Picks
I started Johnson over Kurt Busch, and despite his late-race mistake, Johnson still finished ahead of Busch.
I started Ryan Newman and Kahne. Newman was a bit slower than I expected, slipping back to 15th-ish mid race and finishing 13th. Kahne? Sigh, see above.
As noted, Kenseth and Burton had terrific finishes, and as I suspected, David Reutimann also ran really well in the latter stages of the race (he finished 5th).
I rated the 43 the class of Group C in my Update, and he was even faster than I predicted. Fortunately for me, the 43 still managed a good finish by Group C standards despite his many trials.
Casey Mears didn’t light up the scoreboard in his first race in the 83, but he did drive it to a decent finish for Group C (22nd).