Tuesday, Oct 03

Ford Performance - Dover Motor Speedway Advance

The NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series journey to Delaware for one of its biggest challenges yet – the “Monster Mile” of Dover Motor Speedway. The combination of high-banks and narrow straightaways have historically made for some of the most thrilling, yet demanding races on the schedule. However, through seven decades of racing, Ford has recorded at least one Cup win in each while also seeing steady success in Xfinity since the 1980’s.

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Michael McDowell: “It’s fast… It’s high-banked… It’s concrete – It still takes your breath away. I mean, it really does. When you drop down into Turn 1 on the first lap at 175 mph, you’re like, ‘I am really moving.’ There are not a lot of tracks that do that for me anymore. Bristol and Dover are the two that do.  When you get out of the car, you’re shaking. It’s always an adrenaline rush, for sure.”

Aric Almirola: “I love Dover. It’s the home of my first national NASCAR touring series win in the Busch East Series. Then I went back in Truck and won. I’ve always ran well there in Xfinity and Cup as well. I really enjoy going to Dover. A race car driver is always fond of places where he’s successful, so having success at Dover is a big part of why I like going there. But then the racetrack itself is just very unique and awesome. It’s the only racetrack we go to where the sensation of speed is extremely high. A lot of the racetracks we go to, we know we’re going fast but it doesn’t feel as fast in the race car after you adapt. But at Dover, you really feel like you’re riding a rollercoaster, and you get that sensation of speed.”

Austin Cindric: “Dover is probably one of my favorite tracks that we get to go to. As far as just making a lap, the demands of that place are really, really fun. It depends on the day and the weather as far as how good and exciting the racing is from my seat, but if I had the opportunity to give anyone an experience to drive a NASCAR anywhere, it’d be Dover.”

Ryan Blaney: “Dover is one of those places where I feel like we’ve struggled the most there. It’s one of those interesting concrete tracks that is always a little bit odd in how it takes rubber – it’s like a Martinsville on steroids, with rubber getting laid down and packed in. It’s a unique place. Usually the first laps of practice are always very exciting because there’s no rubber on the track and it’s super fast. But, then it changes so much you have to be ready for that.”

Harrison Burton: “Dover is awesome, and one of my favorite tracks to just make a lap because it’s so fast, really intense. You’ve heard from every driver that you go down that hill, and you almost get that light feeling in your stomach like you do on a rollercoaster. You have to get to the throttle so early that it’s always kind of a guess. Like, ‘Eh, am I going to have to lift on exit to make the second-half of the corner?’ It’s just a high-commitment, high-speed racetrack. It gets really fun when it spreads out where you can make runs on the top or bottom and middle. That’s when the racing gets really good. I like Dover. I won a few ARCA races there, and I’ve run well there in the past. It’s a fun one.”


Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric are looking to add a NASCAR Cup Series win at Dover to go with their NASCAR Xfinity Series victories. Briscoe won the second race of a weekend doubleheader in 2020 and eventually went on to win nine NXS races that season while Cindric won the only time the series visited the one-mile track in 2021.



Kevin Harvick recorded Ford’s 700th all-time series victory when he won at the Monster Mile in 2020.  Harvick dominated the second half of the weekend doubleheader, sweeping all three stages and leading 223-of-311 laps to win for the seventh time in 2020.  The victory also clinched the regular season championship for Harvick, who went on to lead the series with nine victories.



Ford won the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Raceway in 1969 when Richard Petty drove to victory lane on July 6.  That marked the only year in which The King drove a Ford and was the fourth of nine wins for him that season, and it came in dominating fashion as he led half of the 300 laps, including the final 109.  It was a Ford day all-around as the Blue Oval led every lap in the race with Lee Roy Yarbrough (124) and David Pearson (26) combining to lead the ones Petty didn’t, and had nine of the top 11 finishers.



Dover proved to be magical for the late Junie Donlavey, who won the only NASCAR Cup Series race of his career at Dover on May 17, 1981 in the Mason-Dixon 500 when driver Jody Ridley took the checkered flag.  Ridley had a good car that day, but it was even more reliable and that proved the difference. Neil Bonnett was the dominant driver as he led 404 of the first 459 laps, but he blew an engine that ended his day.  Cale Yarborough appeared to be the main beneficiary as he inherited the lead, but the same fate befell him 20 laps from the finish and sent him to the garage.  That left Ridley to assume the top spot and he held on from there to register his first and only Cup win.  It also ended up being Donlavey’s only trip to victory lane.  The Richmond native made 863 starts and fielded strictly Ford products from 1965-2002 in NASCAR’s top series that featured names like LeeRoy Yarbrough, Fred Lorenzen, Harry Gant, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader and Dick Trickle.


FROM 500 TO 400

In 1997, Ford swept both Dover events, but it’s remembered for historical reasons because when Ricky Rudd won the spring event on June 1, 1997 it marked the speedway’s final 500-mile event.  Rudd took advantage of being in the right place at the right time after leader Ernie Irvan was involved in an accident with 29 laps remaining.  Rudd took over the lead and held off Mark Martin over the final few laps to lead a Ford sweep of the top four spots.  Martin bounced back a few months later by winning the fall event, which marked the inaugural 400-mile race at the track.  That started a streak that saw him win three straight fall events at the Monster Mile.


Cole Custer has caught his stride in the last three races, recording three top-fives and starting on the pole in Martinsville. Most recently, Custer outlasted the other three “Dash 4 Cash” competitors at Talladega and was awarded $100,000 on his way to a second-best season finish of fourth. Custer carries that momentum to Dover, where he was victorious in the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs. The California native started third and battled up-and-down the field until a green flag pit stop shuffled him to the lead. He was one of three cars on the lead lap after a caution with 23 laps remaining and pulled away to victory following a final restart with seven laps to go.  As a result, Custer became the fifth driver to win in his 100th series start and he did it during Dover’s 50th anniversary season. 



As previously mentioned, Cole Custer’s streak of top-five finishes has helped him advance five positions in the point standings. In the last three races, Custer had improved from 12th to seventh while Riley Herbst continues to be the frontrunning Mustang in fourth after posting six top-10 placings in the last nine races.

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