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Buckle Up 200 Preview: A Dover Battle Royal

Buckle Up 200 Preview: A Dover Battle Royal

by May 31, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

DOVER, Del. — If we are to pick out the favorites for the Buckle Up 200 off of practice speeds, Saturday’s race at the Dover International Speedway will be a tight battle between JR Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Joey Logano (Team Penske), and Kyle Larson (Turner Scott Motorsports.)

Chase Elliott (JR Motorsports) was the fastest car throughout both of Friday’s practice sessions with his quickest lap being clocked at 22.840 seconds. Teammate Regan Smith would be slightly off of his teammate’s pace as his fastest lap of the day was a 23.339 second lap.

While both JR Motorsports drivers will be looking to fend off Richard Childress Racing to get to victory lane for the fourth combined time this season, the two teammates will also be duking it out for the points lead as well throughout Saturday’s 200-lap event. Last week’s race at Charlotte handed Elliott’s points lead over to Smith after the 18-year-old experienced mechanical issues during the race and finish 37th. Elliott will be looking to take advantage of his practice pace to try and reach victory lane for the third time this season and claw into his teammate’s points lead.

All four of Richard Childress Racing’s entries for the Buckle Up 200 have shown some strong pace in practice themselves. Cale Conley was able to place himself second on the speedchart in the first practice for the race; his teammate, Ty Dillon, would be right behind him in the third position in the morning. Brian Scott would run the seventh-quickest time of the morning session while Brendan Gaughan would be just outside of the top-10 in 13th. The afternoon session all three drivers in the top-10 with Scott leading the way with the second-fastest time of the session.

Scott has found success at Dover in the past, winning the track’s Camping World Truck Series event in 2009. Dillon and Gaughan have put together solid runs at the track in the Camping World Truck Series as well in the past, with Gaughan scoring a top-five finish here in a truck last season.

The RCR group as a whole have been picking up momentum in the past several weeks with all three-full time drivers beginning to build some consistency at Talladega. With momentum in their corner and with some fast cars supplied from the shop, Richard Childress Racing may have what it takes to get to victory lane for the first time this season.

To do that though, they’re going to have to go through Logano.

Logano has won the last consecutive races at Dover for both Team Penske and for Joe Gibbs Racing dating back to June 2012. Logano not only has a hot streak at Dover on his side but he also has a fast No. 22 Hertz Mustang underneath him as well. Logano placed within the top-five of both of Friday’s practice sessions and came 68-thousandths of a second from knocking Elliott off of the top of the scoring pylon in the afternoon practice session. Whenever Logano enters at Dover in the Nationwide Series, all eyes will will be glued to him.

Larson may have the tools to earn his third win of the season and his second consecutive win in the series. Larson finished in the top-10 in both of his Dover races last season – his highest finish being a runner-up finish in last September’s race. Larson has been red-hot recently in the Nationwide Series and has been right up there with Logano in both practice sessions as well.

JR Motorsports v Richard Childress Racing v Joey Logano v Kyle Larson – sounds like the makings of one great Nationwide Series battle royal.

The Buckle Up 200 will have television coverage provided by ESPN at 2:00 p.m ET. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Satellite NASCAR Channel 90 will provide radio coverage for the event as well. If you’re not able to view or listen to any of these media networks, feel free to follow @TheFourthTurn, @HunterThomas08, and @KPokrefky on Twitter to catch our coverage of the Buckle Up 200.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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