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Everything That Happened In the Cup Race at Dover

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What’s Happening?

The NASCAR Cup Series returned to the Monster Mile, Dover Motor Speedway, for the series’ one and only trip to the one-mile concrete oval in 2024. After a thrilling finish last weekend at Talladega that saw 23XI’s Tyler Reddick snag his and the team’s first victory of the season, Miles the Monster awaited.

Dover always presents a unique challenge to the stars of NASCAR’s top series, as there is not another track on the schedule quite like the Monster Mile. The continuous banking and narrow straightaways are notorious for causing treacherous tire falloff that can make long runs on this track very tricky.

You Need to Know:

  • Truck Series standout Corey Heim was in the No. 43 Camry for Legacy Motor Club in place of the injured Erik Jones, making his Cup Series debut
  • Legacy co-owner and seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson made his return in the No. 84, looking to add to his record 11 Dover wins.
  • Ford was still looking for the manufacturer’s first win of the 2024 season but ultimately fell short.

Kyle Busch led the field to green and set the pace early, not relinquishing the lead until lap 34 when Ryan Blaney’s persistence paid off, taking his Blue Oval to the lead. With a drastic change in weather from qualifying on Saturday, which saw track temperatures much lower causing tire cording after only 20 lap runs, Sunday saw much higher track temps, leading to rubber being laid down quickly and much less tire issues for drivers. Kyle Larson made his presence known early, working his way through the field quickly from his 21st-place starting position.

The race saw its first yellow of the day on lap 40 when Front Row driver Todd Gilliland spun coming out of turn 4.

Pit Road Trouble Early

Drivers quickly took the opportunity to make the left turn onto pit road to fill up with Sonoco race fuel, put on four fresh Goodyears, and make the first major adjustments of the day. Dover’s narrow pit road caused problems early for Heim, who had contact with fellow Toyota driver Reddick coming into his pit stall. Both drivers were able to continue, with Reddick sustaining some slight damage to the front splitter of his No. 45. Christopher Bell also had issues on pit road, dragging his tire changer out of the box and having to back up to finish the stop. Michael McDowell was also hit with a speeding penalty, forcing him to start at the tail end of the lead lap on the restart.

Blaney and William Byron restarted on the front row when the race went back green, with Blaney maintaining the advantage. Ryan Preece, who had an issue with smoke filling the cockpit of his #41 Stewart-Haas Ford Mustang Dark Horse throughout the early portion of Stage One, pitted under green and eventually took his car to the garage due to the same issue. Byron took the lead from Blaney at Lap 80.

Truex, Jr. Storms to the Front, Captures Stage One

Martin Truex, Jr., last year’s Dover winner, tracked down Byron with six laps to go in Stage One and went on to capture the green checkered flag under yellow, after Brad Keselowski spun with three to go, to win his second stage of the year.

Stage two started out as stage one finished, with Truex, Jr., and Byron out front, also featuring a very tight side-by-side battle between Larson and Denny Hamlin, which saw Larson finally prevail for position after 5 laps, with neither driver willing to give an inch. Chase Elliott had a brush with the wall early in the stage, but maintained a top-10 running position, while Heim, making his Cup Series debut, impressed with some solid passes in the middle of the stage.

Green flag stops and differing strategies

The first green flag stops of the day began on Lap 182, and saw more pit road issues, including Byron going a lap down due to dropping the jack too soon and having to re-jack the car. Cory LaJoie implemented an aggressive strategy by staying out long and hoping for a caution to gain valuable track position. LaJoie officially led the race at the halfway point, logging 33 laps led, but the long run strategy ultimately proved fruitless, as Larson was able to track the 7 car down as the much older tires eventually fell off by over a full second per lap.

Larson Powers to Stage Two Win

Larson captured the stage two checkered, claiming his sixth stage win of the season. Larson was followed by fellow Hendrick teammate Alex Bowman, who finished second in the stage in the midst of his strongest run of the season thus far.

11 Team continues to dominate on pit road

Despite entering pit road as the leader at the end of stage two, Larson conceded the lead to Hamlin, whose pit crew once again performed a flawless pit stop to win the race off pit road, giving the 11 car the lead to start the final stage. Hamlin was able to gap Larson by over three seconds within the first 20 laps of stage three.

Truex sustains damage

Stage one winner Truex, Jr. sustained significant front-end damage during the stage three restart after contact with the back of Bowman’s No. 48. The 19 team eventually applied bear bond to the front end.

More Green flag stops, caution for Stenhouse

In the midst of green flag stops at the halfway point of stage three, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr went for a spin off of turn two after contact with the 4 car of Josh Berry.

Bell, Byron, Wallace Involved in Backstretch Pileup

Shortly after the restart following the Stenhouse Jr. spin, Bubba Wallace, Christopher Bell, and William Byron saw their day cut short due to a multi-car accident coming out of turn two onto the backstretch after Wallace had apparent contact with the 71 car of Zane Smith. Wallace slid down the track into oncoming traffic, collecting the No. 20 of Bell, who appeared to be rear-ended by Byron’s No. 24 when checking up to miss the sliding Wallace. All three drivers were checked and released from the infield care center.

Hamlin dominates the final stage, collecting third win of 2024

Hamlin did not pull any punches in the final stage and finished off a very strong Dover performance by holding off a late charge from Larson to collect his 54th career Cup Series victory.

In the Stands

connor_allen21 was not a fan of the air blocking at the end of the race by winner Denny Hamlin

cw404034 was a fan of the racing at Dover and was hoping for a good finish for Chase Elliott

ji711 was very impressed by a solid stage in the Next Gen car. At DOVER!

Conclusion

Three stages, three different winners. There were comers and goers at Dover, with Truex, Jr. and Larson winning stages, and Hamlin coming away with the checkered flag at the end. Plenty of parity was shown at the Monster Mile, with a handful of different drivers leading laps, some interesting strategies, as well as some very impressive finishes from Noah Gragson, who scored a sixth-place finish and being the highest-finishing Ford driver, with Kaulig driver Daniel Hemric scoring a season-best ninth-place finish. What did you think of the race at Dover? Be sure to let us know by commenting on all our social media pages. Also, be sure to check out the rest of DailyDownforce.com for recaps for all races as well as all the latest storylines and fan discussions. 

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