NASCAR at Dover notebook: Monster performance: Busch looks to tie top-10 mark Monday

Kyle Busch at Dover this weekend. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Kyle Busch has been consistently crushing it ever since this Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season began at Daytona International Speedway in February.

He has already notched three victories this season and now he is on the verge of tying a Cup Series record.

Busch is nipping at a record held by Morgan Shepherd when he posted a record 11-consecutive top-10 finishes to open the season in the Cup Series.

He is 10-for-10 in finishing among the top-10 so far this season. He’ll tie Shepherd’s mark with a top-10 in the Gander RV 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Monday.

“It is kind of on our mind right now going into every week, we want to win,” Busch said. “That is what we strive to do every time we hit the track. We thought it would come to an end last week at Talladega and it was close. We were right on the verge, but we made it through another one.

“We have the opportunity this weekend to go to the Monster Mile and try to come out of here with another top-10 finish. Hopefully, we can finish, and if we can, hopefully, we finish in the top ten.”

Four drivers, including Truex, sent to rear

Four cars, including two-time Dover winner Martin Truex Jr., failed pre-race inspection twice on Sunday at Dover International Speedway and will be forced to start from the rear of today’ Gander RV 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

Truex, Matt Tifft, Ryan Preece and Alex Bowman were penalized by NASCAR officials and each lost a crew member for the race and will have a 15-minute practice hold at next week’s race at Kansas.

“It’s going to be tough coming from the back,” Truex said. “Dover’s a tough place to pass on but if we get some long green flag runs then we’ll try to make some moves and come to the front.”

Bowman had qualified fifth in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Truex was 13th in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Tifft was 32nd in the No. 36 Front Row Motorsports Ford and Preece was 29th in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet.

“That’s a bummer,” Bowman said. “Hopefully, we’ll get the car up front once we finally get the car on track.”

Goodyear faces stiff test on Dover’s high banks

Dover International Speedway is a high-speed, high-load race track that features a concrete surface. That gave Goodyear engineers a challenge in developing a safe tire for today’s Gander RV 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

The right-side tire that was run at the Monster Mile had to be able to withstand the loads generated and at the same time feature a tread compound that “rubbered-in” the track surface.

With the new higher downforce settings and 750 horsepower engine-package in the Monster Energy Series, corner speeds were up at Dover all weekend long, leading to record lap speeds and putting more demand on the tires.

“Like we saw at Bristol, Dover will provide quite the challenge for the Cup cars,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “This falling under the ‘short track’ category, with the high downforce and high horsepower settings, the Cup cars will be running extremely fast through the corners and putting an extreme amount of load on the tires.

“Grip will be at a premium and we always put a priority on rubbering in the concrete surface, which we are able to do to an appropriate level with the compounds we bring to Dover.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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