NSCS: Johnson continues streak with Dover win

Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Hendrick Motorsports has been on a roll.

Sunday, they kept on rolling with another Jimmie Johnson win at Dover International Speedway. With the win, Johnson has won his seventh race at Dover tying him with Richard Petty and  Bobby Allison for most all time at the Delaware racetrack.

In order to get that win, Johnson had to survive not only the track that is known as the Monster Mile, but his teammate Jeff Gordon.

“It was a team effort,” Johnson said after the race to Fox reporters in victory lane. “The 24 was the car to beat, they had two tenths on us today.”

Gordon only led a handful of laps today, but after the race, Gordon said his car was the fastest that he had ever had at Dover.

Although Gordon had a strong car, it was Johnson that was able to dominate the race today. Of the 400 laps, Johnson lead 289 of them.

It is the second win in three points paying weeks for Johnson and the third straight win for a Hendrick Motorsports driver.

For Johnson, the race wasn’t just won because he had a fast car, but also because his pit crew, who hurt him last week at Charlotte, but this week had solid stops all day allowing Johnson to stay in the clean air and run consistently fast laps all day long.

“My crew has a button up day on pit road,” Johnson said. “I just didn’t want to mess it up.”

Not only did Johnson not mess up his team the way that the race played out played right into Johnson’s hand. An early race caution for a 13 car-pileup took out some of the cars that were in the back of the pack, far behind where Johnson was racing.

Like most of the season, the race featured several long green-flag runs, but when the cautions came they agreed with Johnson and his team.

“Nothing goofy happened,” Johnson told Speed reporters. “The cautions fell when they should.”

For a while it looked like Johnson was going to have to out run Gordon, but when a debris caution came late in the race, it benefited Johnson, but took Gordon out of contention to win.

From then on, all Johnson had to do was survive restarts and drive to his seventh Dover win.

Johnson said that Dover is a track that suits him and his driving style.

“You have to have a loose car here to go fast,” Johnson said. “I like sliding around. The elevation change of the corner suits my style the most.”

After the last restart, Kevin Harvick, was able to drive past Dale Earnhardt Jr. for second, but neither driver was fast enough to catch Johnson in the closing laps.  Matt Kenseth was able to finish third while Earnhardt Jr. fell to fourth. Clint Bowyer finished the day with a fifth place finish.

In the championship points battle, Biffle held onto the lead, but Kenseth is now just one point behind him.

Next week the series will move to Pocono raceway for the first of two annual races at the Pennsylvania triangle.

FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks results:

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Matt Kenseth
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  5. Clint Bowyer
  6. Aric Almirola
  7. Martin Truex Jr.
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Kasey Kahne
  10. Marcos Ambrose
  11. Greg Biffle
  12. Brad Keselowski
  13. Jeff Gordon
  14. Mark Martin
  15. Ryan Newman
  16. A.J. Allmendinger
  17. Paul Menard
  18. Denny Hamlin
  19. Jamie McMurray
  20. Bobby Labonte
  21. David Ragan
  22. Jeff Burton
  23. Travis Kvapil
  24. Kurt Busch
  25. Tony Stewart
  26. Carl Edwards
  27. Regan Smith
  28. Juan Pablo Montoya
  29. Kyle Busch
  30. Reed Sorenson
  31. David Reutimann
  32. Dave Blaney
  33. David Stremme
  34. J.J. Yeley
  35. Stephen Leicht
  36. Mike Bliss
  37. Scott Riggs
  38. Landon Cassill
  39. Joe Nemechek
  40. David Gilliland
  41. Casey Mears
  42. Michael McDowell
  43. Scott Speed

 

 

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