Sunday, June 1, 2014

Johnson Goes Back-to-Back at Dover

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Jimmie Johnson returned to victory lane at Dover after winning the FedEx 400 on Sunday.

Johnson’s victory was his second of the season, and his second-consecutive victory.  It was also his record eighth victory at Dover.  He won in dominating fashion, leading 272 of 400 laps.
Photo courtesy Sean Gardner/Getty Images
“It is incredible,” Johnson said in victory lane. “Thankful for this awesome race team and an awesome car.  Happy to get the job done today.”

Following last week’s victory, Johnson and his team said they would be strong again this weekend.

“We’d been getting closer, and we got a new generation car that Chad [Knaus] had a lot of faith in and we got the job done,” Johnson said.

Brad Keselowski won the pole and started first, but he didn’t stay there long. Kyle Busch took the lead in the first corner to assume his familiar position at the front.  Busch was looking to sweep the weekend after winning the Truck race on Friday and the Nationwide race on Saturday.

Busch led until the first caution came out on lap 65 when Alex Bowman hit the wall.

Busch led the field back to the green flag, and he had to race hard with Johnson for the lead.  Johnson finally reeled Busch in and took the lead for the first time on lap 82.

On lap 126, Busch got together with Clint Bowyer to bring out the caution.  Bowyer cut up in front of Busch, running him into the wall and ending his day.  Under the caution, Busch chased Bowyer on the track before being forced to go to the garage by NASCAR.

The race restarted on lap 132, and Johnson led the field back to the green flag.  The race did not stay green for long, as the caution came back out on lap 135.  AJ Allmendinger got loose passing Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Allmendinger got into Greg Biffle.  Biffle and Stenhouse got together and spread debris all over the track.

The damage to McMurray's car. (Photo courtesy @MRNRadio)
Following a short red flag, Johnson led the field back to the green on lap 141, but Kevin Harvick was able to outrun Johnson on the restart to take the lead.

On lap 159, Jamie McMurray hit a piece of concrete that came off the track and got into the wall.  NASCAR stopped the race and fixed the track during a 22-minute red flag delay.

Harvick led the field back to the green flag, but he suddenly slowed and had to pit with a flat tire.  That gave the lead to Matt Kenseth.

Johnson was able to take the lead away from Kenseth on lap 178, and he ran away from the field.  He was able to hold off the rest of the field over the course of two more cautions and another round of green-flag pit stops.

The caution came out on lap 361 for debris.  Johnson led the field down pit road, but Bowyer took only two tires and he took the lead.

Bowyer led the field back to the green flag on lap 367, but Johnson blew around him on the outside to take the lead for the final time.

The final caution came out on lap 393 for debris left on the track after Casey Mears blew a tire.   Johnson stayed out during the caution, and he led the field back to the green flag.

Johnson raced hard with Keselowski for the lead, as Keselowski drove it hard into the corners to try and take the lead.  He couldn’t find a way around Johnson, who quickly ran away from the rest of the field to win the race.

Here are the unofficial results:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Clint Bowyer
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Tony Stewart
8. Joey Logano
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
10. Paul Menard
11. Kyle Larson
12. Aric Almirola
13. Jamie McMurray
14. Carl Edwards
15. Jeff Gordon
16. Marcos Ambrose
17. Kevin Harvick
18. Kurt Busch
19. Kasey Kahne
20. Austin Dillon
21. AJ Allmendinger
22. Brett Moffitt
23. Danica Patrick
24. Reed Sorenson
25. Casey Mears
26. Justin Allgaier
27. Cole Whitt
28. Josh Wise
29. David Gilliland
30. Blake Koch
31. Ryan Newman
32. Ryan Truex
33. Dave Blaney
34. Landon Cassill
35. Michael Annett
36. David Ragan
37. David Stremme
38. Greg Biffle
39. J.J. Yeley
40. Alex Bowman
41. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
42. Kyle Busch
43. Brian Vickers

Next weekend, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the mountains of Pennsylvania for the first of two races at Pocono Raceway.  The Pocono 400 is next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST, only on TNT.

Photo courtesy Team Lowe's Racing Facebook Page

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