JIMMIE JOHNSON MAKES HISTORY AT DOVER
On Lap 117, Junior was leading the race when he slowed down to pit but couldn't turn the car down inside the commitment line. The miscue dropped Junior from the lead to eighth place, but he quickly worked his way back to the front (photo courtesy: Justin Heiman, GETTY IMAGES SPORT)
Jimmie Johnson won at Dover Sunday and further etched his name in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history books. The win was his eighth at the one-mile speedway, which broke a tie he held with NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison at seven. It was also the five-time champion’s 65th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, fifth win of 2013, and his third consecutive top-five finish in the 2013 Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup. With the win, Johnson moves up to second place in the standings, just eight points behind Matt Kenseth after three Chase races. Following his seventh-place finish Sunday, Kenseth exits with the eight-point advantage over Johnson that he’ll carry to Chase Race 4 next weekend at Kansas Speedway.
“Two (tires) worked good for us in practice,” said Johnson. “And believe me; I wanted to see four tires line-up in the fourth or fifth row. When they lined up right behind me, I thought I was going to have my hands full. And I really did. Junior drove a whale of a race and track position really gave me the advantage I needed to hold him off. It’s good to get this KOBALT Tools Chevrolet in Victory Lane. I’m very excited.
“To do anything that Bobby (Allison) or Richard (Petty) has done is quite an accomplishment. We’ve had a few sneak away from us here, too, over the years. I’m just so happy to get that done and be the sole leader of race wins here. It’s a very special day.”
Johnson slowed Kenseth’s steady march through the early weeks of the 2013 NASCAR Chase For The Sprint Cup with a dominating victory Sunday afternoon at Dover International Speedway, advancing to second in the post-season standings and pulling to within eight points of Kenseth. Kenseth won the first two races of the post-season Chase and took a fourteen-point lead into this weekend. The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 17.
Johnson took just two tires on a late-race pit stop while chief challenger Dale Earnhardt Jr. grabbed four and the decision helped the five-time champion close the deal on a record-setting day at “The Monster Mile.”
Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., posted his sixth top-10 finish in 28 races at Dover. The driver of the No. 88 National Guard car moved up one position in the point standings to 10th with his 16th top-10 finish of 2013. Jeff Gordon had another strong finish, bringing home a fourth –place finish to give Hendrick Motorsports three of four of the top five finishers. The finish moves Gordon up three positions to fifth in the Chase.
“We’ve had a couple of good weekends,” said Earnhardt Jr. “These are two of the best cars I’ve had all year. But, running second is no better than running 10th. I’d like to get a trophy here soon.”
Two other Chase contenders had top-10 finishes as well at Dover. Kevin Harvick came home in sixth place, his 15th top-10 finish of 2013. Harvick moved up two spots in the standings to fourth. Ryan Newman started third and led twice for six laps before finishing eighth for Stewart-Haas Racing. He also moved up two positions in the standings with his 14th top-10 finish of the year.
Chase drivers filled every spot in the top ten of the final running order. The three others eligible for the post-season – Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards – finished 13th, 21st and 35th, respectively.
Next up for the Sprint Cup drivers is the fourth race of the Chase at Kansas on Sunday, October 6 (1:00 p.m. EDT, ESPN, MRN, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90)—Race 29 of 36 en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 15-17). The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 17.