After breaking his race winning drought, it seems Jimmie Johnson is on some kind of streak, picking up another victory, this time in the FedEx 400 at the Dover International Speedway, advancing himself quite nicely in the driver standings of the 2014 Sprint Cup Series, dominating by leading for the most laps in a second consecutive race, fending off a less than serious challenge from Brad Keselowski.
It’s the fourth time Johnson wins at Dover, following his victories there in 2002, 2009, 2012 and 2014 and making it an 8th victory on the tracks for Hendricks Motorsports. He led the race that was stopped for 22 minutes in order to fix a pot-hole for 272 of the 400 laps, while Keselowski stayed in touch after starting from the pole position. Johnson has become the career leader at Dover in laps, reaching 2802, and has put himself in an excellent position to challenge for his seventh Sprint Cup championship.
So now the questions around Johnson not being able to win a single race through the first 11 this season seem less serious. He has two wins, raising him to third in the standings, and assuring everyone he’ll be in the chase. It seems that racing on his favorite tracks fixes previous problems, even his hernia issues that cost him and his team some testing time before the season began, which might be another reason for his sluggish start.
It’s amazing that we can stay on top of things here with the different generation car, different rules, different tires. This place just fits my style and crew chief Chad Knaus’ style. We can get on a roll. We’ve got some good tracks ahead of us. Whatever they put in the pothole, it worked awfully well.
In a race without a lot of drama, it looked like the biggest moment came when Ryan Newman’s car picked up chunks of the track, resulting in damage to Jamie McMurray’s car. The race was stopped and crews weren’t allowed to work on the cars. More pieces of the track flew and hit a pedestrian crossover bridge, cracking a window there. McMurray made a plea for an exception but was denied.
Kyle Busch was actually in the lead when the stop happened, but he got a flat tire, and fell two laps behind Johnson until he was able to climb his way back to 17th place. Kyle Busch was in the lead for the first 81 laps, but his car slammed into the outside wall after Clint Bowyer moved into his line, resulting in Harvick wrecking the car, and finishing his day after 124 laps. Bowyer also lost time in that moment, finishing fourth eventually, behind Matt Kenseth.
Busch was going for the triple header sweep at Dover, winning the Truck Series race Friday and the Nationwide race Saturday. He is the only driver with a three-win weekend since Nascar moved to that format in 1995, taking the triple at Bristol in 2010. He fell to 7th in the race. He wasn’t the only one who had his day end early, with AJ Allmendinger knocking out both Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on lap 135. Biffle later returned to finish the race.