Johnson win breaks Dover record

Johnson win breaks Dover record

Cup Series

Johnson win breaks Dover record


Jimmie Johnson held off Hendrick Chevrolet teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. to claim a record-breaking eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup win at Dover’s “Monster Mile.”

Johnson drove an awesome final stint. At the last stop his crew changed just two tires while Earnhardt’s swapped all four. It seemed to work for Earnhardt as he leapt straight into second at the restart, but despite his best efforts Earnhardt could not get close enough to make a pass stick.

“Two (tires) worked good for us in practice,” Johnson said. “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.”

Earnhardt lost the race lead during a green-flag pit stop on lap 119 after missing the entrance to pit road on the previous lap. The snafu cost Earnhardt seven positions and 13 seconds on the track. Earnhardt conceded that the issues on pit road may have changed the outcome of the race.
“Yeah, if you really look at the race as a whole, they did cost us a little bit, at least the mistake I made missing pit road completely,” he said. “We had the lead, gave up the lead. Jimmie had the lead and was able to take advantage of that clean air when it counted.
“If I had not given up that track position, had a smart enough race to keep the lead when it counted right at the end, we might have won the race. It would have been hard to get by us, just like it was (hard) to get by Jimmie.
“I think missing the commitment cone was a big factor in us not finishing one spot ahead of where we are. But the other pit stop wasn’t that big a deal. I came on pit road about as hard as I could. The 14, Mark, was running maybe five, 10 miles an hour slow in the first couple of (pit road timing) segments. I don’t know that cost us a ton of time.”

The race boiled down to a fight between the Hendrick Motorsport and Joe Gibbs Racing superteams. Hendrick racer Jeff Gordon led a lap during the pit stops and looked to be in a strong place before the final caution neutralized the race. A slow restart dropped him to fourth, which is where he finished.

On the Gibbs side, both Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch ran up front, but the decision to change just two tires on points leader Kenseth’s car in the final stop backfired. It was the weakest the car had been all day, and he slipped down the order, losing sixth to Kevin Harvick on the last lap. In contrast, Busch was on the move on his four fresh Goodyears, battling his way to fifth over the final run.

After a quiet day, Joey Logano used his four fresh tires to slot into third during the run to the flag. It was a miserable race for his Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, who suffered a fluid leak and finished 37th.

Of the 13 Chasers, it was a terrible race for Carl Edwards. His Ford Fusion was never a top-five runner, but a top 15 finish was lost when the left rear hub broke. A 35th-place finish all but ends his title hopes.

Kurt Busch pitted his Furniture Row Chevy off-sequence to have a loose wheel examined. He fought back to finish 21st. Kasey Kahne had a down-on-power motor in the closing stages, which limited him to 13th.

Chasers made up the entire top 10 in a race where not a single crash occurred.

Results - 400 laps:Pos  Driver              Team/Car                     Time/Gap 1.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet 2.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet           +0.446s 3.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                  +2.871s 4.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet           +3.876s 5.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota             +4.838s 6.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet          +7.347s 7.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota             +7.689s 8.  Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       +8.620s 9.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford            +9.531s10.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota               +9.885s11.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet  +10.111s12.  Brian Vickers       Waltrip Toyota               +10.986s13.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet           +1 lap14.  Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet          +1 lap15.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota               +1 lap16.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                   +2 laps17.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford            +2 laps18.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet          +2 laps19.  Mark Martin         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       +3 laps20.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota             +3 laps21.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet      +3 laps22.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                   +3 laps23.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet  +3 laps24.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                 +5 laps25.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford               +5 laps26.  AJ Allmendinger     JTG Daugherty Toyota         +5 laps27.  Cole Whitt          Swan Toyota                  +6 laps28.  David Reutimann     BK Toyota                    +6 laps29.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       +6 laps30.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford               +7 laps31.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                    +8 laps32.  Ryan Truex          Phoenix Chevrolet            +8 laps33.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet            +8 laps34.  JJ Yeley            Baldwin Chevrolet            +10 laps35.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford            +15 laps36.  Timmy Hill          FAS Lane Ford                +19 lapsRetirements:     Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                  355 laps     Landon Cassill      Circle Sport Chevrolet       275 laps     Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                 168 laps     Tony Raines         Hillman Chevrolet            154 laps     Reed Sorenson       Leavine Ford                 139 laps     Josh Wise           Front Row Ford               128 laps     Michael McDowell    Parsons Ford                 107 laps