Sunday, June 3, 2012

Jimmie Johnson’s win at Dover features big wreck and big hair

Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team in Victory Lane at Dover.
Photo by Beth Bence Reinke
In a season heavy on long green runs, today’s race at Dover was an anomaly, with seven cautions totaling 32 laps. The first eight laps ran smoothly, with Jimmie Johnson pulling ahead of polesitter Mark Martin to lead the first lap. Then a big wreck on the backstretch involving 13 cars led to a 20-minute red flag.

The melee began when Tony Stewart got under the left rear panel of Landon Cassill, causing a ripple effect. As Cassill got loose and a bit sideways, Stewart started to check up and Regan Smith got into the back of him, then went nose-first into the wall. Stewart came out of the garage 65 laps down in 38th spot, but worked his way up to a 25th place finish. 

Jimmie Johnson sports big colorful hair
Photo by Beth Bence Reinke
Two drivers with strong cars early on were Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin. Jeff Gordon had a fast car, but pitting for a loose wheel left him in 21st, two laps down. He fought back to the lead lap and even led the race, but after making a green flag pit stop, he ended up finishing 13th. Mark Martin was fast, too, leading four times for 43 laps.

Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson dominated the race, running first or second for the whole event. The FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks was his 57th career win. Johnson sported a multi-colored wig in driver introductions and Victory Lane in honor of his Madagascar 3 paint scheme. Johnson had fun with the wig and said the hair brought speed to the team.

In his post-race press conference, Johnson said about a crew member who was wearing one of the big wigs, "I could see our engine tuner who is catching the front tires that came across on pit stops, and I got a laugh every time I came on to pit road." Maybe laughter is not only the best medicine, but also the best energizer for winning a race.
Johnson & Dick Berggren share a moment
Photo by Beth Bence Reinke
Damage report:

Caution 1: 13-car wreck on the back straightaway
Caution 2: Reutimann blows an engine and leaves oil on the track.
Caution 3: Carl Edwards blew a right front tire and went into the wall in turn 2 and heads to the garage for repairs. Edwards would return to the track after repairs, finishing 26th.
Caution 4: Debris on the front straightaway
Caution 5: Debris in turns 3 &4
Caution 6: Kurt Busch blows an engine and takes it to the garage.
Caution 7: Jeff Burton lost his engine right at the end.

Finishing order:

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. AJ 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. JJ 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

Point standings:

1. Greg Biffle
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Martin Truex, Jr.
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Tony Stewart
9. Kyle Busch
10. Clint Bowyer
11. Brad Keselowski
12. Carl Edwards
13. Ryan Newman
14. Kasey Kahne
15. Paul Menard

Beth Bence Reinke writes "Gibbs Garage," Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup team recaps, for the 2012 season. Her Skirts and Scuffs column, “Faith on the Frontstretch,” explores the role of faith in motorsports. Beth is the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a devotional book geared toward female NASCAR fans. Follow Beth on Twitter at @bbreinke or reach her at


  1. One of the most dominating performances we've seen in a while. Better watch out for the Hendrick drivers!

  2. So Jimmie rockets away @ every restart, like he has an extra 200 ponies under the hood.
    Wow, nothing illegal there ha'? 5 championships in a row, sure...Jimi.
    And they wonder way the fans are leaving, duh!

  3. These look so good. And the presentation is so cute!