Sunday, June 1, 2014

Dover Magic Makes It Two-in-a-Row For Jimmie Johnson

Johnson & family celebrate in Victory Lane, June 1, 2014
Jimmie Johnson dominated in monstrous fashion at Dover, bringing home his ninth victory in 24 career Cup starts at the track. The second win of the season virtually guarantees Johnson a spot in the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“It was an awesome car,” Johnson said. “The first run I wasn’t sure we were going to have the normal Dover magic here. Once the track rubbered in, our car came to life and it was so good. It’s amazing that we can stay on top of things here with the different generation car, different rules, different tires.”

Johnson led seven times for a race-high 272 laps. Partway through the event he set the record for leading the most laps at Dover with 2802.

During the final 10 laps or so, Johnson said he was hoping it would stay green.

“Cautions at the end, you kind of expect them, for whatever reason. Truthfully, it’s an opportunity for the guy that’s dominated all day to make a mistake, so I wanted to make sure I chose the right lane and got a good restart and got up through the gears well, and that all worked out for us.”

Runner up Brad Keselowski said he had an up-and-down day, but had a strong run at the end where he went from 13th or 14th up to second.

“Thought we were gonna get a crack at Jimmie and then that last caution came out and we just kind of whiffed on pit road, came out way behind.”

Matt Kenseth finished third, with Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin rounding out the top five.

The day ended badly for Kyle Busch, dashing his hopes of a triple-win sweep at Dover. After taking the lead from polesitter Keselowski on the first lap, Busch led the first 81 laps before hitting the wall after contact from Bowyer, mangling the right front side of his car. For a few tense moments it appeared that Busch would exact retribution, slowing on the track then heading after Bowyer, who took evasive maneuvers. Busch headed for the garage and a disappointing 42nd-place finish.

A multi-car crash on Lap 135 resulted in a brief red flag for track clean-up. AJ Allmendinger tried to scoot below Ricky Stenhouse Jr., but didn't quite make it. Allmendinger slid up in front of Stenhouse, then hit Greg Biffle, ruining the Roush teammates' day. Ryan Truex and Landon Cassill were collateral damage, crashing while trying to avoid the slowing cars in front of them.

Shortly thereafter, the race was red-flagged again for about 22 minutes after Ryan Newman’s car kicked up a chunk of concrete. The piece of track flew backwards, damaging the nose of Jamie McMurray’s car. Workers patched the hole in the track and taped broken glass in the walkover bridge above Turn 2, which had been also hit by the flying debris. Despite the mishap, McMurray got back on track and finished a respectable 13th.

According to Robin Pemberton, the hole in the track surface was pretty substantial.

“It was two or three inches deep, and it was six or eight inches by maybe 10 inches or something like that,” he said.

Dover International Speedway track personnel did an admirable job of fixing the spot quickly, using an epoxy-type substance to fill the hole.

Kyle Larson was the highest finishing rookie in 11th, but a couple of his fellow rookies had some nervous moments. Alex Bowman seemed to have an affinity for the outside wall, making contact three separate times. Justin Allgaier had a close call when his car slid sideways while entering pit road, but he managed to save it.

Matt Kenseth now leads Jeff Gordon by four points in the Sprint Cup standings.

Unofficial results:
Fin    Driver Sponsor / Owner
1    Jimmie Johnson Lowe's / Kobalt Tools  
2    Brad Keselowski Miller Lite   
3    Matt Kenseth Dollar General   
4    Clint Bowyer Cherry 5-hourEnergy 
5    Denny Hamlin Autism Speaks / FedEx Freight   
6    Martin Truex, Jr. Furniture Row / Denver Mattress    
7    Tony Stewart Code 3 / Mobil 1    
8    Joey Logano Shell / Pennzoil   
9    Dale Earnhardt, Jr. National Guard    
10    Paul Menard Pittsburgh Paints / Menards 
11    Kyle Larson Cottonelle   
12    Aric Almirola Smithfield    
13    Jamie McMurray Cessna   
14    Carl Edwards Subway   
15    Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger / AARP   
16    Marcos Ambrose DeWalt / Stanley Tools    
17    Kevin Harvick Budweiser  
18    Kurt Busch Haas Automation    
19    Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance    
20    Austin Dillon American Ethanol   
21    A.J. Allmendinger Scott Products    
22    Brett Moffitt Land Castle Title    
23    Danica Patrick GoDaddy    
24    Reed Sorenson Click It or Ticket   
25    Casey Mears GEICO    
26    Justin Allgaier AccuDoc Solutions   
27    Cole Whitt Burger King   
28    Josh Wise iRacing.com / Reddit.com    
29    David Gilliland The Pete Store  
30    Blake Koch SupportMilitary.org   
31    Ryan Newman Caterpillar    
32    Ryan Truex Burger King    
33    Dave Blaney Randy Humphrey Racing    
34    Landon Cassill Newtown Building Supplies    
35    Michael Annett Pilot / Flying J    
36    David Ragan Dockside Logistics   
37    David Stremme Little Joe's Autos   
38    Greg Biffle 3M   
39    J.J. Yeley Phoenix Warehouse   
40    Alex Bowman Dr. Pepper   
41    Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Nationwide Insurance
42    Kyle Busch M&M's Peanut Butter    
43    Brian Vickers Aaron's Dream Machine   

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