Sunday, May 31, 2015

Johnson Masters the Concrete for His 10th Monster Mile Win

Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs  
What does one person do with 10 Miles the Monster trophies? Ask Jimmie Johnson. The driver wheeled his No. 48 Chevy to Victory Lane in Sunday’s FedEx 400 for his 20th top-10 finish in 27 career Sprint Cup races at Dover.

Johnson said things came together for them very late in the race, but once they had the opportunity, they capitalized on it. 

“What a long, hard-fought day to get to the front. It seemed like four or five of us could run the same speed and just couldn’t really pass. We did a great job of hanging in there. My pit stops were awesome. We kind of took a chance on pit sequence to pick off a couple of spots to get us from fifth to third, third to a shot for the win. Then that last set of tires, I was running Harvick down and we ended up staying on them and his car didn’t look as strong as it was early in the day and we were able to take advantage of it.”

The victory puts Johnson in an elite group of drivers with 10 or more wins at a single track, along with Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip and David Pearson.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity I’ve had at Hendrick Motorsports, the amazing people I’ve had to work with, the support from our sponsor Lowe’s, Chad, Rick," Johnson said. “All of those things and the fact that I sit in that 48 car has allowed me to win the 10 races here and have this great opportunity in history.
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs

“I’m almost in shock that we’re there. I mean, 74 race wins, 10 here – you can’t dream that big. So I’m just blown away and honored by…what we’ve done with our opportunity and honored to have a shot at history with Dale, and then the 10 wins here.”

The drivers who started at the front – polesitter Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. on the outside – dominated the early part of the race, leading a combined 249 of the first 258 laps between them. But both drivers ran into snags toward the end.

The first multi-car accident involved Trevor Bayne, Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier. Bayne was invited to the NASCAR hauler after the race for exiting his car before safety worked arrived.

Later, Clint Bowyer got into Denny Hamlin, sending him toward the inside wall. The No. 11 car’s rear end narrowly missed the wall, but careened back up across the track and hit the outside wall; he finished 21st. On the green-and-white checkered, Truex restarted in the third spot, but slid back, still finishing a respectable sixth.

With about 140 to go, there was an oddball caution for runaway tire from Michael Annett’s pit, which came to rest against on the wrong side of pit road. Then, in another strange occurrence, the concrete seam between the pits of Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray crumbled and formed a gutter, causing a brief delay while crews cleaned up the loose chunks.

Kyle Busch and Brian Scott had a late-race tussle when they got together and slid down the track into the inside wall before coming to a stop; they finished 36th and 38th, respectively. The final caution was for an incident involving Casey Mears, Greg Biffle and AJ Allmendinger, and led to the G-W-C finish.

Points leader Kevin Harvick finished second, with Kyle Larson, Kasey Kahne and Aric Almirola rounding out the top five.

The full unofficial results:

148Jimmie Johnson
24Kevin Harvick
342Kyle Larson
45Kasey Kahne
543Aric Almirola
678Martin Truex Jr
71Jamie McMurray
827Paul Menard
915Clint Bowyer
1024Jeff Gordon
1122Joey Logano
122Brad Keselowski
1355David Ragan
1488Dale Earnhardt Jr
1510Danica Patrick
1614Tony Stewart
1716Greg Biffle
1831Ryan Newman
1919Carl Edwards
207Alex Bowman
2111Denny Hamlin
229Sam Hornish Jr
2340Landon Cassill
2447AJ Allmendinger
2538David Gilliland
2635Cole Whitt
2713Casey Mears
2834Brett Moffitt
2923J.J. Yeley
3026Jeb Burton
3141Kurt Busch
3283Matt DiBenedetto
333Austin Dillon
3462Brendan Gaughan
3532Mike Bliss
3618Kyle Busch
3717Ricky Stenhouse Jr
3833Brian Scott
3920Matt Kenseth
4098Josh Wise
4146Michael Annett
4251Justin Allgaier
436Trevor Bayne


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