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Johnson builds on track record with ninth Dover win

Jimmie Johnson Wins At Dover
BY DAN GELSTON
AP SPORTS WRITER

DOVER, Del. (AP) -- Jimmie Johnson handled the pothole at Dover the same way he disposed of a rough patch to start the season.

He won.

A week after shaking off a lengthy winless streak by his championship standards, Johnson raced his way to another routine romp at Dover International Speedway. He followed last week's victory in the Coca-Cola 600 with another sensational run at Dover, extending his track victory record to nine.

Johnson was the class of the field in a race red-flagged for 22 minutes to repair a pothole in the concrete track.

"Whatever they put in the pothole, it worked awfully well," Johnson said.

His No. 48 Chevrolet was even better.

Johnson led 272 of 400 laps, and won consecutive races for the 13th time. The six-time Cup champion swept Dover in 2002 and 2009 and won races in 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Brad Keselowski was second, followed by Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin.

"For sure, when you come to Dover, it's always the 48," Kenseth said. "We've got to figure out how to get ahead of him."

Good luck. Johnson's checkered flag celebrations at Dover have seemingly become a rite of the NASCAR season. He became Dover's career leader in laps led when he hit the 2,802 mark, and again stamped himself as contender for a series-tying seventh championship.

"It's amazing that we can stay on top of things here with the different generation car, different rules, different tires," Johnson said. "This place just fits my style and (crew chief) Chad Knaus' style."

His lone regret, that owner Rick Hendrick was not at the track.

Johnson is heating up right as the NASCAR heads into its summer schedule. Up next, Pocono, where Johnson won last season and has two other wins.

"We can get on a roll," he said. "We've got some good tracks ahead of us."

Johnson had some wondering what was wrong after an 0 for 11 start to the season. Turned out, it was nothing racing at some of his favorite tracks couldn't fix. But Johnson also revealed he had surgery to repair three hernias at the end of last season, which cost the No. 48 team testing time.

"We felt like it was time to shut things down and let the team kind of recoup," he said.

Johnson never left any doubt his No. 48 Chevrolet was the car to beat, the only drama coming when the race was stopped 160 laps into the race after Ryan Newman's car pulled up chunks of the track that kicked back and damaged Jamie McMurray's car. The race was soon stopped and crews weren't allowed to work on the cars.

McMurray's plea for an exception was denied.

"It killed the front-end," he said. "Our guys did a really good job recovering here putting all the stuff on and we salvaged what we could."

More pieces of the track flew up and cracked a window on the pedestrian crossover bridge.

NASCAR officials and safety crews went to work on the potholes and applied a quick-drying concrete mix. Cup races were infamously delayed by potholes at Martinsville in 2004 and the 2010 Daytona 500. McMurray won at Daytona in 2010.

"It started to come back up at the end, but I didn't think it was a major issue," Keselowski said. "It was definitely a major issue at first when it happened. I could feel it when I was driving over it, and you knew it was only going to get worse."

Kevin Harvick might have wished for a longer delay. Harvick's lead at the red flag evaporated because of a flat tire not long after racing resumed and he fell two laps behind Johnson. Harvick worked his way back into a 17th-place finish.

Kyle Busch led the first 81 laps before Johnson passed him. Busch's bid for a tripleheader sweep at Dover would soon end when the No. 18 Toyota slammed into the outside wall. Bowyer moved into Busch's line, which caused him to wreck 124 laps into the race.

"It was one of those deals where I thought I was clear, obviously, and wasn't and ruined his day and certainly didn't help mine," Bowyer said.

Busch, who became the 15th driver to pass 10,000 career laps led, won the Truck Series race Friday and the Nationwide race Saturday. He has the only three-race sweep since NASCAR expanded to three national series in 1995, accomplishing the feat in 2010 at Bristol.

Busch, who did not talk to the media, is 1 for 9 in Cup races after winning the first two in the same weekend.

Busch had some company in the garage. AJ Allmendinger turned into Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on Lap 135, which knocked out the Roush Fenway Racing teammates. Biffle, though, later returned to finish.

"They were racing hard back there and he stuck it into a hole that maybe there wasn't room for," Biffle said.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
babycakes755 June 01 2014 at 10:55 PM

You can't let one driver do what you have never let any other driver do. Don't know where you get off calling Johnson an idiot, you must be a Kurt and Kyle Busch fan.

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2 replies
jubequinn babycakes755 June 02 2014 at 12:23 AM

No babycakes755. You are very correct. It is hard to voice an opinion on Nascar when she is going against the wave but she is REAL. Figure it out for yourself. She is a class act in a so called mans world.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
nyjudy44 babycakes755 June 02 2014 at 8:44 AM

no I call Johnson a flat out #1 cheater and nascar lets him get away with it!!!

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2 replies
p1943ship nyjudy44 June 02 2014 at 10:05 AM

NASCAR doesn't let any body get away with cheating. You folks that think that are a special kind of stupid.

Flag +4 rate up
jjwoodborer1 nyjudy44 June 02 2014 at 3:01 PM

if you think he is cheating I would love to know how you came up with assement,I have been involved in raceing for 60 years and I can tell you you DO NOT KNOW YOUR A-- FROM A HOLE IN THE GROUND.

Flag 0 rate up
investigatorkch June 01 2014 at 10:38 PM

another NASCAR bad call on working on car during red............ idiots....no wonder the viewers are leaving.......plus you have idiots like johnson

Flag Reply +6 rate up
7 replies
jubequinn June 02 2014 at 12:29 AM

DP deserves to be in Nascar She has paid her dues. We all want to make money no matter what we do. So you idiots out there she is coming back fast. You rock DP.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
whelaniii jubequinn June 02 2014 at 7:53 AM

I think she should be raceing in the Nationwide races with the other rookie,she is still not ready to race with the big boys

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
p1943ship whelaniii June 02 2014 at 10:06 AM

She is ahead of a lot of the big boys.

Flag +1 rate up
nyjudy44 jubequinn June 02 2014 at 9:12 AM

the only way DP got in to Nascar is Tony Brought her way in or else she still be in Indy car yet

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
p1943ship nyjudy44 June 02 2014 at 10:08 AM

Your memory is not very long. Dale Jr. brought her into NASCAR.

Flag 0 rate up
jubequinn June 02 2014 at 12:19 AM

So she poses for certain publications. If you have it so not flaunt it for work. it. She is a class act. Don't worry about the adds for Nascar which we are all sick of viewing. But she is the best of females in this sport. She is layed back and comes across very honestly.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Tupalov144 June 02 2014 at 6:33 AM

Car 48 still has life. Way to go Jimmmy. A plus for NASCAR.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
jubequinn June 02 2014 at 12:08 AM

What a class act. Johnson and Chad are the team to beat. Jimmy is on a roll and will not buckle into anyone. What a team.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Loodyte1 June 02 2014 at 1:50 AM

I would like NASCAR to sponsor a race with only ONE car PER team so everyone is on their own to win. Anyone else agree??

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
nyjudy44 Loodyte1 June 02 2014 at 8:45 AM

yes

Flag Reply 0 rate up
p1943ship Loodyte1 June 02 2014 at 10:09 AM

Nope

Flag Reply +2 rate up
motorprops June 02 2014 at 7:10 AM

Two weeks ago people were writing Johnson. Guess what........Their Back!!!!!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
jubequinn June 02 2014 at 12:31 AM

You GO DADDY. You go DP.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Lanneytld June 02 2014 at 12:47 AM

Comparing older Drivers to newer drivers is IMPOSSIBLE. It can't be DONE... The KING Richard Petty, ran at a time when there were FEW rules, and Car Makers made CARS especially because of RP to race with. They also ran nearly twice as many races then as they do today. Jimmie Johnson would never have been in NASCAR if Jeff Gordon had Not put up the Money for him to race. Dale Earnhardt Sr. would not enjoy the Rules as they are today. There are so many variables and it changes almost ANNUALLY the rules the Drivers and Teams live by. >< NASCAR has One Major OBJECTIVE > To See Different Winners, PERIOD.. They want different Car Makers, and Different Drivers, and their RULES will keep changing to make it happen.

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3 replies
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