Jimmie Johnson started the 2014 season with zero victories in eleven races. That drought ended last week in Charlotte at the Coca-Cola 600, and yesterday in Dover, Johnson earned his second straight trip to Victory Lane and his 9th win at the Monster Mile.
Everyone knew the 6-Time NASCAR Champion would eventually win, and Johnson’s appearance in The Chase For The Sprint Cup to defend his title was considered certain. Now, these back-to-back wins have set the stage for what could be a dominating summer for The Emperor leading up to a charge for his 7th Sprint Cup trophy.
Johnson led 272 of 400 laps at Dover’s one mile oval, and not even two late-race restarts could slow him down. There was little doubt Johnson’s 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet would win. He appeared to be toying with everyone, as the laps wound down despite the late cautions.
Johnson now owns 68 Sprint Cup victories. At his current pace, The Emperor will eclipse the magic number of 105 career wins in seven years to move into second place all-time behind The King, Richard Petty. That is dependent on where Jeff Gordon (currently with 89 wins) finishes his career total. However, in all likelihood, Johnson will finish ahead of Gordon, since The Emperor has more years left to race than Gordon.
The big question is: How many championships will Johnson acquire?
Sunday’s race had plenty of story lines, and the biggest was a hole. The fourth caution flag of the day became a red flag following a chunk of the race track breaking up. That boulder found the front end of Jamie McMurray’s 1 Cessna Chevrolet and exploded into dust.
McMurray, who said in a post-race interview on FOX that he didn’t know what happened and thought he blew a tire, didn’t wreck following a temporary loss of control. Unfortunately, NASCAR wouldn’t allow McMurray’s team to fix his car under the red flag nor give him his lost lap back. McMurray was able to race his way back to the lea lap and finish in 13th place.
OOPS! They Did It Again.
Kevin Harvick’s 4 Budweiser Chevrolet was solid once again, and he led 24 laps on the day. Alas, a win nor a Top Ten finish was not to be. Harvick ended the day one lap down in 17th place following bad luck of a flat tire and another pit stop issue. It appears changes are coming to make Harvick happy again.
A.J. Almendinger is quite anxious on the track. Yesterday, it seemed he needed to be back on Adderall for some focus and calmness. He ruined the race for Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Greg Biffle. Allmendinger tried to pass both Stenhouse and Biffle and instead wrecked them both.
Stenhouse was already out of contention, but Biffle had a chance for a decent finish. In fact, Biffle should’ve been extremely upset. Instead, the driver of the 16 3M Ford was incredibly composed during his interview on FOX immediately after the crash.
Kudus to Biffle! He must be certain of his driving plans in 2015, and based on his attitude yesterday, it must not be Roush-Fenway Racing.
- Attendance at the Monster Mile was embarrassing again. The economy and the RaceView options continue to take a toll.
- Speaking of RaceView, the PC version was great but the Mobile App was without audio AGAIN. NASCAR has not responded to any of my weekly complaints about this.
- Matt Kenseth, who finished third, is the new Sprint Cup points leader by two points over Jeff Gordon, who finished fifteenth.
- Kyle Bush had his first DNF and worst finish (42nd) of 2014. He was helped into the wall by Clint Bowyer, who was given bad information by his spotter, which caused him to hit Bush.
- Danica (23rd) beat her boyfriend, Stenhouse (41st), again, but she was a non-factor all day and finished four laps down.
- Austin Dillon hasn’t had a Top Ten finish since Daytona, but he’s sitting 15th in points. A trip to Victory Lane would give him a shot at The Chase.
- Kyle Larson continues to impress. He’s 10th in the standings and very capable of winning a race.
The Pocono Raceway triangle will host the first of two summer events next Sunday. This begins six races of the TNT Summer Series. Coverage begins at 12:00 ET.