By Jason Schultz
Jimmie Johnson won his third race in the last four weeks Sunday afternoon at Dover International Speedway. Johnson dominated the entire race. Hendrick Motorsports continues its dominance with its fourth straight victory. All four Hendrick cars were up front all day and Johnson ended up in victory lane. Jimmie Johnson led the first six laps before pole-sitter Mark Martin took the lead.
The first caution of the day came out early when controversy started on lap ten, when we saw the biggest wreck in the 2012 season. Tony Stewart made contact with Landon Cassill coming out of turn two and that turned Cassill sideways. Regan Smith was below Stewart and when Stewart went low to avoid making more contact with Cassill again, Smith turned Stewart. Cars started sliding down the banked backstretch and more cars piled in. After Juan Pablo Montoya slid in, Dave Blaney got into Michael McDowell and McDowell spun into the wreck collecting a hand-full of other cars. Scott Speed made a hard hit on Landon Cassill after the cars were still slowing down and the track became impassable.
The red flag came out to clean up all of the debris that were scattered on the backstretch. This incident was similar to the 2008 wreck we saw at Dover, cars started wrecking and blocked the backstretch and then cars started piling in. Overall, 13 cars were involved in the wreck, they consisted of; Casey Mears, Tony Stewart, Reed Sorenson, Stephen Leicht, Dave Blaney, David Gilliland, Juan Pablo Montoya, Regan Smith, Scott Speed, Landon Cassill, Joe Nemechek, Travis Kvapil and Michael McDowell. Tony Stewart commented about the wreck by saying he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”
Considering we’ve been to Daytona and Talladega already this season, it is surprising that the biggest wreck of the season occurs at Dover. The red flag lasted for almost 20 minutes but they were getting ready to go back to racing. On lap 30, Jimmie Johnson passed Mark Martin for the lead after Martin had led every lap but six up to this point. The first round of green-flag pit stops began on lap 69. Johnson and Martin swapped the lead once again after the pit stops.
By lap 90, Johnson had retaken the lead. The second caution of the day came out on lap 111 for David Reutimann who lost an engine. On lap 165, one of the favorites to win the race, Carl Edwards, hit the wall after a blown tire. Edwards would have to go behind the wall for repairs but came back out and ended up finishing 26th. Kyle Busch experienced problems around halfway when his engine let go. Kyle commented in the garage area that he “couldn’t keep up with the track,” After a decent last few weeks for Busch, this was a disappointment for all of the No.18 crew.
The next caution came out on lap 226 for debris in turn four. An issue that could of cost Kevin Harvick the race was when he came into the pits third and overshot his pit stall, costing him valuable track position. On the restart, Jeff Gordon was the leader. On lap 246, Jimmie Johnson took the lead from Jeff Gordon. Gordon started experiencing major issues with his car and he had to pit. After another round of green-flag pit stops, Jeff Gordon, who didn’t pit, was the race leader. With 76 laps to go, Jeff Gordon gave up the lead to pit and Jimmie Johnson would be the new leader. With 55 laps to go, Kurt Busch blew an engine to end his day.
The third blown engine of the day occurred with 39 laps to go when Jeff Burton, who had been having a great run, blew an engine. Coming to the checkered flag, Kevin Harvick was unable to catch Johnson and Johnson went on to win his second point’s race of the season. Jimmie Johnson said in victory lane that the victory was a “team effort.” He also thanked long-time NASCAR broadcaster, Dick Bergeren, on a great career. Bergeren, 70, is retiring from broadcasting after NASCAR on FOX’s final broadcast of the season today in Dover.
Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports continue their winning ways at Dover Next week the Sprint Cup Series heads to newly repaved Pocono Raceway for an exciting race. Make sure to tune-in to TNT for next week’s race.
Results via Nascar.com
|1||2||48||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||Lowe’s Madagascar||48/5||400||Running|
|2||6||29||Kevin Harvick||Chevrolet||Jimmy Johns||42/0||400||Running|
|3||5||17||Matt Kenseth||Ford||Best Buy||42/1||400||Running|
|4||17||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||AMP Energy / Diet Mtn. Dew / National Guard||41/1||400||Running|
|5||4||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||5-hour Energy||39/0||400||Running|
|6||12||43||Aric Almirola||Ford||Jani-King / Smithfield||38/0||400||Running|
|7||18||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||37/0||400||Running|
|8||11||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||The Home Depot||36/0||400||Running|
|11||7||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||3M / Heilind (EMD)||33/0||400||Running|
|12||16||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||32/0||400||Running|
|14||1||55||Mark Martin||Toyota||Aaron’s Dream Machine||31/1||400||Running|
|15||3||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Quicken Loans||29/0||400||Running|
|16||23||22||AJ Allmendinger||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil||28/0||400||Running|
|17||20||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Menards / Pittsburgh Paints||27/0||400||Running|
|18||10||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Freight / Autism Speaks||27/1||400||Running|
|19||24||1||Jamie McMurray||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Allstate||25/0||400||Running|
|20||22||47||Bobby Labonte||Toyota||Scott Products||24/0||399||Running|
|21||28||34||David Ragan||Ford||MHP / 8 Hour Alert||24/1||398||Running|
|23||42||93||Travis Kvapil||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||21/0||348||Running|
|24||9||51||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction Services||20/0||338||Engine|
|25||29||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Mobil 1 / Office Depot||19/0||331||Running|
|27||26||78||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / CSX “Play it Safe”||17/0||306||Running|
|30||38||32||Reed Sorenson||Ford||FAS Lane Racing||0||124||Accident|
|31||39||10||David Reutimann||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||13/0||110||Engine|
|32||41||36||Dave Blaney||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||12/0||65||Accident|
|33||32||30||David Stremme||Toyota||Inception Motorsports||11/0||63||Overheating|
|34||34||249||J.J. Yeley||Toyota||America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents||10/0||41||Overheating|
|35||37||33||Stephen Leicht *||Chevrolet||Little Joes A
|36||36||119||Mike Bliss||Toyota||Humphrey Smith Racing||0||23||Steering|
|37||43||23||Scott Riggs||Chevrolet||North Texas Pipe||7/0||21||Vibration|
|38||27||83||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||6/0||9||Accident|
|39||35||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves||0||9||Accident|
|40||30||38||David Gilliland||Ford||Autism Speaks||4/0||9||Accident|
|42||33||98||Michael McDowell||Ford||Phil Parsons Racing||2/0||8||Accident|
|43||25||179||Scott Speed||Ford||Team Kyle / Koma Unwind||1/0||8||Accident|