NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR FedEx 400: Wreck clears way for Jimmie Johnson to win at Dover

Jimmie Johnson celebrates with champagne and the Miles the Monster trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on Sunday. May 31, 2015 in Dover, Del.
Jimmie Johnson celebrates with champagne and the Miles the Monster trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on Sunday. May 31, 2015 in Dover, Del. Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson won his 10th career race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, taking the FedEx 400 in a green-white-checker finish ahead of Kevin Harvick.

Johnson, winning for a fourth time this season, took the lead from Harvick late in the race, then stayed in front of three late wrecks to claim the victory. He led the final 23 laps on old tires. Drivers with fresher tires, such as Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin, either wrecked or couldn’t stay with Johnson and Harvick.

Harvick finished second, with Kyle Larson third, Kasey Kahne fourth and Aric Almirola fifth.

The race went to overtime with two laps left after Greg Biffle, Casey Mears and A.J. Allmendinger wrecked.

Johnson joins four other drivers – Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson and Darrell Waltrip – as a 10-time winner at one track.

Turning point

Johnson was closing in on leader Harvick on Lap 375 when Kyle Busch and Brian Scott wrecked. Johnson took the lead on the restart and led for the remainder of the race -- despite two later cautions.

Three who mattered

Jimmie Johnson: A fourth win of the season is also the 10th in his career at Dover for Johnson, who led just once (the race’s final 23 laps). He moved up two spots to third in the points standings, but his place in the Chase is all-but guaranteed.

Kevin Harvick: A second-place finish allowed Harvick to increase his points lead to 44 over Martin Truex Jr.

Kyle Larson: In three races at Dover, Larson has two top-10 finishes. Not Johnson-esque numbers at the Monster Mile, but pretty good for a driver in his second full season on the circuit.

Observations

▪  Chunks of pavement began to come up on pit road in Tony Stewart’s stall during the middle portions of the race. Track workers managed to contain the situation.

▪ Trevor Bayne hit the wall and spun on the front stretch on Lap 176. He got out of his car before safety workers arrived, which is against NASCAR rules. Bayne was summoned to the NASCAR hauler, possibly to be advised of his indescretion. Bayne went on to finish 43rd.

▪ The race began with the longest green flag stretch (74 laps) to open a race this season. A debris caution finally brought out a yellow flag, with most cars making pit stops during the caution.

▪  Dale Earnhardt Jr., who qualified 16th, had to start at the rear of the field when he changed a gear before the race started. Earnhardt was never a factor and finished 14th.

▪  After dominating large portions of races at Charlotte and Kansas, Truex did so again Sunday -- without a win to show for it. He led a race-high 118 laps, but finished sixth. He’s still second in points.

They said it

“Chad (Knaus, crew chief) said something to me about that on the radio and they never really came, you know?” – Johnson, of not being pressured by drivers with fresher tires late in the race.

Next race

Axalta 400

Where: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports 1.

Radio: Motor Racing Network.

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