Jimmie Johnson simply knows how to tame Miles the Monster at Dover International Speedway. He was victorious in Sunday’s FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks for his ninth victory at one of the tougher tracks on the circuit.
Kyle Busch led the opening laps of the race and attempted to make it the third win for him on the weekend. Busch had won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday and the Nationwide Series race on Saturday and wanted to win Sunday’s race. By lap 82, Johnson had caught Busch and took over the lead. Busch and Clint Bowyer tangled on lap 125 and Busch got into the wall which ended his race. Upon playback of the radio on Fox Sports, it appeared that Bowyer’s spotter told him that he was clear when he hadn’t quite gotten past Busch. Busch intimidated Bowyer by running up to his bumper, but retaliation didn’t happen.
Busch did surpass 10,000 laps led in his career on lap 29.
Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson battled for the lead after a caution came out for an incident involving Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Greg Biffle and AJ Allmendinger. Allmendinger was racing to get back into his racing groove after passing Stenhouse when the right rear of Allmendinger’s car caught Stenhouse’s front left bumper. Allmendinger slipped up the race track and got into Biffle which sent them both in a synchronized spin. Biffle got into the wall and Stenhouse had nowhere to go and was collected. Stenhouse was done for the day with extensive damage while Biffle came back out on the track 101 laps later. Allmendinger’s car did not sustain much damage.
Harvick still had the lead after the restart but on lap 158 a piece of concrete came up out of the track and it met Jamie McMurray’s car causing damage to the splitter of his car. NASCAR officials threw the red flag so crews could mix some concrete patch and repair the rather large hole created on the racing surface. Racing would resume under a safer condition and the patch job stuck through the rest of the race.
The race restarted on lap 165 with Harvick in the lead but he would soon lose the lead as a flat tire ended his run at the front. Matt Kenseth took over the lead at that point. Johnson would get the lead back on lap 178 and he would stay there for the rest of the race.
Jimmie Johnson is now the all time leader of laps at Dover with over 2,900 laps. He led 272 laps in Sunday’s race.
Pole-sitter Brad Keselowski started slipping back early in the race and it wasn’t until the middle of the race when his car “woke up” and he started his charge to the front. Continuous adjustments to the car allowed Keselowski to come away with a second-place finish.
Matt Kenseth had quite the afternoon. He was able to lead 17 laps on the day and had good battles for position. Things got really interesting on lap 222 when Alex Bowman had a tire issue in front of Kenseth and Kenseth thought Bowman would travel down the racetrack. Bowman didn’t and Kenseth squeezed in between Bowman and the wall. Luckily, there wasn’t any damage to Kenseth’s car. He finished third.
Denny Hamlin worked hard to get to the front of the pack after committing a pit road speeding penalty. He exited the pits in the third position when he was called for the infraction after a caution on lap 65. He stalled out at 24th at one point but his car came to him and he forged ahead as the laps ticked down. He ended up in the fifth spot on the day.
Tony Stewart had a steady charge to the front all throughout the race. He got as high as third but finished in the seventh position. He was the defending winner of the spring race but couldn’t repeat. He was the highest finishing Stewart-Haas Racing team member.
Speaking of high finishes, Kyle Larson finished in the 11th spot which made him the top finishing rookie. He started in the top five and also slipped back but ran in the top ten for a majority of the afternoon.
The top ten: Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex, Jr., Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Paul Menard.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next goes to the “Tricky Triangle” on Sunday, June 8 for the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway at 1 p.m. ET.