DOVER, Del. – So much for Jimmie Johnson’s team being off its game.
One week after snapping a 13-race losing streak, Johnson captured his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in a row by dominating the FedEx 400 on Sunday at Dover Int’l Speedway.
The win is the 68th of Johnson’s career and the third consecutive points win for Hendrick Motorsports – who also captured the checkered flag at Kansas Speedway with Jeff Gordon and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Johnson – as well as the Daytona 500 in February with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It was all Johnson on Sunday, though. Gordon, Earnhardt and Matt Kenseth gave chase for stretches, but no one could deny Johnson.
Not even Kyle Busch, whose bid for a weekend sweep fell by the wayside when contact with Clint Bowyer put Busch out of the race early on. He finished 42nd after leading 81 laps.
“This is incredible,” Johnson said after the race. “I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m so thankful for the support we get from Lowe’s. (Crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and the guys said we’d be good and after we unloaded, they were right.”
Johnson led a race-high 272 laps in recording his second consecutive win at Dover and his ninth Sprint Cup win at the track, a NASCAR record.
Polesitter Brad Keselowski sped to a second-place finish, followed by Kenseth, Bowyer and Denny Hamlin. Martin Truex Jr., Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Earnhardt and Paul Menard rounded out the top 10.
Keselowski, who led two laps, said he needed more time to catch Johnson.
“We had an up-and-down day,” Keselowski said. “About halfway, the car just woke up. We were pretty equal to Jimmie. We just ran out of laps there at the end.”
Kevin Harvick, another of Johnson’s closest rivals for part of the race, had a flat tire cost him two laps and plenty of track position. He rallied to a 17th-place result.
A hard crash involving Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. marred the race. So did a second red flag period barely 25 laps later, for part of the track’s concrete pavement coming up and damaging Jamie McMurray’s car.
Kenseth, who is still winless after 13 races, vaulted into the points lead by two over Gordon by finishing third. Gordon wound up 15th.