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Johnson monsters the Dover mile

Now that he's found his winning groove again, there just seems no stopping five-time champ Jimmie Johnson as he once again put in a dominating display to win the FedEx 400 at Dover.
All that fretting about how long it was taking for Hendrick Motorsports' drivers to get that landmark 200th win are a distant memory now; as is the sight of anything other than a Hendrick car cruising up victory lane at the end of a race.

"So proud of the effort," said Jimmie Johnson as he relaxed afterwards at Dover International Speedway, "It was a brand new race car we brought to the track, had never seen a racetrack before and it rolled off the truck and was awesome all weekend long."

Johnson had only missed pole position by five thousandths of a second on Saturday, and started alongside the veteran race when the green flag fell at the start of the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Monster Mile on Sunday afternoon. Johnson took the lead from Martin on the first lap, but the old guy wasn't letting Johnson get away and duly fought back, taking the spot back just as the first yellow came out on lap 9.

The yellow quickly morphed into a red, because the backstretch of the one-mile concrete oval track was now completely blocked by a multi-car wreck. It had started when Landon Cassill moved down the track in front of Tony Stewart and got the slightest tap on the back that started him spinning ever-so-slowly sideways; Stewart immediately tried to back off in order to let Cassill save it, but then from behind Regan Smith arrived unaware of what was going in. He went into the back of Stewart, which didn't help Cassill who promptly lost his battle to save his own car, and after that - well, it was just a chain reaction.

As well as Stewart, Smith and Cassill, those involved were Juan Montoya, Scott Speed, Stephen Leicht, Dave Blaney, David Gilliland, Michael McDowell and Joe Nemechek. Stewart's car was a wreck but the team got to work and got it out in some semblance of order, albeit 70 laps down; Smith was almost 90 laps down when he finally returned to the track, and Montoya toured around over a hundred laps off the lead. Cassill himself was done for the day.

"I got into the back of the #14 and started the whole thing," said Regan Smith. "I'll take full blame for that," he added - quite wrongly as it turned out, as he had simply not been aware of what had been going on up ahead. "Somehow they got checked up in front of me. I just didn't have time to get slowed up with it. I hate that there are so many wrecked race cars here."

"It wasn't Regan's fault," corrected Stewart, who unfortunately had the best seat in the house to know. "He was right behind us, and he didn't have anywhere to go either. Just not a real good deal at the beginning of the race like this."

After a 20 minute red flag, the racing resumed. Martin was able to hold the lead for the next two dozen laps, but finally he succumbed to Johnson on lap 30. Behind them, Matt Kenseth had bested Ryan Newman for third place, and Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer was tussling over fifth. Bowyer won that one, and made easy work of Newman to find himself in a somewhat lonely fourth place on the track some way back from the leaders.

The first round of green flag pit stops came around lap 70, and Martin managed to get the jump on Johnson to reclaim the lead for a short while until Johnson simply reasserted himself back out on the track and went in front again and swiftly started building up a lead over over two seconds; Martin was waning, and behind him Johnson's Hendrick teammate and fellow multiple Cup champion Jeff Gordon was on the move and past Kenseth for third place, setting his sights on the #55 Aarons car.




Related Pictures

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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, races Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 3, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Madagascar Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 3, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, Regan Smith, driver of the #78 Furniture Row/CSX Chevrolet, and Landon Cassill, driver of the #83 Burger King Toyota, and others are involved in an incident early in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 3, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified for seventh position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, qualified for second position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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