When the schedule came into August, Jimmie Johnson seemed to become human. A rough stretch of races made everyone not believe that Johnson would be a contender for the championship. Then once the Chase started, he scored a fifth place finish at Chicaogland and then a fourth place finish at New Hampshire.
The next race was the AAA 400 from the Dover International Speedway. Dover is only the track that Johnson had won seven times previously and one that he has on his favorite’s list. When it was all said and done on Sunday, Johnson walked away with his eighth career Dover win. That breaks a tie he had with Richard Petty and Bobby Allison for all-time wins.
“It’s really cool. I’m not sure I’ve ever done what Richard Petty hasn’t. To get this eighth win here is very, very special. Truthfully it was the first thought that went through my mind when I crossed the finish line. It wasn’t long after I thought of the impact of winning in the Chase, wondering where the 20 was. Big day. I came so close in the spring to getting this eighth win here and had that slip away, it was nice to get it done today.”
With the victory Johnson moved from third to second in points, only eight points behind Matt Kenseth for the lead. He is poised to take over the top spot with a game plan of beating Kenseth and third place Kyle Busch, as they have proved to be the ones to beat in the Chase.
“We had to win here today. I think any points on the 18 or the 20 would have been a very good day. Max points, it’s an awesome day. Again, it’s just relative. It’s a little early to play that game too much right now. There’s a point in the season where you just worry about who’s leading, who’s behind you if you’re the leader, beating them. So that mindset would have been there if we ran second to Junior today. Still would have been happy to outrun the 20 or the 18. We need to win at our best tracks, and we did that.”
Next week they’ll be going to another track that’s up Johnson’s ally. The Kansas Speedway is where in 14 starts, Johnson has two wins, six top-5s, 12 top-10s, and only one DNF.
The Hollywood Casino 400 is next up from the Kansas Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series. The action gets underway Sunday, October 6th, at 2:00 PM EST and can be seen live on ESPN.