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Johnson wins No. 8 at Dover

Closes points gap
Sunday, September 29, 2013

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Johnson owns Dover
Monster Mile-tamer Jimmie Johnson held off teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. to pick up his record eighth career win at Dover International Speedway as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup heated up in Sprint Cup Series action on Sunday.

Johnson led the most laps on his way to victory -- which he's done in each of his wins at the track -- to pass Bobby Allison and Richard Petty on the all-time wins list at Dover. More importantly, he's moved into second place and closed the gap in the Chase standings.

Earnhardt Jr. nearly caught up to his teammate but ultimately finished second. Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.

Matt Kenseth came up just short in his bid to become the first driver to win the first three races of the Chase, but still maintained his points lead with a seventh-place finish. He leads Johnson by eight points.

Kurt Busch struggled for the second race in a row, pulling in at 21st place after suffering similar pit-road issues that have plagued the No. 78 Furniture Row team all season. Busch's squad included new members from Richard Childress Racing's successful Nationwide Series program, but to no avail.

Kasey Kahne (13th place) suffered engine problems with 10 laps to go, the second week in a row he failed to finish on the lead lap.

Carl Edwards was the lowest-finishing Chase contender after he left the track to head to the garage as the race wound down because of a broken left-rear hub, a huge blow to his title hopes. He entered the day fourth in points and now stands 11th after finishing 35th.

More of the same tough luck he's seen all season showed itself at Dover for Brad Keselowski, who missed the Chase just a season removed from winning his first Cup championship. On Lap 225 his No. 2 Penske Racing Ford was forced to the garage after a part in his rear-end housing burned up, spewing fluid on the track and bringing out the third caution of the day.

"They noticed a lot of oil in the wheel well, so we tried to get off the track as fast as we could with the Miller Lite Ford to not bring out a yellow, but obviously wasn’t quite quick enough," Keselowski said. "We’re getting all of our bad luck out of the way this year, so watch out next year.”

Keselowski finished 37th.

The series now makes its way back to Kansas Speedway, where Kenseth earned his second victory of the season. Catch the Hollywood Casino 400 (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET) next Sunday.

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 1st, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd Sunday
Christa Thomas for Chevy
QUOTES

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – RACE WINNER

IT’S YOUR EIGHTH VICTORY AT DOVER TODAY. TALK ABOUT THE LAST RUN. I’VE HAD CREW CHIEFS TELL ME THAT TWO TIRES WILL NOT BEAT FOUR TIRES. HOW DID YOU HOLD OFF YOUR TEAMMATE, DALE EARNHARDT, JR.?
“Two (tires) worked good for us in practice. And believe me; I wanted to see four tires line-up in the fourth or fifth row. When they lined up right behind me, I thought I was going to have my hands full. And I really did. Junior drove a whale of a race and track position really gave me the advantage I needed to hold him off. It’s good to get this KOBALT Tools Chevrolet in Victory Lane. I’m very excited. I’m very happy to have Mr. Hendrick here. I wish that I had my family here. I want to say hi to my girls at home. Thank you to all the fans and to Sprint. This is just an awesome day and awfully timely in the scheme of things.”

YOU ARE ONLY EIGHT POINTS BEHIND MATT KENSETH NOW. HOW STRONG IS THIS TEAM, GOING FORWARD, FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
“It’s good. All these things are great. When you put the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) up there, it’s going to make it a very difficult deal. And I think it’s going to be fun for the fans to watch. We came to a good track and we got what we needed to, done. I know that No. 20 is going to be awfully strong for the rest of the stretch, and I look forward to racing with him.”

TALK ABOUT YOUR PLACE IN THE RECORD BOOKS NOW. IT USED TO BE YOU AND RICHARD PETTY AND BOBBY ALLISON TIED FOR THE MOST WINS AT DOVER. NOW IT’S JUST YOU:
“It’s incredible. To do anything that Bobby or Richard has done is quite an accomplishment. We’ve had a few sneak away from us here, too, over the years. I’m just so happy to get that done and be the sole leader of race wins here. It’s a very special day.”

TALK US THROUGH YOUR DAY AND THIS DOMINATE RUN THAT YOU HAD:
“Just a very fast race car.  I think we were a little vulnerable on stickers and new tires to get going for five to eight laps.  Then after that this KOBALT Tools Chevrolet was really strong.  I was fearing cautions at the end.  Of course we had one.  I felt like two (tires) was good for us.  We knew that it was going to work well for us.  I wish that four (tires) was going to start further back.  When I saw four was the car right behind me I knew I was going to be in trouble.  (Dale Earnhardt) Junior drove a whale of a race.  He kept me super honest there at the end.  So a very strong day.”

GIVEN THAT YOU WEREN’T AS GOOD ON THE SHORT RUNS AND YOU HAD TWO TIRES WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND DALE EARNHARDT, JR. RIGHT THERE AT THE END OF THE RACE?
“I think really just track position.  He had a great race car all day long.  I think really between the No. 88, the No. 20 and the No. 48 we seemed to have all the speed to be the three fastest cars.  I saw him miss pit road early in the race.  I’m sure that was tough to rebound from.  He finally got back up to the front there and was awfully strong.  It has just been a track that I’ve adapted to since the beginning and I’ve really enjoyed running at.  The longer the run the better I perform here.  This track isn’t easy to drive.  You’ve got to be up on the wheel for four hundred laps around here and I enjoy that aspect too.”

10 POINTS THAT YOU KNOCKED OFF OF MATT KENSETH’S LEAD IS THIS THE POINT THAT JIMMIE JOHNSON AND THE LOWE’S TEAM STARTS TO MAKE THEIR MOVE?
“I still think it’s too early to say somebody can make a move.  You just don’t want to give points up.  Today we got max points so we didn’t leave any on the table and we will go to Kansas next week and see what we can do.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SECOND
YOU CAME UP ONE SPOT SHORT WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE AT THE END?
“Well, Jimmie (Johnson) was just that good.  I thought that four tires were going to be enough to get to him and get him out of the way, but he is just that fast around here.  That track position is really important and I gave that up early in the race with that mistake coming onto pit road.  And it cost us a shot at the win there.  We still had it.  My crew gave me a good enough car to get us back into it, so I’ve got to thank them, National Guard, Diet Mountain Dew, Time Warner Cable and all of our partners.”

HOW DID THE RACE TRACK CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE DAY TODAY?
“The balance moved around a little bit not quite as much as we have seen here in the past, but I think we just brought a better race car this time.  That is why we had a better time of it.”

YOU WERE THE FIRST CAR WITH FOUR TIRES ON THAT LAST RUN. DID YOU THINK THAT WOULD BE ENOUGH TO GET IT DONE?
“Yeah, I did. That’s real disappointing there; but Jimmie (Johnson) is really that fast. He’s that good around this place. I thought we might be able to get to him and I was definitely going to do whatever I could to win if I could get within reach. But I just couldn’t get to him. So, I’m just real disappointed. We’ve had a couple of good weekends. These are two of the best cars I’ve had all year. I’ve got to thank the team. But, running second is no better than running 10th. I’d like to get a trophy here soon.”

YOU HAD A COUPLE OF ISSUES ON PIT LANE TODAY. DO YOU THINK ULTIMATELY THAT HAD ANY AFFECT ON WHERE YOU FINISHED?
“Yeah, I take responsibility for getting a little too eager coming onto pit road for that green flag stop. We’re lucky we didn’t have more trouble through that whole deal.  I didn’t know what the heck the rules are for that, so I was figuring we got off pretty light. But I had a fast enough car to get back to the leaders, but you’ve got to be the leader on that last start. You see most of these races are won by the guy leading it at the last restart or after the last round of pit stops. That wasn’t us today. I’ll take responsibility for that mess-up coming on pit road for sure.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED FOURTH
DESCRIBE THE WAY THINGS WENT THIS AFTERNOON FOR YOU ON THIS TOUGH RACE TRACK:
“It was definitely tough.  Our Axalta Cromax Pro Chevrolet was very good.  We had moments where I felt like we had the best car and there were moments where I felt like we were one of the worst cars.  Man, I did not want to see that last caution. I felt like we were really in the perfect position fuel mileage wise, tires, speed of the car, we were just sitting there riding trying to get to the end.  Then we had to make a decision on two tires, four tires.  I felt like two was going to be the right thing.  It worked out for Jimmie (Johnson) to win it.  Congrats to him, but just didn’t work out for us.  Our car just didn’t take off very good there.”

YOU HAD A GREAT CAR AT TIMES. IF THIS RACE HAD STAYED GREEN THE REST OF THE WAY, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU HAD FOR THEM? YOU WERE ALSO SAVING FUEL FOR A WHILE:
“I think we definitely had that strategy nailed. We came in; stretched it as far as we could and the team did an excellent job getting it full of fuel. I was saving (fuel) most of that run. So, we were four short. But it doesn’t matter. The caution came out and we just did not have a short run car. We took two (tires) to get track position, which won the race. But it just didn’t work for our car. All in all, it was a great day for the Axalta Chevrolet. I was very happy with just the overall performance of everybody. And I was having fun. Congrats to Jimmie (Johnson). He’s so tough here. It’s no surprise that he won. It was a great job by (Dale Earnhardt) Junior, too; that was fun to watch.”

YOU GAINED IN THE POINTS AND TECHNICALLY TIED FOR FOURTH, BUT YOU ARE IN FIFTH. LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE AND MOVING ON TO KANSAS, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR CHANCES?
“Oh, well, if we keep performing the way we’ve been performing; a driver can’t slide into the pit stall too far, and we’ve just got to keep knocking out good pit stops and having good race cars like we’ve had. I’m very excited and motivated by how well this team has stepped-up ever since the Chase has come around. I can’t wait to get to the next race.”

Results

Pos # Driver Make St Laps Led Status Points
1 48 Jimmie Johnson 48 8 400 243 Running 48
2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr 88 1 400 80 Running 43
3 22 Joey Logano 22 11 400 0 Running 41
4 24 Jeff Gordon 24 16 400 3 Running 41
5 18 Kyle Busch 18 14 400 30 Running 40
6 29 Kevin Harvick 29 12 400 0 Running 38
7 20 Matt Kenseth 20 2 400 36 Running 38
8 39 Ryan Newman 39 3 400 6 Running 37
9 16 Greg Biffle 16 19 400 0 Running 35
10 15 Clint Bowyer 15 23 400 1 Running 35
11 1 Jamie McMurray 1 7 400 0 Running 33
12 55 Brian Vickers 55 22 400 0 Running 0
13 5 Kasey Kahne 5 20 399 0 Running 31
14 31 Jeff Burton 31 25 399 0 Running 30
15 56 Martin Truex Jr 56 10 399 0 Running 29
16 9 Marcos Ambrose 9 24 398 0 Running 28
17 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 15 398 0 Running 27
18 27 Paul Menard 27 21 398 0 Running 26
19 14 Mark Martin 14 29 397 0 Running 25
20 11 Denny Hamlin 11 18 397 0 Running 24
21 78 Kurt Busch 78 9 397 0 Running 23
22 43 Aric Almirola 43 5 397 0 Running 22
23 42 Juan Pablo Montoya 42 13 397 0 Running 21
24 13 Casey Mears 13 26 395 0 Running 20
25 34 David Ragan 34 27 395 0 Running 19
26 47 AJ Allmendinger 47 17 395 0 Running 18
27 30 Cole Whitt 30 33 394 0 Running 0
28 83 David Reutimann 83 39 394 0 Running 16
29 10 Danica Patrick 10 31 394 0 Running 15
30 38 David Gilliland 38 28 393 1 Running 15
31 93 Travis Kvapil 93 30 392 0 Running 13
32 51 Ryan Truex 51 36 392 0 Running 0
33 7 Dave Blaney 7 40 391 0 Running 11
34 36 J.J. Yeley 36 32 390 0 Running 10
35 99 Carl Edwards 99 4 385 0 Running 9
36 32 Timmy Hill 32 42 381 0 Running 8
37 2 Brad Keselowski 2 6 355 0 Running 7
38 33 Landon Cassill 33 37 275 0 Suspension 0
39 87 Joe Nemechek 87 41 168 0 Suspension 0
40 40 Tony Raines 40 43 154 0 Vibration 0
41 95 Reed Sorenson 95 35 139 0 Brakes 0
42 35 Josh Wise 35 38 128 0 Brakes 0
43 98 Michael McDowell 98 34 107 0 Brakes 1

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