Monday, June 2, 2014

The Monster Throwing Stones?

DOVER, DELAWARE – Jimmie Johnson sure does like the Monster Mile, or maybe the Monster  likes Jimmie.  Either way, Jimmie earned his 9th victory at Dover this past Sunday.  You couldn’t tell that just a few weeks ago when Jimmie couldn’t win a race.  This week, he led 272 out of 400 laps in his Chevy.  Coming off a victory at the Charlotte 600, the fortunes of this Hendrick driver have certainly turned.  Brad Keslowski placed his Team Penske Ford in second place followed by Matt Kenseth in his Gibbs Toyota.  "It was an awesome race car," Johnson said. "The first run I wasn't sure we were really going to have the normal Dover magic here. Once the track rubbered in our car came to life and it was so good. It's amazing that we can stay on top of things here with the different generation car, different rules, different tires. This place just fits my style.”

The slow start for Johnson stemmed from the inability of the team to get their new, sixth-gen car ready due to Johnson’s off-season surgery and cancelled test sessions due to weather.  But based on the car’s debut at Dover, the team sure didn’t cut any corners in its development.  "We're getting closer," Johnson said. "We brought out a new-generation car that Chad just had a lot of faith in, put a lot of time and effort into. He told me I'd love the car, and sure enough, we unloaded and got on the track and it was right."

Kyle Busch set the pace from the front row leading 81 laps, but a mishap with Clint Bowyer on lap 124 put his Toyota into the wall dashing any chances for a victory.  Then only 10 laps later, AJ Allmendinger caused a multi-car wreck bringing out the red flag.  He also ended the day for teammates Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse.

Then, the most bizarre incident of the day occurred on lap 158 when part of turn 2 flew up and smacked Jamie McMurray’s car sending him into the wall.  Two laps later, the officials brought out the red flag again in order to allow workers time to patch the hole in the track.  "When I came off of the corner, it just felt like I hit something obviously heavy," McMurray said after the race. "Initially I thought I had blown a tire out, because when I hit (the concrete) it pushed the car out to the right. I got into the fence a little bit, and as I slowed down I couldn't figure out, first off, why I didn't hit the wall harder, and then what happened."I didn't see anything," he added. "It just hit the front end, ripped the splitter off and pushed the car to the right."

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