A rather uneventful race at Dover International Speedway leaves Jimmie Johnson just eight points behind Championship leader Matt Kenseth.
In a race that started with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the pole ended with Johnson on Victory Lane and Junior finishing a close second, again. Junior led a large portion of the 400-lap race but in the end, his troubles with the entrance of pit road cost him multiple positions and ultimately, the race.
Although a win by Junior would have made the recent weeks’ news seem miniscule, Johnson accomplished something that no other driver has ever done before. He has tackled a monster named Miles eight times, more than any other driver in Cup history. Previously, Johnson tied with legendary drivers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison at seven wins. Surpassing their record solidifies Johnson’s place in history, along with his five straight Championship wins.
“It’s incredible,” he said after the race. “To do anything 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 happy to get that done and be the sole leader of race wins here. It’s a very special day.”
In the opening races of the Chase, Matt Kenseth seemed to dominate, winning the first two races. Johnson and Kenseth’s teammate Kyle Busch are trailing behind, but not by much. After just three races in a ten race Chase, the three drivers are already breaking away from the rest of the field. Johnson sits in second, just eight points behind Kenseth. Busch, sits just 12 points back.
Tied for fourth are Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon, 39 points behind Kenseth. In theory, it is entirely possible for the drivers from Harvick on back to make their way up and win the Championship, but in reality, history says that the big trophy is between the drivers currently ranked one through three.
Will Jimmie Johnson get his 6-pack and be one step closer to his goal of eight Championships? Will Matt Kenseth put the perfect end to the best season of his career and hold up the coveted trophy? Or will Kyle Busch finally achieve his dream of becoming a Sprint Cup Champion? It may be too soon to tell but one thing is for certain, you won’t want to miss a moment of the final seven races.