Sunday, June 01, 2014

With Latest Dover Win, Johnson Back In Title Discussion

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Jimmie Johnson is back.

The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion suffered through an uncharacteristic, 11-race losing streak to start this 2014 season, often looking downright pedestrian along the way. He returned to form on home turf at Charlotte Motor Speedway two weeks ago, dominating the Coca-Cola 600 for his first checkered flag of the season, then went back-to-back for the 13th time in his Sprint Cup Series career with an equally impressive win in the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway Sunday afternoon.

Johnson walked away from eventual runner-up Brad Keselowski following a final restart for Casey Mears’ flat tire with four laps remaining, claiming the checkered flag by nearly a full second. He led a commanding 272 of 400 laps Sunday, and with a record nine wins in 25 career Dover starts, now sports a hefty .360 lifetime batting average on the Monster Mile. Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin completed the Top-5.

Johnson’s second victory in as many weeks makes him a legitimate part of the championship dialogue for the first time this season. In fact, Johnson is now a lock for his 11th consecutive Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berth; the only driver in NASCAR to make the cut in every year of the system. If the Chase began today (and it won’t), Johnson would begin the 10-race title run tied with Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano for the points lead. 

And with the Sprint Cup Series heading to Pocono (PA) Raceway this weekend, Johnson’s hot streak could be far from over.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver has three wins in 24 career Pocono starts and is the defending champion of the spring race there. Flat tires in the late going cost his Lowes Chevrolet team a pair of Pocono victories in 2012 and 2013, as well, making him a top pick to extend his personal winning streak to three.

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America


  1. Anonymous7:10 PM


    In the last two races we have Mr. Johnson winning. Is that good or bad for NASCAR? I’ve no idea how others view it. However, it seems that the Johnson domination era of the sport has seen a decline in people heading to the track and viewers on TV. Sure there are many different reasons for the decline but you have to wonder if the organization that has the most to spend on winning dominating the sport is good for it? I don’t think it is. If NASCAR truly wanted to level the sport out then they should set a limit on how much a team can spend during a race year. You’d see more teams in the winner’s circle and you’d have more interest in the sport. The first 11 races this season really caught my attention. The last 2 not at all. Watching one team dominate the others is BORING

    While I can’t say I like or dislike Mr. Johnson I can say that the moment it becomes clear that he is going to win a race I turn off the TV or radio. I don’t listen to what he has to say in winner’s circle nor do I watch the ads that are shown leading up to and after the celebration. I can’t say that about any other driver. Mr. Johnson is about as exciting as milk toast. He does nothing to offend and nothing to excite. He is a perfect corporate driver.

    If NASCAR wants to see viewers return maybe they should look for the reasons that made the sport popular in the first place. It wasn’t a sport that was PC, and the drivers had rough edges. Gee, that sounds like the fans that used to show up in droves. Hey, we all have that cousin/uncle/relative that we cringe when they arrive at our family reunion as we know the train wreck is coming.. At the same time, we all secretly want them there as they and their actions are what we will all talk about until the next one. If we banned them from showing up people would find other things to do and slowly the reunion would fade away. NASCAR seems to have kicked out the “fun” that brought everyone in the sport.

  2. Anonymous10:21 AM

    Really can't agree with the opinion that Jimmie's "dominating" with 2 wins. What about Logano or Harvick? Too bad that person is missing out by turning off the race. Now if JJ wins Pocono, it's a different story! When the Johnson's Blue geraniums blossom, so does the 48! Ellen, JJ's grlfrnd