Jimmie Johnson Stole the Monster Mile Show to Make it Two in a Row

For the ninth time, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet stole the show at the Monster Mile, making it two race wins in a row and virtually guaranteeing himself a place in the Chase for the tenth consecutive year.

“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,” Johnson continued. “This place just fits my style and Chad Knaus’ style.”

“I don’t even know where to begin,” Chad Knaus, winning crew chief, said. “We came in here with high expectations and things went really well for us right out of the gate. We were pretty optimistic at that point. Qualifying went well and we were excited to get into the event today.”

“At that point, we tried to manage the race and it turned out to be a pretty good day.”

Both Brad Keselowski, who started from the pole, and Matt Kenseth, who remains winless for the season, attempted to hang with the six-time champ, but finished second and third instead.

“We just had an up and down day,” the driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford said. “We started up front and went to the back early in the race.”

“Then we took back off and had some strong runs,” Keselowski continued. “We were probably going to get a crack at Jimmie and then that last caution came out. We drove back up to second with the help of the restart and we were pretty even with Jimmie but it was just a matter of being out front.”

“It was a solid day for us,” the third place finishing driver of the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota said. “I did a poor job qualifying and so good adjustments and pit stops moved us forward. There was just that one group of cars that we couldn’t quite run with. We just need to be a little bit faster.”

Kenseth, who looked like he had a shot to win, actually struggled on the final restart with six laps to go, spinning his tires and then getting into the wall.

“The 48 spun them and I spun them a little bit,” Kenseth said. “I just need to do a better job and let the rear tires quit screaming so I could get going. And then Clint (Bowyer) hit me I guess trying to give me a push there.”

In addition to being a factor in the final restart with Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer was a factor in another incident early in the race with Kyle Busch, who looked strong as he tried to achieve the sweep of the race weekend after winning both the Truck and Nationwide races.

Bowyer and Busch tangled on Lap 126, putting Busch out of the race. Bowyer went on to salvage a good finish, bringing home his No. 15 Cherry 5-Hour Energy Special Ops Warrior Foundation Toyota home in the fourth position.

“I hated to be in that position with the 18,” Bowyer said. “I thought I was clear, obviously I wasn’t. Ruined his day.”

One of the other major incidents of the race involved AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., the latter of whom sustained hard hits on Lap 135.

“Inside of the car I didn’t really know what happened,” the driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion said. “I just knew that the 47 got into us pretty hard and turned us into the fence. After watching the replay I see what happened.”

“They were racing hard back there and he stuck it into a hole that maybe there wasn’t room for,” Biffle continued. “There definitely wasn’t room come three-quarters of the way around the corner I guess and he slid off the bottom and got his right-rear caught by the 17 and up into us. It was a chain reaction. This place is tight and fast and when you get racing that hard back there on a restart stuff like that is going to happen.”

“We were really loose,” Ricky Stenhouse Jr. said. “The 47 jumped to the inside of us there and I tried to stay out of his way and he got me. We met right-rear to left-front and it got him sideways and everything else happened after that.”

“Our Nationwide Insurance Ford was really, really loose all race long and we were trying to hang on with it,” the driver of the No. 17 Nationwide Ford Fusion said. “We didn’t want it to end that way and we got our teammate caught up in it and tore up a lot of cars.”

“That is now what we wanted to do. It is a tough end to our day,” Stenhouse Jr. continued. “It is a bummer.”

In one of the more bizarre incidents and for just the third time in the last few years, once in April 2004 at Martinsville and once in 2010 at the Daytona 500, the red flag was displayed after a piece of concrete dislodged from the race track and hit Jamie McMurray’s car.

The red flag lasted six minutes and 39 seconds and while McMurray could not work on his car during that time, repairs were made when the red flag was lifted and the driver of the No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet got the ‘lucky dog’ break, soldiering on to a respectable 13th place finish.

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president for competition, addressed the media after the race, advising that NASCAR was not aware of the concrete hole prior to the race and then addressed it immediately after the issue occurred with materials that are utilized regularly for repair work.

“We do a track walk after every race and in the morning and at the time, that had been a previous patch, but our staff did not see anything wrong with it,” Pemberton said. “The hole was two or three inches deep and six or eight inches by ten inches, so it was pretty substantial.”

“Our team has equipment and product at every facility in case there is a need for it. It’s an epoxy type filler that we use and is the same material we use whether it be asphalt or concrete.”

Many of the drivers praised NASCAR’s handling of the concrete repair, including Brad Keselowski.

“I think NASCAR did a good job or whoever fixed it did a good job of repairing it,” Keselowski said. “It’s hard to come back up there at the end and it was definitely an issue when it happened. You knew it was going to get worse if it wasn’t repaired and a small hole was going to turn into a big hole. I give NASCAR credit to realize that, stop, and fix it.”

Kyle Larson, behind the wheel of the No. 42 Cottonelle Chevrolet, was the highest finishing rookie yet again. With the third place finish of Matt Kenseth and the 15th place finish by the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet Jeff Gordon, Kenseth gained the points lead over Gordon and is now in P1 by two points.

The full race results are as follows:

2014 NSCS FedEx 400 Race Results

Fin Str Car Driver Team Lap Pts BPts Status TLd LLd
1 4 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet 400 48 5 Running 7 272
2 1 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 400 43 1 Running 1 1
3 21 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota 400 42 1 Running 5 17
4 10 15 Clint Bowyer Cherry5-hrEnergySpecialOpsWarriorFnd Toyota 400 41 1 Running 2 5
5 7 11 Denny Hamlin Autism Speaks/FedEx Freight Toyota 400 39 Running
6 16 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Chevrolet 400 38 Running
7 20 14 Tony Stewart Code 3/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 400 37 Running
8 3 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 400 36 Running
9 13 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet 400 35 Running
10 15 27 Paul Menard Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet 400 34 Running
11 5 42 Kyle Larson # Cottonelle Chevrolet 400 33 Running
12 25 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 400 32 Running
13 19 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet 400 31 Running
14 29 99 Carl Edwards Subway Ford 400 30 Running
15 6 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet 400 29 Running
16 27 9 Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford 400 28 Running
17 8 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet 399 28 1 Running 2 24
18 24 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet 399 26 Running
19 17 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 399 25 Running
20 23 3 Austin Dillon # American Ethanol Chevrolet 398 24 Running
21 11 47 AJ Allmendinger Scott Products Chevrolet 397 23 Running
22 18 66 Brett Moffitt Land Castle Title Toyota 396 22 Running
23 28 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet 396 21 Running
24 38 36 Reed Sorenson Click It or Ticket Chevrolet 396 20 Running
25 22 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 395 19 Running
26 30 51 Justin Allgaier # AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet 395 18 Running
27 31 26 Cole Whitt # Burger King Toyota 394 17 Running
28 33 98 Josh Wise iRacing.com/Reddit.com Chevrolet 390 16 Running
29 32 38 David Gilliland The Pete Store Ford 388 15 Running
30 43 32 Blake Koch(i) supportmilitary.org Ford 388 0 Running
31 14 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 387 13 Running
32 41 83 Ryan Truex # Burger King Toyota 387 12 Running
33 42 77 Dave Blaney Ford 383 11 Running
34 36 40 Landon Cassill(i) Newtown Building Supplies Chevrolet 382 0 Running
35 39 7 Michael Annett # Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 378 9 Running
36 34 34 David Ragan Dockside Logistics Ford 350 8 Running
37 40 33 David Stremme Little Joe’s Autos Chevrolet 297 7 Overheating
38 12 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford 292 6 Running
39 37 44 JJ Yeley(i) Phoenix Warehouse Chevrolet 232 0 Engine
40 35 23 Alex Bowman # Dr.Pepper Toyota 208 4 Accident
41 26 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Nationwide Ford 131 3 Accident
42 2 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Peanut Butter Toyota 125 3 1 Accident 1 81
43 9 55 Brian Vickers Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota 73 1 Engine

 



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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