The trophy features Miles the Monster, a sharp-toothed, red-eyed stone creature hoisting the winner’s car in the air in an apparent prelude to dashing it into dust. Imagine what happens to the guy who finishes dead last.
Jimmie Johnson has a lot of these trophies, courtesy of nine victories at Dover. It does not seem to matter the time of year or even the time of his career. He swept 2002 in his rookie season, as he did in 2009. Johnson has won half of the last six ran there, including last spring. I am going out on a limb here, but I got a feeling Jimmie might be considered the favorite on Sunday.
It is not as if he does not share. Jeff Gordon has five of those trophies. There is a trio of them at both Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart’s homes. In fact, there are 11 other drivers who will be competing this weekend with a combined total of 22 to go along with the nine Jimmie has in his man-cave. Even Martin Truex, Jr. has one. He sure would love another.
Hot 20 heading over to Dover…with past winners in CAPS…
1. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 3 WINS – 393 Points
Dover has been kind to him nine times…so how about 10?
2. Kevin Harvick – 2 WINS – 473 Points
Points are important, but wins more so. Just ask Truex.
3. Joey Logano – 1 WIN – 407 Points
Winning just a single race isn’t that big a deal, is it? When it is THAT race, it sure is.
4. DALE EARNHARDT JR. – 1 WIN – 401 Points
Loves Speedy Dry on oil, not so much on the top grove, on the fans, on your cereal…
5. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 1 WIN – 381 Points
Who’s her daddy? Brad is…of a baby girl. Congratulations!
6. MATT KENSETH – 1 WIN – 372 Points
You can join his pit crew in Kansas…sort of. Now, if you could just be Newman’s crew chief.
7. KURT BUSCH – 1 WIN – 327 Points
Still waiting for that final caution at Charlotte…that never came.
8. Denny Hamlin – 1 WIN – 321 Points
36 holes of golf and a game of tennis…not how to prepare for 600 miles.
9. CARL EDWARDS – 1 WIN – 312 Points
They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning…at least over the final 21 laps last week.
10. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 432 POINTS
Best car in Charlotte, yet still winless.
11. Jamie McMurray – 353 POINTS
Interested only in winning the big ones, and July has both the Firecracker and Brickyard 400’s.
12. JEFF GORDON – 346 POINTS
Led the way at Indianapolis, so it was just too bad he was not also in the pace car at Charlotte.
13. Kasey Kahne – 345 POINTS
Last Sunday found Kasey having to do a lot of passing on a day when passing wasn’t easy.
14. RYAN NEWMAN – 343 POINTS
Last win was the 2013 Brickyard. Last race with his crew chief…Talladega.
15. Aric Almirola – 339 POINTS
Smithfield Foods sponsors Almirola and the IndyCar that caught fire prior to Sunday’s start.
16. Paul Menard – 336 POINTS
I hear his dad sponsors this team. Well, a big howdy to Mr. Pittsburgh Paints. Wrong one?
17. Clint Bowyer – 296 POINTS
Lt. Dale Bowyer…we and your grandson salute you.
18. Danica Patrick – 292 POINTS
Whose yoga photos would you prefer…Danica’s or Tony’s?
19. GREG BIFFLE – 284 POINTS
The only one even close to being the bearer of positive news for Roush-Fenway.
20. A.J. Allmendinger – 274 POINTS
Not saying he is bad at Dover, but anything in the Top 20 would represent a good day.