NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson holds off Dale Earnhardt Jr. for record 8th win at Dover

No one tames the Monster Mile at Dover better than Jimmie Johnson. The five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion held off a determined charge by teammate and pole sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a record breaking eighth win at the one mile concrete oval.

With Johnson’s victory, his sixth of the year and 65th in his career, he broke the seven win tie at Dover he had with NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison.

“It’s incredible. To do anything that 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 so happy to get that done and be the sole leader of race wins here,” Johnson.

After the last pit stop, with about 26 laps of racing to go Johnson had taken two tires and Earnhardt took four. The usual advantage of four fresh tires on a relatively long run didn’t pay off on Sunday.

NASCAR Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet SS Dover

Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet SS, Dover. (Photo: NASCAR)

“Two (tires) worked good for us in practice,” Johnson who led a race high 243-laps said. “And believe me, I wanted to see four tires line up in the fourth or fifth row. When they lined up right behind me, I thought I was going to have my hands full. And I really did. Junior drove a whale of a race, and track position really gave me the advantage I needed to hold him off.”

Jimmie Johnson had a comfortable lead when the fourth caution of the relatively caution free race waved. All the leaders pitted. Earnhardt had little to lose and everything to gain taking four new tires. Especially after he had recovered from two miscues early in the race while looking to end a 47-race winless drought.

“Yeah, if you really look at the race as a whole, they did cost us a little bit, at least the mistake I made missing pit road completely. We had the lead, gave up the lead. Jimmie had the lead and was able to take advantage of that clean air when it counted.

“If I had not given up that track position, had a smart enough race to keep the lead when it counted right at the end, we might have won the race. It would have been hard to get by us, just like it was (hard) to get by Jimmie,” Earnhardt said.

Joey Logano recovered from a slow start to finish third was followed by Jeff Gordon in fourth (the third Hendrick Motorsports driver in the top four).

Series points leader, Matt Kenseth, led 36 laps but faded at the end to finish seventh. He holds a slim eight point lead over Johnson with seven races to go in the Chase. Kyle Busch, third in the Chase, was never a factor in the race but still finished fifth but fell to third in the points 12 points behind his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate.

Gordon and Kevin Harvick (who finished sixth) are tied for fourth in the points 39 markers behind.

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