Auto Racing

Auto Racing: Jimmie Johnson continues dominance at Dover

2014-06-01T18:19:06Z 2014-06-01T20:06:38Z Auto Racing: Jimmie Johnson continues dominance at DoverWire Reports Arizona Daily Star
June 01, 2014 6:19 pm  • 

DOVER, Del. — Jimmie Johnson raced his way to another routine romp at Dover International Speedway.

He followed last week’s victory in the Coca-Cola 600 with another sensational run at Dover in the FedEx 400 presented by Autism Speaks on Sunday, extending his track victory record to nine. Johnson was the class of the field in a race red-flagged for 22 minutes because of a pothole in the concrete track.

Johnson led 272 of 400 laps, and won consecutive races for the 13th time. The six-time Cup champion swept Dover in 2002 and 2009 and won races in 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

“For sure, when you come to Dover, it’s always the 48,” said Matt Kenseth, who finished behind Brad Keselowski and just ahead of Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin. “We’ve got to figure out how to get ahead of him.”

Johnson’s checkered flag celebrations at Dover have seemingly become a rite of the NASCAR season. He became Dover’s career leader in laps led when he hit the 2,802 mark, and again stamped himself as contender for a series-tying seventh championship.

“It’s amazing that we can stay on top of things here with the different generation car, different rules, different tires,” Johnson said. “This place just fits my style and (crew chief) Chad Knaus’ style.”

Johnson never left any doubt his No. 48 Chevrolet was the car to beat, the only drama coming when the race was stopped 160 laps into the race after Ryan Newman’s car pulled up chunks of the track that kicked back and damaged Jamie McMurray’s car. More pieces of the track flew up and cracked a window on the pedestrian crossover bridge.

NASCAR officials and safety crews went to work on the potholes and applied a quick-drying concrete mix.

Kevin Harvick’s lead at the red flag evaporated because of a flat tire not long after racing resumed and he fell two laps behind Johnson. Harvick eventually finished 17th.

Kyle Busch, who won the Truck Series race Friday and the Nationwide race Saturday, led the first 81 laps Sunday before Johnson passed him. Busch’s bid for a tripleheader sweep at Dover would soon end when the No. 18 Toyota slammed into the outside wall. Bowyer moved into Busch’s line, which caused him to wreck 124 laps into the race.

IndyCar

DETROIT — Helio Castroneves easily won the second Detroit Grand Prix race of the weekend, finishing 1.6836 seconds ahead of Penske Racing teammate Will Power. The Brazilian has 29 IndyCar victories, tying Rick Mears for 11th on the career list.

Castroneves’ lead was so large that when he made his final pit stop on Lap 49 he still was ahead when he got back on the track. The competition got closer after cautions led to restarts with seven and three laps left, but Castroneves could not be caught.

Power won Saturday and played a big part in a sloppy start Sunday.

He was penalized for avoidable contact on the opening lap, failing to turn right and causing Josef Newgarden to hit him from behind to trigger a three-car crash. That led to the first of two cautions within the first ten laps after a false start briefly delayed the start.

Despite a drive-through penalty, Power pulled into contention later in the race with aggressive moves.

Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, meanwhile, had a poor ending to a rough weekend after the biggest win of his career.

He started 21st in the 22-car field on Saturday and Sunday because of crashes. Hunter-Reay ended the first race by crashing on the final lap and the second one did not last as long due to an electrical problem knocking him out after 61 laps.

NHRA

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. — Richie Crampton raced to his first career Top Fuel victory in the NHRA Summernationals, becoming the 100th category winner in NHRA history.

Crampton, making his ninth career start, powered his Morgan Lucas Racing-owned dragster to a 3.819-second pass at 320.51 mph to beat points leader Doug Kalitta at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Cruz Pedregon won in Funny Car, Jeg Coughlin in Pro Stock and Andrew Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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