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Monster Stats in Dover

“They did the Mash. They did the Monster Mash.” Jimmie Johnson has done the Monster Mash seven times from victory lane at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. He is the winningest active driver at the track known as the “Monster Mile” and is currently tied with two of the sport’s greats – Richard Petty and Bobby Allison – with that win total. So, it’s safe to say, no other active driver has performed better at Dover than Johnson.

The five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion heads to Dover for round three of this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup trailing leader Matt Kenseth by 18 points. While Johnson has managed top-five finishes in the first two Chase races (fifth at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., and fourth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon), Kenseth has been slightly better, notching wins in both events.

Still, Johnson has some monster stats on his side this weekend at Dover. He narrowly missed becoming the all-time winningest driver when the series visited the concrete oval in June. He led an astounding 143 of 400 laps before he was penalized for jumping the final restart of the race. He ended up 17th, a finish not indicative of the speed in his car that day.

His No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet is expected to be equally potent this weekend, and Johnson’s recent finishes seem to foreshadow that prediction. Since 2008, Johnson has finished outside the top-10 only twice, the aforementioned June race and June 2010. He has led multiple laps in every one of those events, however.

Perhaps even more monstrous: The last two times Johnson won a Dover Chase race? He went on to win the title in 2009 and 2010.

Here’s what Johnson had to say heading into Dover:

What’s your outlook going into Dover?

“I’m really looking forward to Dover. It is one of my favorite tracks. We were close there last time, led a bunch of laps and were in position there toward the end for a win. Unfortunately, we got penalized on that final restart and weren’t able to pull it off. I think we’ve clarified things a little bit with the new restart rule and are headed in the right direction. This Lowe’s team has had a consistent start to the Chase and I expect more of the same this weekend in Dover.”

Is there a sense of relief heading to Dover?


“Yes, to open (the Chase) with a five-four (finishing positions) is great. One-one, like Matt (Kenseth) has, is a lot better, but we’re in a good spot. We haven’t given up too many points, and we’re going to one of my best racetracks in Dover. So, I certainly hope to have this Lowe’s Chevrolet in victory lane up there.”

Statistics:

  • Seven wins (June and September 2002, September 2005, June and September 2009, September 2010 and June 2012).
  • Three poles (September 2009 and 2010, June 2011).
  • 11 top-five finishes (47.8 percent) and 16 top-10s (69.6 percent) in 23 starts.
  • Average start of 10.3 and average finish of 9.0.
  • Sprint Cup’s best driver rating (119.6 average of a possible 150 points).
  • Sprint Cup’s best average running position (7.1).

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1
#24
Jeff Gordon
670
2
#88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
-12
3
#2
Brad Keselowski
-36
5
#48
Jimmie Johnson
-72
New Hampshire
Started: 2nd
Finished: 42nd
Indy
Sunday, July 27th
1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
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