NASCAR Dover Notebook: Jimmie Johnson Understands Significance Of Dover Double Digit Club

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Jimmie Johnson  (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

DOVER, Del.—With his next victory at Dover International Speedway, Jimmie Johnson will join an exclusive club.

Currently, there are only four drivers in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history who have won 10 or more races at the same track.

Richard Petty accomplished the feat at five different venues: Daytona (10), Martinsville (15), North Wilkesboro (15), Richmond (13) and Rockingham (11). Darrell Waltrip, the only other driver in the double-digit club at more than one track, amassed 12 victories at Bristol, 11 at Martinsville and 10 at North Wilkesboro.

David Pearson won 10 races at Darlington, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. 10 at Talladega, and their two names are inexorably linked to those tracks—just as Johnson’s will be at Dover when and if he records his 10th victory at the Monster Mile, an accomplishment that could come as early as Sunday’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks race (1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1).

“At this track, and at Martinsville (where he has eight wins)—there are a few tracks where I’m in a really neat position to chase history,” Johnson said before Friday’s opening Sprint Cup practice at Dover. “It’s not a situation I ever thought I’d find myself in, but now that I’m here, it’s certainly in front of me. It’s on my mind, and it’s something I would love to do.

“If I was able to accomplish it, I’d just be honored to be in that same situation that had been done by Dale Earnhardt Sr. I never had the chance to race against him. It’s one big empty void that I have in my career, I feel, is that I never had a chance to be crashed by him or to have a tire mark put on my car to pass, or to be passed by (him).

“That whole experience, I didn’t have that opportunity, and I so wish that I did.”


If there’s a “home game” for Martin Truex Jr., Dover is it.

The Monster Mile is close to Truex’s native New Jersey, and the high-banked concrete oval has always been one of his personal favorites.

When he takes the green flag for Sunday’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks, Truex will be driving equipment that’s almost as familiar as the track is.

Interestingly, Truex will be behind the wheel of the same No. 78 Furniture Row Racing chassis he used at Kansas on May 9 and in last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The unusual move of racing the same chassis three weeks in a row required a quick turnaround at the shop earlier this week.

Though he didn’t win at Kansas or Charlotte, Truex led the most laps in both races, and he comes to Dover riding a wave of confidence.

“This is one of my favorite tracks—that’s usually a good sign to start off with,” Truex said on Friday. “I have so much confidence in my team and the cars we have and the job that my team is doing. It’s just fun to come to the track with the confidence and with optimism about what we’re going to do.

“I’m looking forward to the weekend. It should be a good one.”


Carl Edwards won’t celebrate his 36th birthday until Aug. 19, but in last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, he got a couple of early presents—an unexpected fuel-mileage victory in NASCAR’s longest race and an all-but-guaranteed spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs.

“We were far enough back in points, and we had not been having good luck, (so) we were going to be pretty content with ninth, 10th, somewhere in there in that race,” Edwards said of his mind-set at Charlotte. “The win was a shock, really. I don’t think it set in until—it took about 24 hours for me to really realize we can go to Dover and just hang out and have some fun.

“We don’t have to worry. We get to go to all these tracks that I really love like Sonoma and Watkins Glen, just work on stuff and have fun racing. It took me a little while to shift my mind-set from digging in and getting points runs to, ‘Hey we’re in this thing.’ It’s pretty cool.”

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