Johnson, Harvick 1-2 once again

Photo by Todd Warshaw / NASCAR via Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson crosses the start/finish line victorious at Dover International Speedway.




By Justin Melillo
Staff Reporter
June 1, 2015

jmelillo@theracingexperts.net

 

 

DOVER, Del.—After a hot and humid day at the track, Jimmie Johnson was able to hold off Kevin Harvick in the closing laps to win at Dover International Speedway, his tenth career victory at the speedway, and fourth win of the season.

 

Johnson, who started 14th, quickly worked his way to the top-five, averaging a fifth place running position. Taking over the lead from Kevin Harvick at lap 382, his first time leading all day, Johnson held on for the win.

Johnson fought hard all day, and after the race, was pleased that could pull off the victory.

 

“What a long hard fought day to get to the front,” he said. “It seemed like four or five of us could run the same speed and just couldn’t really pass. We did a great job of hanging in there. My pit stops were awesome. We kind of took a chance on pit sequence to pick off a couple of spots to get us from fifth to third, third to a shot for the win.”

 


Photo by Todd Warshaw / NASCAR via Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson celebrates in victory lane at Dover International Speedway.

Johnson, with his fourth win of the season, leads all drivers in 2015, with Harvick the only other driver with multiple victories at two.

 

Harvick, who finished second for the seventh time this season, has finished as runner-up in each of Johnson’s four victories. Nontheless, Harvick increased his point lead to 44 over Matin Truex Jr.

 

“All in all, everybody did a great job, and I think when you look at Dover it’s been a good racetrack for us,” he said. “We’ve led laps and just haven’t quite finished it yet, but a good, solid day.”

 

Kyle Larson, who battled around to a third place finish, posted his first top-five effort of 2015.

 

“Proud of my guys for the job they did to rebound from last week to bring a better car to the racetrack,” he said. “That was just a nice solid day. We ran in the top 10 for most of it. We got off there at the midpoint of the race and got back going decent.

 

“Just caught the right lines it seemed like most of those last restarts. Happy with the finish and we will go to Pocono next week, a track I enjoy and hopefully we can do well there too.”


 

THROUGH THE FIELD


After dominating runs from both Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin, Harvick took the lead after green flag stops and held on until the caution flag flew for an incident involving Kyle Busch and Brian Scott. Busch was running third at the time of the caution. Kyle Busch would finish 36th, and Scott 38th.

 

After some drivers pitted for tires, some taking two, others taking four, Harvick and Johnson stayed out and took the field to the restart with 17 to go.

 

The next caution flew a few moments later when Clint Bowyer got into the back of Denny Hamlin off of turn two. Hamlin swung to the inside, then back up into oncoming traffic, collecting Kurt Busch at the end of the backstretch. They were all running within the top 10 at the time. Hamlin limped home to a 21st place finish, and Kurt Busch ended up 31st.


Photo by Daniel Shirey/NASCAR via Getty Images

Martin Truex Jr.


The drivers took the restart again, this time with 10 laps to go. Johnson took the advantage, this time with Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr. in tow. The final caution flag flew just before Johnson could take the white flag, this time for an accident off of turn four involving Casey Mears and AJ Allmendinger.

 

On the green-white-checkered restart, Johnson once again chose the outside lane, with teammate Kasey Kahne inside, and Harvick right behind. Johnson took the restart and accelerated past Kahne into turns one and two, with Harvick following through on the outside. Harvick took a look up high, but Johnson was able to hold him off, and cruised to his 74th career victory.

 

Truex Jr. led a race high 131 laps, but struggled on the final restart, finishing 6th.

 

Next week, the series head to Pocono Raceway for the Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the defending race winner.


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