By Doug Halberstadt
It was a good weekend for our local connections to NASCAR. Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief, former Rockfordian Chad Knaus, captured the checkered flag in the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at the Dover Speedway.
The win was Johnson’s seventh at the track known as the “Monster Mile” and the 57th of his career.
The seven wins at Dover tie Johnson with NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Bobby Allison for most victories at the track.
His Lowe’s Chevrolet was dominant throughout the race. He led 289 of the 400 laps, including the final 76. Johnson credited his crew in victory lane. “It was a total team effort today,” he said.
Johnson has won two of the first 13 races this season. His other win this season came at Darlington May 12. The five-time former champion sits in fifth place in the season points standings as he makes a run for his sixth championship.
Cambridge, Wis., native Matt Kenseth wasn’t far behind Johnson when he crossed the finish line. Kenseth grabbed the third spot right behind runner-up Kevin Harvick. His third-place finish helped bring him to within 1 point of series leader Greg Biffle. Rounding out the top five were Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Clint Bowyer.
Biffle finished in the 11th position and brought his series points total to 486. Kenseth has 485. Earnhardt Jr. moved up one spot in the standings. His fourth-place finish allowed him to leapfrog ahead of Denny Hamlin into the third position. Earnhardt Jr. has 476 points, Hamlin has 464 and Johnson has 453.
NASCAR racing continues this weekend on Sunday, June 10, at Pocono. Television coverage switches from FOX to TNT. Coverage begins at 11 a.m. local time.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the June 6-12, 2012, issue