Dover Winners and Losers
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone on September 30, 2013 | 2:31 P.M. EST
Johnson is now the all-time winner at Dover. (Photo: Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson – If there was any question whether Johnson would be in contention for a sixth Sprint Cup Series championship they were answered on Sunday with a dominating eighth career victory at the “Monster Mile.” Johnson has started the playoffs in vintage fashion.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Only one spot short of finally ending his long winless drought, Earnhardt had a strong car from the start of the race where he began on the pole. He was able to fight back from a pair of pit road hiccups to nearly chase down teammate Johnson for the win.
Kyle Busch – Busch was disappointed as is always the case when the ultra-competitive Joe Gibbs Racing driver doesn’t win, but the fact of the matter is he turned in a third straight solid Chase effort. Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers continue to demonstrate they plan to be a factor throughout the championship.
Greg Biffle – The Roush Fenway Racing driver said anyone who though this was a three-man championship battle was “stupid.” Well he stayed at least in the first half of the Chase standings with a top 10 finish but with three races in the book Biffle is still 40 points out of the lead.
Clint Bowyer – Got the news sponsor 5-Hour Energy would stick around and came home with a top-10 finish. Bowyer also wasn’t the most booed driver in pre-race introductions with that honor going to Kyle Busch.
Kurt Busch – Despite brining in new pit crewmembers from various Richard Childress Racing Nationwide Series teams in an attempt to shore things up, Busch suffered a loose wheel that completely derailed his afternoon. Three weeks into the Chase and midnight came even closer for the Cinderella story after Sunday.
Carl Edwards – Horrible day for Edwards who started near the front of the field but fell off the pace and ended the day with a mechanical problem and 35th place finish.
Brad Keselowski – The sour follow-up to his championship season continued on Sunday for Keselowski with more mechanical gremlins for the Blue Deuce. Despite going back on track after repairs Keselowski finished in a dismal 37th place.
Juan Pablo Montoya – After nearly winning the June Dover race, Montoya was nowhere to be found on Sunday and battled a car that would not handle through the afternoon’s ling green flag runs. There may be sponsor reasons in play but you have to wonder if Earnhardt Ganassi Racing would be better off to get a head start on 2014 and put Kyle Larson in the seat early.
Denny Hamlin – Rough does not begin to describe the season Hamlin has had with more problems Sunday for a 20th-place performance.