Dover Rear View Mirror
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on June 1, 2014 | 6:53 P.M. EST
Johnson turned in yet another dominating performance at Dover for his record-leading ninth career win at the “Monster Mile.” (Photo: Getty Images)
DOVER, Del. – Just two weeks ago the question on so many fans’ lips was “what’s wrong with Jimmie Johnson?”
Now after two straight wins, those remarks have changed to “Jimmie Johnson wins too much.”
Johnson turned in yet another dominating performance at Dover International Speedway on Sunday easily winning the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks for his record-leading ninth career win at the “Monster Mile.”
Johnson has made no secret that the one-mile concrete track is his favorite on the schedule, not surprisingly given his career stats. He has 68 wins in his Sprint Cup career with a big chunk of them coming in the "First State."
But while Johnson appears to be ready to take off on successful jaunt through the summer portion of the calendar, only 48 fans are pleased. All of a sudden the weekly different face in Victory Lane and discussion about how the new Chase system has created incredible racing and close competition has subsided.
In its place is a story that has been very familiar to NASCAR fans in the last decade – Johnson and the 48 team dominating.
They did it again on Sunday. Don’t expect any apologies.
- Kevin Harvick was critical of his pit crew last week after the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. He drew the ire of some fans for speaking his mind but stood by his comments when asked about it later in the week. Harvick has reason again to be disappointed after another slow stop Sunday at Dover, this time a 20-second visit to his pit stall that included some loose lug nuts. Whether you agree with Harvick’s approach or not it’s clear something needs to be done about the No. 4 team’s pit road line-up either in the improvement department or perhaps with personnel changes. Harvick will not win a championship with the current work being done on pit road.
- Tony Stewart was the defending FedEx 400 race winner and although he really didn’t challenge for a second consecutive win, "Smoke" came home with a solid top-10 finish. While Harvick has been by far the best of the Stewart-Haas Racing bunch, Stewart has improved his performance in recent weeks while Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch continue to flail. The tired “Tony Stewart heats up in the summer months” cliché will no doubt be dusted off now that the calendar has turned to June. But the bottom line is for the first time in a while Stewart has been a featured player.
- Another week and more speculation about the future of Roush Fenway Racing. The garage was filled with talk about what current veterans Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle will do come season’s end as both have RFR contracts that expire this year. Neither driver nor RFR officials had any official comment but there seems to be some momentum to the scenario both drivers will depart and Edwards to Joe Gibbs Racing and Biffle to Michael Waltrip Racing are the leading rumors. Stay tuned for how the story churns next weekend in Pocono.
- Jamie McMurray was the unfortunate victim of a piece of concrete that come up from the track in turn two. The impact damaged McMurray’s Chevrolet and forced NASCAR to red flag the race for more than 20 minutes to repair the hole. McMurray and crew chief Keith Rodden asked NASCAR to allow repairs to take place on the No. 1 car during the red flag but were denied. It’s a consistent response that NASCAR has needed to implement before including at Martinsville in 2004 when Jeff Gordon had his day ruined by a chunk of the track slamming into his car. It’s bad luck plain and simple but not sure what can be done to avoid such a random act from happening.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.