Monster Milestone Win for Johnson

Jimmie Johnson

"To be here and tie him (Yarborough) at 83 wins is amazing" (Photo: Getty Images)

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Jimmie Johnson tied NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough on the all-time win list when he took the checkered flag for the 83rd time in his career in Sunday's AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway.

Johnson got by Kyle Larson on a green-white-checkered restart and was out front at the overtime line as a multi-car crash broke out behind him. He took the win under caution, marking the 11th time he's gone to Victory Lane at "The Monster Mile."

The win is special to Johnson because he was a fan of Yarborough growing up and he even was wearing a special helmet design with images of Yarborough on it. Once he climbed out of the car, Johnson sported a vintage-Yarborough No. 28 Hardee's hat for the celebration.

"I never thought I'd end up here in NASCAR as a kid racing in the dirt in Southern California," Johnson said. "I remember going to a race in Oklahoma with my parents and my brother. We were driving across the country and we pulled up to a Hardee’s. I had no idea it was a burger stand and I really thought when I walked in the door, I was going to see Cale Yarborough’s race shop. It was very disappointing. I had a burger and left, and then understood the world of sponsorship.

"To be here and tie him at 83 wins is amazing. We just got the tribute helmet. I wasn’t sure how quickly we’d be, or if we’d, be able to go there and get it done. But Cale, you’re the man. Thank you for all you have done for our sport."

Although he was credited with a 14th-place starting spot, Johnson had to come from the rear of the field to score the win after the team changed the rear gear following the final practice session.

Larson, who won Saturday's Xfinity Series race, dominated Sunday - leading 241 laps. He passed Ty Dillon with 40 laps to go and had a good-sized lead until a caution flew with three laps to go when David Ragan hit the wall in Turn 2.

"I didn't need that last caution," Larson said after posting his fifth runner-up finish of the season. "Jimmie is the best of our time, probably the best of all time. He has a lot more experience than I do on the front row late in races and executed a lot better than I did. I've got to get better at that and maybe get some more wins." (Read More)

Martin Truex Jr. finished third after leading 102 laps. Truex got caught behind when he was forced to take the wave-around on a lap-331 caution after previously making a pit stop under green on lap 326. Truex pitted again on lap 345 under caution and had the freshest tires among the leaders but couldn’t get back to the front.

"Definitely proud of our finish," Truex said. "At a place that's difficult to pass, we had to come from about 15th to get to third." (Read More)

Ryan Newman, who - along with Johnson and six other drivers - did not pit under green prior to the lap-331 caution, finished fourth. Chase Elliott rebounded from a speeding penalty on pit road on lap 49 to finish fifth.

Daniel Suarez, Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick completed the top 10.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

How Johnson Won: After starting at the back of the field due to a rear-gear change, Johnson quickly made his way to the front of the field, making 60 green flag passes during the race. He was able to take advantage of two late-race cautions, but none more important than the last one when he got by Larson on a green-white-checkered finish before the race ended under caution.

Who Had a Good Day: Larson’s laps led total is a personal best in one race in 124 career starts…Despite getting caught with the caution, Truex won stage 1 and 2 and now has eight stage wins this season...Newman recorded his second top five of the season since winning at Phoenix in March...Elliott's finish was his third top five in three Dover starts...Suarez was the top finishing rookie with a career-best finish (Read More)...Patrick finished in the top 10 for the first time since Bristol in April 2015.

Who Had a Bad Day: Kyle Busch, who led the opening 18 laps from the pole, had a disastrous pit stop under the first caution when the crew did not get the left-rear tire on the car before the jack dropped. Once Busch exited the pits the tire rolled off the car. He was able to nurse his car around the track where the team placed a new tire on his Toyota. The team could face a penalty this week for the mistake, per the NASCAR Rule Book (See Also: NASCAR Reviewing Loose Wheels)....Kurt Busch got loose underneath leader Larson on a restart on lap 66 and made contact with Brad Keselowski. The contact sent Keselowski into the wall hard and to the garage. It was second consecutive week Keselowski exited the race early. (Read More) Busch got back on the race track but ended up in the garage after he backed his already damaged No. 41 Ford into the wall on lap 93 when he tried to limp it to the next stop with a vibration....Clint Bowyer had his streak of 11 straight top-15 finishes come to an end when he was forced to the garage for repairs for a mechanical issue. He finished 31st, 15 laps down...A drive-train failure for the second straight race relegated Ryan Blaney to a 32nd-place finish. Prior to the issue, Blaney scored points in both stages...Paul Menard finished 33rd when he was sent to the garage with damage after contact from Chris Buescher on lap 343. Both drivers were running in the top 10 at the time of the incident...Ricky Stenhouse Jr. stayed out on the first caution and 30 laps later had a right-front tire go down, which resulted in contact with the wall. Stenhouse, who was running third at the time of impact, made it back on track after repairs but brought out the third caution on lap 57 when he made contact with the wall after the right-front went down again. Stenhouse went to the garage and finished 39th.

Quotable: "To my 83 wins, I’m just so proud that it’s come with one owner, one sponsor, one manufacturer, one crew chief, one team, this is a very special journey this whole Hendrick Lowe’s team has been on.” - Jimmie Johnson

Notables: Johnson's win was his series leading third of the season...Larson posted a 3.0 average running position in the race...Truex, who leads Larson in the standings by nine points, now has earned 177 points in stage 1 and 2 this season with Larson in second with 159...Chase Elliott earned stage points for the first time since Texas in April...After earning his first stage points last weekend, Suarez now has scored stage points for a second consecutive race...Ty Dillon, who finished 14th, led a career-high 27 laps late in the race and was part of the race-ending crash while running up front...The Hardee's Racing Team hat Johnson was wearing in Victory Lane is from the Ranier Racing Museum and the team has had it since winning at Bristol.

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