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Seventh heaven for Johnson at Dover

7:04 PM, Jun 3, 2012   |    comments
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Dover, DE (Sports Network) - Jimmie Johnson claimed his seventh win at Dover International Speedway with a dominating performance in Sunday's FedEx 400, a race that featured a big crash in the opening laps.

Johnson led 289 laps, including the final 76, in the 400-lap race. He crossed the finish line 2.6 seconds ahead of Kevin Harvick to place him in a tie with NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison for most all-time wins at this one-mile, concrete-surfaced racetrack.

The five-time Sprint Cup Series champion also claimed his second win of the season and the 57th of his career.

"This was a team effort," Johnson said. "Obviously, I had an amazing Lowe's Chevrolet to drive today."

A Hendrick Motorsports driver has won the last four Sprint Cup races. Last month, Johnson claimed his first win of the season at Darlington and then took the checkered flag for the all-star event at Charlotte. Kasey Kahne won the 600-mile race at Charlotte last weekend.

Matt Kenseth finished third, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five.

The 12-car wreck -- the biggest one this season so far -- occurred on lap nine when defending series champion Tony Stewart made contact with Landon Cassill coming out of turn two and then both drivers spun around. Regan Smith, who was running right behind Stewart, also spun, which triggered the melee on the backstretch.

"I didn't actually feel (Stewart) touch me," Cassill said. "Tony is one of the most patient drivers, especially in this part of the race...He's one of the best. It's just too bad it tore up that many race cars."

NASCAR stopped the race for 20 minutes to remove several damaged cars that clogged the backstretch. There were no injuries in the incident.

Stewart returned to the track later but finished 69 laps behind in 25th.

"The No. 83 (Cassill) was trying to get back down to the bottom, and we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Stewart said. "It wasn't Regan's fault. He was right behind me and didn't have anywhere to go either. So it's just not a real good deal at the beginning of the race like this."

Smith also came back onto the track, while Cassill's car was damaged beyond repair.

"I got into the back of the No. 14 (Stewart) and started the whole thing," Smith said. "I will take full blame for that. Somehow they got checked up in front of me. I just didn't have time to get slowed up with it."

Despite an 11th-place finish, Greg Biffle remained atop the point standings. Biffle's advantage is only one point over his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Kenseth. Earnhardt Jr. is 10 markers behind.

 

The Sports Network

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