April 27, 2018
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Johnson wins second straight, holds off Keselowski at Dover

By Amanda Vincent, The Sports Xchange

DOVER, Delaware — Jimmie Johnson held off a hard-charging Brad Keselowski in the final four laps of the FedEx 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Dover International Speedway on Sunday to go on to win his second-straight race on the season and the ninth of his career at Dover.

Keselowski finished second and Matt Kenseth, who restarted next to Johnson on the front row on the final restart, finished third.

Johnson dominated the race, leading seven different times and ran up front for nearly three quarters of the 400-lap distance. He took the race from Kyle Busch on lap 82. The only other drivers to lead throughout the remainder of the race were Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer.

Harvick took the lead from Johnson on a restart that followed a lap 134 caution. He continued to run up front until he suffered a tire issue on a restart following a caution on lap 158. As a result of the tire problem, Harvick went two laps down.

Kenseth ran up front until Johnson retook the lead on lap 178. Johnson then remained in the lead with the exception of a handful of laps ran under caution after the yellow flag waved with 40 laps to go. Bowyer stayed out while everyone else pitted to restart the race in the first position. But as soon as the race returned to green, Johnson retook the lead and didn’t look back.

The yellow flag waved one final time with eight laps remaining. The front-runners stayed out, putting Johnson and Kenseth on the front row for the restart and Keselowski on the second row in third. As soon as the race returned to green, Keselowski got by Kenseth for second but was unable to catch Johnson.

Keselowski started the race from the pole, but lost the lead to Busch on the first lap. Busch was then credited with leading the first 81 laps of the race before hitting the wall after contact with Bowyer while racing for third. His car sustained enough damage to retire him from the race.

The yellow flag waved a total of eight times, with two of those cautions progressing into race-halting red flags. The first red flag came on lap 135 for track clean-up after an incident involving the Roush Fenway Racing teammates of Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., along with A.J. Allmendinger, Landon Cassill and Ryan Truex. Biffle returned to the track 101 laps later to keep his streak of 84 races without a DNF (did not finish) alive.

The second red flag waved right after a lap 158 caution so that track officials could fill a pot hole in the racing surface after a chunk of concrete came out of the track and was hit by Jamie McMurray.

Bowyer finished the race in the fourth position, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five after overcoming a pit road speeding penalty during a caution on lap 66.

NOTES: Johnson has led more than 100 laps at Dover in 13 different races, including 10 out of the last 11. … With his laps led Sunday, Johnson surpassed the 2800 laps led at Dover, making him the track’s all-time laps leader. … Johnson’s win was the third-straight for Hendrick Motorsports, with Jeff Gordon winning before Johnson’s two most recent victories. … Johnson has now won back-to-back races 13 times in his Sprint Cup career. … Harvick’s 24 laps led Sunday exceeded his laps led total for all previous races at Dover. … Busch was going for a Dover sweep after winning the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series races earlier in the weekend.


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