Jimmie Johnson Ties Cale Yarborough On All-Time Wins List With Victory At Doverby Camille Jones June 4, 2017
DOVER, Del.– Jimmie Johnson tied Cale Yarborough for sixth on NASCAR’s all-time wins list after capturing his 83rd career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series during the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway.
Johnson honored Yarborough’s accomplishments with a special helmet paint scheme featuring the image of the Timmonsville, South Carolina native on the back. The driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet earned the historic career victory in his 556th start after having to start from the rear of the field due to a rear gear change before the event.
“Yeah, that’s such a great way to say it,” Johnson said about tying Yarborough. “I mean, I never thought I would end up here in NASCAR as a kid racing in the dirt out in Southern California. I was a big Cale Yarborough fan and 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 Cale Yarborough’s race shop. It was very disappointing. I had a burger and left and then understood the world of sponsorship.”
Johnson continued and said, “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.”
Johnson’s win became official after NASCAR deemed him the winner following a destructive crash after the field passed the Overtime Line in NASCAR Overtime.
It looked as though the win was sure to be going to Kyle Larson after he fought off a hard-charging Martin Truex Jr. early in the event and was able to hold off Jimmie Johnson in the closing laps; however, when the caution flag flew with four laps to go for David Ragan’s car in the wall, the field lined up for NASCAR Overtime. Larson was unable to get a good restart in his No. 42 Target Chevrolet and Johnson blew by him, driving off with the lead.
Johnson dominated as the field came around to the backstretch, reaching speedy-dry that was left on the track following the previous caution. Ty Dillon went for a spin and was unable to save it before Erik Jones plowed into the side of his car. The wreck collected many of the other competitors including, Jamie McMurray, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Newman and others.
Larson was able to hold on to finish second after leading 241 laps in the race that totaled 406 laps after NASCAR Overtime. He earned his eighth top-10 finish in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
“It was a good race for us,” said Larson. “Obviously I didn’t need that last caution. Yeah, I mean, Jimmie is the best of our time, probably the best of all time. He just has obviously a lot more experience than I do out 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.”
Martin Truex Jr. showed speed throughout the entire event, leading 102 laps in his Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota before claiming a third-place finish. Truex won both, Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the race.
“Definitely proud of our finish today,” Truex Jr. said following the race. “I thought we definitely had a shot at the win until that happened, and after that it was just, we were kind of playing catch‑up. At a place that’s really difficult to pass, we had to come from about 15th to get to third. Definitely proud of the run, proud of the effort and the car the guys brought here today. Wish we could have had a little better shot at it towards the end there, but all in all, third is a decent day with two stage wins.”
Ryan Newman was marked with a fourth-place finish, with Chase Elliott earning the final spot in the top-five. Daniel Suarez was sixth, Jamie McMurray was seventh, Denny Hamlin claimed eighth, Kevin Harvick finished in ninth, with Danica Patrick claiming the final top-10 spot with a tenth-place finish.
Saving tires became the name of the game early in the race. By halfway through the race, many drivers were running low on sets of tires, causing concern among teams as most eventually had to put on scuffed tires later in the race to save their new tires for the final stage. There were multiple tire failures throughout the race from drivers including Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Joey Logano, Regan Smith, Erik Jones and more.
There were 15 cautions for a total of 72 laps over the course of the race.
Martin Truex, Jr. now leads the points standings over Kyle Larson by just nine points.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to competition next weekend at Pocono Raceway for the Axalta Presents the Pocono 400. Race coverage will be found on Fox Sports 1 (FS1( and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) beginning at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 11.
Photo Credit: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images