Dover International Speedway hosted a bit of NASCAR history Sunday in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism. Jimmie Johnson scored his 83rd career victory and tied Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time wins list. Starting from the last row due to a gear change, Johnson looked like a second-place car. Kyle Larson led 241 of the 400 laps around the Monster Mile. Larson had a comfortable lead and victory seemed certain. However, a caution with four laps remaining sent the race into overtime. On the restart, Johnson powered past Larson and took the lead. A major wreck behind the leaders brought out the yellow flag. Johnson crossed the overtime line before the caution, taking the win, while Larson finished second. Followed by Martin Truex Jr. in third.
For the second week in a row, Brad Keselowski found trouble early. After a restart on lap 65, Kurt Busch lost grip and slid up the track. Keselowski, running fourth at the time, had nowhere to go. He hit Busch’s car and slammed the outside wall. Thirty laps later Busch blew a left-rear tire and destroyed his car also. Another Ford contender, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., had trouble early and was the first car retired on the day. Stenhouse finished last in 39th. Keselowski finished 38th, with Busch in 37th. Playoff contenders Clint Bowyer and Ryan Blaney posted poor finishes as well. Bowyer ended in 31st, Blaney in 32nd.
Joey Logano pounded the wall halfway through Stage two but held on for a 25th place finish. Danica Patrick overcame a spin early in Stage two to post a 10th place finish. Kevin Harvick took the 9th spot. The highest finish by a Fusion on the afternoon.
Truex’s wins in Stage one and two allowed him to stretch is points lead slightly over Larson. Kevin Harvick moved into third, the highest Blue Oval representative. Keselowski dropped to seventh, with Bowyer 10th, and Logano 11th. Blaney and Stenhouse sit 13th and 14th respectively. With Kurt Busch holding down the final playoff spot in 16th. Trevor Bayne fell to 17th, four points behind Busch.
Kyle Busch started from the pole position and currently resides fourth in the standings. Busch left pit road early on the team’s first pitstop. Unfortunately, the left rear tire was not bolted on. Busch lost the tire just after exiting the pits. An air-gun set to loosen lugs instead of tightening them the culprit. It remains to be seen if the M&M’s team will face a penalty for the mishap.
Next week the series stops at Pocono before coming to Michigan the following weekend. The Lasco Press will be providing live on-site coverage from Michigan International Speedway. Look to The Lasco Press for complete coverage from MIS as the Ford teams try and get back on a positive track.