Dover recap: Johnson wins, Martin and Gordon in top 10
DOVER, Del. (Sept. 27, 2009) – While Jimmie Johnson dominated “The Monster Mile” on Sunday, his teammate Mark Martin left with a second-place finish and a 10-point lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Johnson won the 400-mile event from the pole position and remains second in the championship standings. He led a race-high 271 laps to conquer Dover’s concrete oval for a second time this season and pick up his 15th victory in the six-year-old Chase.
“We came in here after winning in the spring wanting to do really well,” said Chad Knaus, crew chief of the No. 48 team. “We brought a different race car; a car that we thought was going to be better than we had in the spring. Man, I am glad it worked cause I would have looked pretty dumb if it hadn’t. It is a really neat thing we have got going on at Hendrick Motorsports with Mark (Martin) finishing second, congrats to those guys and Alan Gustafson (crew chief for Martin, No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Impala SS). They are great competitors and a lot of fun to race against.”
With his runner-up performance, Martin clings to a 10-point lead in the standings. Martin climbed from his 14th starting spot and battled through some rough restarts to follow Johnson across the finish line.
“We had a good-handling car on the long run, but it was a handful on the restarts,” Martin said afterward. “Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and the Kellogg’s/CARQUEST team did a great job. We did really well by finishing second.”
Jeff Gordon crossed the finish line sixth in his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet to join his Hendrick Motorsports teammates in the top 10. Gordon improves two spots in the standings to eighth, but left Dover disappointed.
“I feel like we had a second-place car and when you have a second-place car you’ve got to finish second or contend for the win,” Gordon said. “We had a problem with a gun on pit road, and I don’t know what you do about that but we’ll try to fix it for the next time. It’s just nice to run good. The No. 48 was in a league of their own, but I felt like we were second best.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. improved from his 24th starting spot to finish 20th in his No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet.