Jimmie Johnson wins at Dover, big wreck during overtime finish

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Jimmie Johnson outran Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. on an overtime restart and was declared the winner of the Cup race at Dover International Speedway after a large wreck unfolded on the backstretch.

It’s Johnson’s third win of the year and his 83rd Cup win, tying him with childhood hero Cale Yarborough.

“I never thought I would end up here in NASCAR as a kid racing out in the dirt out in Southern California,” Johnson told Fox Sports 1. “To be here to tie him at 83 wins … Cale, you’re the man. Thank you for all that you’ve done for the sport. … This is an amazing day.”

Johnson finished his Victory Lane interview by donning a vintage Cale Yarborough racing hat.

The win comes after Johnson had to start the day in last for a gear change.

“The conditions were really tough today,” Johnson said. “I think everybody struggled with balance, corner entry was very uncomfortable for the cars. Mine was decent. Once I got to the top two or three I just couldn’t charge the corner hard enough to catch anybody and put a competitive pass on them. I got the restart of my life there at the end. I was able to just beat the (Larson) through (Turns) 1 and 2 and I guess make it to that line on the back straightaway before the yellow came out.”

Johnson started second on the overtime restart and had completed the pass of Kyle Larson by Turn 1. Johnson had crossed the overtime line when the nine-car wreck began halfway down the backstretch.

Involved in the crash were:  Jamie McMurray, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Newman, Cole Whitt and Erik Jones.

Filling out the top five were Larson, Truex, Newman and Chase Elliott.

Johnson’s win is his 11th at Dover International Speedway.

Stage 1 winner: Martin Truex Jr.

Stage 2 winner: Truex

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Rookie Ty Dillon led 27 laps late in the race after beating Johnson and Ryan Newman out of the pits in the middle of the final stage. He placed 14th … Danica Patrick finished 10th for her best result this year and her first top 10 since the April 2015 race at Bristol  … A week after his Coke 600 win, Austin Dillon finished 12th … Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 11th for his third best result of the year … Chase Elliott’s finish in fifth is his best result in five races. He placed 24th or worse in four straight races.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Pole-sitter Kyle Busch lost a tire on his first pit stop and restarted from the rear from the field. After driving back to the top five, a loose tire forced him to pit. He finished 16th … Right-front tires: the loss of this tire caused accidents or problems for Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Joey Logano, Landon Cassill, Regan Smith, David Ragan and Erik Jones … Ryan Blaney finished 32nd after he broke an axle during his pit stop at the end of Stage 2. That’s the second time it’s happened to Blaney this season … Brad Keselowski wrecked out for his third DNF of year and second in a row … Kurt Busch wrecked out with his first DNF since Martinsville.

NOTABLE: Kyle Larson has finished second five times this year. He has three top fives and five top 10s in seven Dover starts … Johnson joins Richard Petty (four tracks) and Darrell Waltrip (two tracks) as the third driver to win more than 10 times on a single track.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He did a good job. He’s a seven-time champion for a reason. He’s got a golden horseshoe somewhere; and he’s really good at executing. So, I’ve just got to get better at that.” – Kyle Larson after finishing second to Jimmie Johnson.

WHAT’S NEXT: Axalta Presents the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway, 3 p.m. ET on June 11 on Fox Sports 1.

 

Staff picks for today’s Cup race at Kansas Speedway

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Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at Kansas Speedway.

Nate Ryan

Kevin Harvick. His first oval win since Kansas Speedway a year ago validates the team’s 1.5-mile speed in the playoffs.

Dustin Long

Kyle Busch. Mark it down, he wins and advances to the next round to continue his quest for a second title.

Daniel McFadin

Martin Truex Jr. keeps his foot on the throat of the competition and gets his sixth win of the year at a 1.5-mile track.

Jerry Bonkowski

Kyle Larson is starting 13th but expect him to get to the top five within the first 20-30 laps. He needs a strong run to give him momentum heading into the Round of 8 and he gets it Sunday.

Furniture Row Racing crew member dies of heart attack

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KANSAS CITY, Kansas – James “Jim” Watson, a fabricator for Furniture Row Racing, died Saturday night after suffering a heart attack, the team stated Sunday morning. Watson was 55.

A native of Greenfield, Wisconsin, Watson had been a member of Furniture Row Racing since February. He worked for Roush Fenway Racing from 2006-15 and spent last season with HScott Motorsports. He was a long-time racer, competing in dirt late models and asphalt super late models throughout Southeast Wisconsin.

Watson was with the team this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

He is survived by wife Laurie and daughter Brittany.

“On behalf of Furniture Row Racing we extend our deepest sympathies to Jim’s family,” said Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing. “He was an outstanding and talented member of our racing family, whose life was dedicated to racing since his early days as a race-car driver in Wisconsin. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim’s wife Laurie, daughter Brittany and to his entire family and friends. Our No. 77 and 78 teams will be racing with heavy hearts today.”

Ryan Blaney ready to prove doubters wrong

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KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Ryan Blaney has a bit of a chip on his shoulder this weekend.

The 23-year-old driver for the Wood Brothers seeks to hold off three former champions today at Kansas Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) for a spot in the next round of the Cup playoffs.

Even though former champions Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth trail Blaney in the points, some say Blaney won’t hold them off and advance to the Round of 8.

“I’ve heard that all week that we don’t really deserve to be here, so that kind of ticked me off a little bit,’’ Blaney said Friday after qualifying.

“They just say we’ve been kind of overachieving or they didn’t expect us to be here. Those little things kind of make you a little bit irritated because our guys do just as good a job as anybody. They deserve to be here. They work their tails off like anybody else. Hopefully, we can prove that Sunday.’’

MORE: Wood Brothers lifeline started with a phone call

Blaney’s job, though, will be more difficult. He will start last in the 40-car field because his car failed inspection after qualifying. Kenseth (third), Busch (seventh) and Johnson (13th) all start in the top 15 and should be able to work their way into the top 10 to score stage points by Lap 80 when the first stage ends. Blaney will be challenged to do so and could see his advantage on each shrink. 

There’s hope for Blaney because he posted the fastest lap in Saturday’s final Cup practice. But he ranked ninth in average over 10 consecutive laps — behind Busch and Kenseth.

“There’s definitely things we can improve on,’’ Blaney said after placing third in Saturday’s Xfinity race. “(In the Cup race) everyone is going to be kind of married to the wall pretty early in a run. It might be hard to pass. Hopefully, we can work the bottom. I think the Cup cars might wear the top out, might over-rubber it where we have to move down a little bit.’’

With starting in the rear of the field, changing weather conditions (the wind is not expected to be as prevalent today as Saturday) and facing an elimination race, it would be easy for the pressure build on a driver and team.

“I really don’t feel that it’s a different weekend,’’ he said, alluding to the battle for the final playoff spots. “More people are paying attention to it because it’s a big deal. There’s four cars pretty much going for two spots. We try to approach it as any other weekend. It will be more challenging coming from the back.’’

Along with starting at the rear for the penalty, Blaney’s team had to pick last for pit stalls for failing inspection after qualifying.

His team would have had the third pick and he would have had an opening either before or after his stall, making it easier to either enter or exit. Now, he’ll be sandwiched between Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Provided both stay on the lead lap, Blaney could face challenges squeezing into his stall throughout the race.

“It doesn’t help our situation for sure,’’ Blaney said. “Those are two good cars. We’ll kind of be pitched between them all day. Dale actually sent me a text. Teams work well with each other about that. That will be tough for us. That will be another challenge.’’

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Today’s Cup race at Kansas: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

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It’s once again elimination time in the NASCAR Cup Series.

The playoff field will be cut from 12 to eight drivers following today’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. will be looking to earn his sixth win on a 1.5-mile track this year. He won the last visit to Kansas Speedway in May.

Here’s all the important info you need ahead of the race, which will air on NBCSN.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Jay Hernandez will give the command to start engines at 3:07 p.m. Green flag is scheduled for 3:16 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 267 laps (400 miles) around the 1.5-mile oval.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 80. Stage 2 ends at Lap 160.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 30

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 9:30 a.m. Driver-crew chief meeting is at 1 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:20 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Angie Rosner will perform the anthem at 3:01 p.m..

TV/RADIO:  NBCSN will broadcast the race at 3 p.m. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. on NBCSN with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 2:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race on radio and at mrn.com, starting with its pre-race show at 2 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 67 degrees and no chance of rain at race time.

LAST TIME: Martin Truex Jr. led the final 19 laps to win in May. He beat Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. Harvick is the defending winner of this race. He beat Carl Edwards and Joey Logano last October.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup