Johnson's Dover win a bit hairy


DOVER, Del. - Jimmie Johnson was the mane man at Dover.

Wearing an afro clown wig - tufts of green, red, yellow and blue could be spotted from the stands - Johnson had to admit it was hard to take him seriously while he played the role of race jester.

Some guys just have all the fun.

That especially includes on this track.

Johnson romped again at Dover International Speedway, racing his way into the track's history books Sunday with his seventh win on the concrete, matching the mark held by Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison.

No active driver owns the track like the five-time Sprint Cup champion. Johnson led 289 of 400 laps and looked every bit like the driver who swept the two Cup races at Dover in 2002 and 2009. Johnson last won at Dover on Sept. 26, 2010. He also won the September 2005 race.

"God, I love this place," Johnson said as he took a victory spin.

Then it was off to goof around in Victory Lane. Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and other Hendrick Motorsports crew members wore the wacky wig seen in the talking-animal movie, "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted."

They had good reason to clown around. Throw in the All-Star race and that's a sweet four-race winning streak for NASCAR's top organization.

Johnson won at Darlington Raceway, and Kasey Kahne won the Coca Cola 600. Johnson also won the nonpoints All-Star race during that span as the No. 48 Chevrolet is heating up as he chases a sixth Cup championship.

Petty needed 46 races to win seven times, and Allison had 35 races. Johnson got to seven in his 21st start at the track known as the Monster Mile.

"You whipped 'em today," Knaus said over the radio.

Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five.

Johnson's win came about 390 miles after a massive 13-car accident ended weeks of mostly accident-free races and took out defending Cup champion Tony Stewart. Stewart eventually returned and finished 25th.

Points leader Greg Biffle was 11th and has a one-point lead in the standings over Kenseth heading into next week's race at Pocono Raceway.

Stewart, Landon Cassill and Regan Smith connected to trigger the multi-car crash. Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch (29th) also later were taken out of the race on separate incidents. Kurt Busch (engine) finished 24th.

■ INDYCAR -  At Detroit, Scott Dixon won IndyCar's Detroit Grand Prix in an event marred by poor track conditions that stopped the race for a little more than two hours.

A red flag halted the event 45 laps into a race that was scheduled for 90 laps and shortened to 60.

Belle Isle's 2.07-mile road course, which hadn't hosted a race since 2008, had chunks of asphalt and concrete missing. Pot holes and grooves that were recently filled with tar became exposed. Crews filled the gaps with epoxy that settled enough for the race to resume.

The sprint to the finish was stunted by a caution flag because light rain made a slick track even more slippery. Helio Castroneves spun out and finished 17th.

Dixon pulled away after the final restart on lap 55 for his first win of the season, almost two seconds in front of teammate Dario Franchitti. Simon Pagenaud finished third, followed by Will Power.

■ NHRA - At Englishtown, N.J., Steve Torrence raced to his second Top Fuel victory of the season, claiming the title at the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals.

Torrence edged Brandon Bernstein at the finish line in the final round. Torrence clocked 3.800 seconds at 323.66 mph, with Bernstein at 3.807 and 321.04.

Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won their divisions.

■ SCORE - At Ensenada, Mexico, Las Vegans Bryce Menzies and B.J. Baldwin finished 1-2 in the SCORE Baja 500 on Saturday, with Menzies winning by 11 seconds against his fellow Trophy Truck competitor.

It was Menzies' second consecutive win in the event, as he finished in 9 hours, 13 minutes, 39 seconds.

Las Vegan Kory Scheeler, also in the Trophy Truck class, was 10th overall.

 

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