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article imageNASCAR: Johnson 'almost in shock' after 10th 'Monster Mile' win

By John Duarte     Jun 1, 2015 in Sports
Dover - Jimmie Johnson made history on Sunday by getting his 10th win at Dover International Speedway and took his place alongside some of the biggest names in NASCAR history.
The victory places Johnson among NASCAR elite. He joins only four other drivers — Richard Petty, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Sr. — who had completed such an accomplishment in NASCAR history. Despite being part of a group that includes legends of the sport, Johnson almost appears embarrassed to be held in that company.
“Man. I really don't think about those things. I'm almost in shock that we're there. I mean, 74 race wins, 10 here, I mean, you can't dream that big,” he said. “I'm just blown away and honoured by the success.”
Unlike his most of his previous wins at Dover International Speedway, Johnson was not dominant at the Monster Mile this time around. In fact, he led only 23 of the race total 405 laps. But Johnson didn't lead the field until Lap 383, after he passed eventual runner-up Kevin Harvick on a re-start.
“It all came together for us very late in the race,” said. Johnson. “But once we had our opportunity, we took advantage of it.”
Johnson and Harvick battled the rest of the way in the race, right up to the green-white-checker finish that had taken the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks five laps beyond the scheduled distance. Johnson, who had started 14th on the grid admitted that he would have been happy with a Top 5 finish in the race.
“I think that any of the top five cars had a chance to win today,” he said. “It was a hard-fought day. I mean, to run second today, those guys, their tongues hanging out just as much as mine is. Second to fifth really drove the wheels off their cars today.”
Harvick said finishing behind Johnson is just something almost expected when Sprint Cup racing comes to Dover.
“This is such a good track for them. They had everything line up for them and had a good car, and they had a good car in practice and were able to make it happen there at the end,” Harvick said. “He's just that good here.”
As foe his own race, the defending Sprint Cup Series champion said restarts were his nemesis all day and that kind of defined the race, but he was happy with another Top 3 finish.
“We just struggled at the end of the race on restarts, really all day on restarts,” Harvick said. “I think when you look at Dover, it's been a good racetrack for us. We've led laps and just haven't quite finished it yet, but (it was) a good, solid day.”
It was the ninth time in13 races this season that Harvick has placed second or better.
Finishing third in the race was Kyle Larson, who said it was just another hot race in Delaware.
“It was definitely hot there at the end. Maybe because I was working harder in there from the car not driving the way I wanted it to,” Larson said. All in all, it probably wasn't the hottest race I've had in a stock car, but it's always hot when you come to Dover.”
The win on Sunday vaults Johnson into third place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver standings. Harvick continues to lead the pack with a 44-point gap over Martin Truex Jr. Johnson sits third, in a tie with Joey Logano, 76 points behind the leader.
After the Monster Mile, the next stop on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule is the Tricky Triangle. The Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 goes at Pocono Raceway on June 7, 2015.
More about Nascar, Sprint cup series, Jimmie Johnson, kevin harvick, dover international speedway
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