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article imageNASCAR: Johnson's back-to-back wins putting him on a roll

By John Duarte     Jun 2, 2014 in Sports
Dover - One week after placing the first winner's decal of the season on his car, Jimmie Johnson mastered the “Monster Mile” to win the FedEx 400, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Dover, Delaware, on Sunday.
The six-time Sprint Cup champion proved that he is indeed the master of the Monster as he dominated the race all the way to his ninth win at Dover International Speedway. Johnson said the layout of the track lends itself to having a “car that's loose and turns very strong,' characteristics he enjoys.
“It just fits my style,” Johnson said. “The loading characteristics when you come off the straightaway and land down in the corner that fits me well. I notice that I make up a lot of time on people through that portion of the corner. The fact that I like a loose race car helps us stay fast for long runs, and those two things together work really well.”
The defending series champion showed he was the man to beat at the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. He led 272 of the race's final 319 miles, but admitted to being somewhat concerned when the caution flag flew with six laps to go.
“Cautions at the end, you can kind of expect them for whatever reason, and truthfully it's an opportunity for the guy that's dominated all day to make a mistake,” Johnson said. “So, I wanted to make sure I chose the right lane and got a good restart and got up through the gears well and that all worked for us.”
That mastery didn't go unnoticed by the guys trying to chase Johnson down. Brad Keselowski finished second in the race and Matt Kenseth was third. Kenseth said any race at Dover is almost a foregone conclusion before it even starts.
“(Johnson) is unbelievable here,” the third-place finisher said. “If you are going to have a shot to win here, that's the car you're going to have to beat unless they break.”
With two straight wins behind him, Johnson feels hopeful heading into the next few races at tracks he likes, including Pocono Raceway where he has won twice in the past and is the defending race champion.
“We've got some good tracks ahead of us,” Johnson said. “Now, we can get on a roll.”
A second-straight podium finish vaulted Kenseth past Jeff Gordon at the top of the points standings. Kenseth, though he leads the Sprint Cup standings by two points, has not won a race in 2014. NASCAR instituted a ranking system, for this season, which places more weight on individual race wins when it comes time to select the 16 drivers who will be in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. If there were to be 16 different winners heading into the final 10 races of the season, a driver could have the most points but he would not make the Chase if he had not won a race. There have been 10 different winners in the 13 Sprint Cup races to this point. Johnson joins Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano as the drivers with multiple wins this season and sits at the top of the Chase grid.
The Pocono 400 is the next event on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. The race goes at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, on June 8, 2014.
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