You could see JJ's dominance coming

June, 5, 2012

For last Thursday's blog, I wrote that we were in line for a dominant Jimmie Johnson day and that Dover was the best of Johnson's tracks.


Actually, I can't claim any clairvoyant tendencies. Johnson's strength and Hendrick's red-hot streak (more on that later) made my job analyzing stats that much easier.

But now let's do some postrace analysis. You don't pay me just for prerace analysis.

Johnson led a whopping 289 laps in the win, the second time he's led that many laps in a Dover race. He entered the race eighth on the all-time Dover laps led list, and was third by the time the race was done.

In all, Johnson led more than 72 percent of the laps run Sunday. This is just the second time in the past two seasons that a driver led more than 70 percent of the laps in a race. The other was Johnson last year in the Kansas Chase race.

Digging deeper, Johnson put up an oh-so-close-to-perfect 149.8 driver rating (perfect is 150). That's the highest driver rating in a race over the past two seasons and the best at Dover since Johnson himself was perfect three years ago.

Oh yeah, and he picked up his seventh career Dover win, tying him with Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison for the most in track history.

Trivia break: Who is first, with Johnson second, for most laps led per race at Dover all-time?

Hendrick stays hot

Make it three straight points wins and five straight event wins (counting the All-Star Race and Showdown) for Hendrick Motorsports.

Over the past seven races, nobody has more points than Kasey Kahne, the only driver with a top-10 in each race. Third on that list is Jimmie Johnson, and fifth is Dale Earnhardt Jr., who leads the series with nine top-10 finishes this season.

Not pictured is Jeff Gordon, who remains outside the top 20 in points, but isn't as slow as you'd think.

This season, three Hendrick drivers are 1-2-3 in fastest laps run -- simply how many times they've been the fastest driver on the track on a lap -- with Gordon second behind Johnson and Kahne third.

And he didn't accumulate all the laps in a single race, either. He was fastest on 98 laps at Dover, 86 at Martinsville and 35 at Texas.

Trivia break: Who ranks fourth in fastest laps run this season?

The end of wreck-less racing?

In true Dover fashion, we had a massive wreck early on.

There were 12 cars involved in all, making it the biggest accident (in terms of cars involved) this season, bigger than in both restrictor-plate races. In races at intermediate tracks this season, we hadn't had more than a three-car wreck prior to Dover.

Dating back to 1990, this is the fourth biggest wreck we've seen at Dover, and the largest since a 19-car pileup in the spring 2004 race.

Trivia break: We're now at a Cup record with 30 straight races not won by the polesitter. Who is the last polesitter to win?

Trivia break answers

1. David Pearson led 128 laps per Dover start, the only driver ahead of Johnson's 108.

2. Matt Kenseth is second this season in fastest laps run.

3. Ryan Newman is the last polesitter to win, last July at New Hampshire.

Matt Willis | email

ESPN Staff Writer
Matt Willis has been a studio researcher at ESPN since 2006, working on "NASCAR Now" and "SportsCenter," among other shows. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with a degree in journalism. While there, he worked on ICTV, on shows such as "Ya Think You Know Sports?" and "Sports Final." He also was a member of the IC Comedy Club and figures about half of the jokes he makes in his column are actually funny.



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