Time to End Jimmie's Slump?
The bad news for Jimmie Johnson? He's still riding a 33-race winless streak, the longest of his Cup Series career, and is on pace for the worst season of his career...for a 2nd straight season.
The good news? We're heading to Dover, where Johnson leads all drivers with 11 wins (4 more than anybody else), and has 8 more than any other active driver.
Chase Still Looking for a 1st
While Johnson is looking to return to victory lane, his Hendrick teammate Chase Elliott is looking to get there for the first time. Elliott finished 3rd at Talladega, his 2nd straight top-5 finish and 25th of his Cup Series career. However, none of those top-5 finishes are wins, but he has 8 2nds and 8 3rds.
Much like Johnson again, Elliott has exceled at Dover, scoring a top-5 finish in all 4 career races there. Only Richard Petty has started his Dover career with 5 straight top-5 finishes at the track. However, the other 4 drivers to have top-5 finishes in their first 4 Dover races all won at least once in those races.
Elliott could become the 3rd driver to get his first Cup Series win at Dover. One is the defending series champion, who dominated in his win. The other was Jody Ridley, who took advantage of 2 leaders blowing their engines, to lead the final 20 laps to get his only Cup Series victory.
Logano Looks for 20
Last week at Talladega, Joey Logano snapped his 36-race win streak and locked himself into the playoffs. It was also his 19th career win. Although Logano went 364 days between wins, he could still potentially be just the 6th driver in series history to pick up his 20th career win before turning 30. 27-year-old Logano won't turn 28 until later this month, so he has plenty of time to pick up that victory.
Logano was born in May 1990. He's 1 of 6 drivers born in the 1990s to win races. He has 19 career wins. The other 5 have 10 combined wins.
Sadler Nears Points Leader Record
Elliott Sadler enters Dover as the XFINITY Series points leader, the 6th straight race he's entered as the points leader. Overall, Elliott Sadler has led the points after 75 races in his XFINITY Series career, but he's never won the championship. He's only 1 race away from tying Jack Ingram's series record for most races as points leader.
Sadler finished 2nd in points in 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017. He's also the only driver with 4 runner-up finishes in points without winning a title.
Variety Exists in XFINITY Series
With Spencer Gallagher's upset win last week at Talladega, we're up to 9 winners in 9 XFINITY Series races this season. Not since 1988 has there been 10 different winners in the first 10 races of a season, when there was a record 13 different race winners to start the season. Among this season's winners, only Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell will be in Saturday's field.
(note: Gallagher won last week, but was suspended Tuesday for violating NASCAR's substance abuse policy. Due to the race(s) he'll miss, he will not be playoff eligible despite the win).
Who's Hot and Who's Not - Dover
• Jimmie Johnson: defending race winner; 11 Dover wins are the most by an active driver at any track
• Chase Elliott: never finished outside top 5 at Dover (only Richard Petty had top-5 finish in 1st 5 career Dover starts)
• Martin Truex Jr.: 3 straight top-5 finishes at Dover (won 2016 fall race); 11th or better in last 8 Dover races
• Kyle Larson: led 378 of possible 806 laps (47%) at Dover last season (finished 2nd and 5th in races)
• Joey Logano: leads series with 9 top-10 finishes in 10 races this season; 9 top-10 finishes in final 27 races last season
• Kyle Busch: finished outside top 15 in last 4 spring races at Dover (wrecked out of 3 races); finished top-2 in last 3 fall races at Dover
• Kurt Busch: 1 top-10 finish in 12 Dover races since winning 2011 playoff race
• Clint Bowyer: 2 top-5 finishes (none better than 4th) in 24 career starts at Dover
• William Byron: finished no better than 10th in first 10 career Cup Series starts
• Erik Jones: finished 26th, 13th, 39th in last 3 races after having top 10s in 4 of previous 5 races
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