Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Chevrolet made history this Sunday in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway.
For Johnson this was his 11th career victory at the Monster Mile, and the 83rd of his career, a feat that ties Johnson with legendary NASCAR driver Cale Yarborough on the all time wins list. A likeness of Yarborough was on Johnson’s helmet for the race.
The seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion joins Richard Petty (Martinsville 15, North Wilkesboro 15, Richmond 13 and Rockingham 11) and Darrell Waltrip (Bristol 12, Martinsville 11) as the only drivers in NASCAR history to win 11 or more times at a single track.
The Monster Mile lived up to its name on Sunday. Several drivers had short days, as Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. suffered crippling damage from separate accidents and Ryan Blaney broke an axle and finished 33 laps down in 32nd.
Johnson, in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, led just seven of the race’s 406 laps, but was able to pass Larson on the final restart following a caution on Lap 398 for David Ragan’s accident in Turn 2. Larson, in the No. 42 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, led a race-high 241 laps.
With just more than 70 laps left in the final stage, Larson forfeited his lead after making a stop under green. He would finish the race in second place. “I feel like that’s as hard as I raced for the lead ever in Cup and almost got the win, so happy how the race went, just would like one spot better,” Larson said.
As for Johnson and his historic day, “We had to overcome quite a bit of adversity throughout the day, but still had a great car,” Johnson said.