DOVER, DE — official release — Drew Hallowell/Getty Images North America photo — No active driver has even come close to experiencing the success Jimmie Johnson has had at Dover International Speedway.
The No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet pilot heads into Sunday’s AAA 400 at the Monster Mile (2 p.m. ET on ESPN) looking to add to his course record of nine wins, five more than the next highest active driver, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon. In 25 starts at the track, Johnson also owns 13 top fives, 18 top 10s and an average finish of 8.4.
Winner of the last two races at Dover, Johnson will attempt to join David Pearson, Rusty Wallace and Gordon as the fourth driver to notch three consecutive victories at the one-mile concrete oval. He will also try to sweep the track for the first time since 2009 when he achieved the feat on the way to his fourth of six NASCAR Sprint Cup titles.
With the attention focused on Team Penske lately, Johnson has floated under the radar. The defending Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion quietly sits in fourth on the Chase Grid following a 12th-place finish at Chicagoland and a fifth-place showing at Loudon.
After a month-long, five-race summer swoon when he finished worse than 38th three times and failed to register a showing better than 14th, Johnson has logged five top 10s in his last six starts.
“My favorite track in the Chase would be Dover,” Johnson said. “It’s just the closest track to my roots. You’re kind of airborne into Turn 1, airborne into Turn 3. It’s a very intense track. It takes a lot of throttle control to work the corners right and produce a fast lap time. Dover’s my track.”