Before some records can be broken, they first must be matched. In 2003, Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch set the record for the closest finish in NASCAR in the era of electronic timing. It was 2011 when that record was matched.
No one ever expected the mark set by Richard Petty of seven championships could ever be touched. Then Dale Earnhardt did it in 1994, and last year Jimmie Johnson entered the seven-title club.
For Johnson, there’s still records to be set, broken, or matched. On Sunday, he had the chance to do so, but do so the hard way.
A rear gear change meant at his favorite track, the No. 48 had to start shotgun, and work to the front.
There have been races at Dover where Johnson not only won, but flat out stunk up the place. There’s a reason he won here 10 times, more than any other driver. But, to do so from the back, and not try to dominate, that is the challenge.
But, when it came time to go beyond the scheduled distance, the timing could not be more perfect.
One strong restart, especially over one of the best restart drivers in the field, was enough to put him out front. An accident ultimately made sure his place was marked. With Cale Yarborough on the back of his helmet, Johnson went to victory lane, tying one of the greatest drivers to ever put on a helmet. In 2008, he tied his record of three-consecutive titles. A year later, he broke it.
Now, he’s in the same category as Yarborough, because his 83rd win came when he took another checkered flag at the “Monster Mile.” At this point, Miles himself is becoming Johnson’s own personal pet.
His win gave nearly half the field in the League a victory, including one earning the first win of the season. All but three earned top-10 runs, with one taking a massive tumble thanks to a pair of accidents. Let’s look at the new, and rather victorious, standings after the AAA 400 Drive for Autism:
Rob Tiongson (491) Jimmie Johnson WON –  7
Billy Fellin (440) Jimmie Johnson WON –  9
Misan Akuya (423) Jimmie Johnson WON –  14
Ashley Hull (418) Jimmie Johnson WON –  12
Ashley Hobbs (402) Kyle Busch finished 16th –  7
Penny Whitecotton (400) Kevin Harvick finished 9th –  1
Dustin Parks (396) Jimmie Johnson WON –  8
Dalton Hastings (392) Kurt Busch finished 37th –  3
Rob Blount (383) Kevin Harvick finished 9th –  1
Sal Sigala Jr. (378) Martin Truex Jr. finished 3rd –  9
Klarissa Mitchell (368) Kyle Busch finished 16th –  0
Patti Rodisch (371) Jimmie Johnson WON –  14
Ashley McCubbin (336) Martin Truex Jr. finished 3rd –  4
Next Race: The month of June has many unique opportunities for teams to race at many different speedways. It started with a beast that is a mile long, and concrete. Continuing with the challenging tracks on the circuit, next week’s stop is a challenge in that the track itself asks a question.
NASCAR’s only solar-powered track has drivers reading a question when they come to the exit of turn three. THe wall asks, “What turn four?”
It’s a trip to the mountains of Pennsylvania to make the first trip of the year to the Pocono Raceway, where once the drivers exit turn 3, they are already looking to the start/finish line to begin their next lap.
Writers, the week upcoming sees NASCAR head to the “Tricky Triangle,” but don’t pull any tricks here. You are to have your victory choices locked in by Thursday, June 8, at 10 p.m. ET for the Pocono 400.