While Johnson is only 16 points back in the Chase standings, a win will secure him a spot in the next round and with history on his side, you can expect to see Johnson racing near the front on Sunday.
Harvick was well out of contention mathematically to qualify for the Contenders round of the Chase, and needed nothing short of a win to advance. “I never really felt any pressure”, Harvick said.
Except, Busch and company squandered an excellent opportunity to end Harvick’s bid for a second straight title.
Earnhardt and McMurray actually raced each other on the track at Dover for the final transfer spot, with Earnhardt finishing third and McMurray right behind in fourth.
McMurray was sixth and Earnhardt eighth when drivers lined up for the final restart.
Following Dover, the four drivers with the lowest points totals and winless in the three-race Challenger Round will be eliminated from the postseason.
Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth had already earned berths in the next round with victories in the first two Chase races.
It was all so Kevin Harvick.
There were 14 lead changes among three drivers. and there were 8 cautions for 43 laps. That’s bad news for the field.
Kyle Busch, one point from the cutoff line prior to yesterday’s race, led 19 laps and finished runner-up to qualify for the next round.
The Sprint Cup Series has shifted to Dover this weekend for the first elimination race of the Chase. “Guys were minding their manners (with) a lot of green-flag runs and I knew we were in trouble”. But it will. Harvick drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, a customer/partner of Hendrick Motorsports. He returned with a vengeance, winning four races and launching himself into the Chase.
And defending champion Kevin Harvick will advance to chase another. “Obviously, we weren’t in a great position coming in to today”. “I’m just so proud of those guys and so proud of our fans and everybody for all their support all week”.
One more big moment eluded Johnson.
Johnson won at May in Dover for the latest of his 10 career wins on the mile concrete track.
Six-time series champion and fellow Team Chevy driver Jimmie Johnson was unexpectedly eliminated from the playoffs, after a torn axle seal forced him into the garage for 36 laps, so his team could fix his racecar.
“It’s tough having a very affordable axle seal be the culprit and take your championship hopes away”, Johnson said. It was just nice to have a fast vehicle and to have things goes smoothly today and honestly we’ve made mistakes and and that’s something that can’t do as a race team win a championship and it was night.
Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle came up short in his bid to become the fifth major leaguer to pitch 200 or more innings in 15 consecutive seasons.
Gordon finished 12th Sunday but, most importantly, advanced to the Contender Round in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Earnhardt climbed out of his auto and immediately walked over to McMurray and consoled one of his close friends.
To hear Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott Sadler talk, it’s mildly surprising the two friends haven’t combined for a formal competitive venture before now. “Our group is good at that”.