Despite last year’s failure, Johnson likes his chances at Dover

Jimmie Johnson prepares to practice Friday at Dover. (Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson prepares to practice Friday at Dover. (Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson prepares to practice Friday at Dover. (Getty Images)

DOVER, Del. – On a rainy morning at Dover International Speedway, Jimmie Johnson was hopeful lightning wouldn’t strike twice—figuratively speaking, of course.

A year ago, in the third race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the failure of a rear-axle seal eliminated the six-time series champion from NASCAR’s 10-race playoff.

Never mind that Johnson has owned the Monster Mile with 10 victories in 29 starts. Last year’s 41st-place finish in the Chase race reminded the Dover dominator that freakish bad luck can strike at any time and dramatically change the course of a season.

But that doesn’t mitigate Johnson’s eagerness to reverse his 2015 ill fortune.

“I’m excited to be back to my best race track, without a doubt,” Johnson said on Friday morning at the one-mile concrete track. “I think last year shows that you really can’t count on a race track always being kind to a driver or always working in their favor.

“It’s part of racing. I’ve learned it through many different lessons over my racing career. Last year, I think, kind of showed everybody once again that you just can’t take a race or a track for granted for anybody. We’re back with high hopes.”

Currently eighth in the Chase standings, Johnson remains within striking distance of both Jamie McMurray and Austin Dillon, who are tied for the 13th position, 18 points behind the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet.

Nevertheless, Johnson should be able to advance to the Chase’s Round of 12 with a respectable finish in Sunday’s Citizen Soldier 400 (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.