Shocking: Johnson found speed at Dover

DOVER, DE - OCTOBER 01: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Apache Warrior 400 presented by Lucas Oil at Dover International Speedway on October 1, 2017 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

DOVER, Del. – Suffice it to say, Sunday’s run in the Apache Warrior 400 at Dover International Speedway was a major source of encouragement for Jimmie Johnson, who found enough speed to post his fourth top-five finish of the season and advance comfortably into the Round of 12 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff.

The seven-time series champion ran third behind race winner Kyle Busch and Hendrick motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, who came just over one lap short of taking the first checkered flag of his career.

“Yeah, we had a very competitive car today,” said Johnson, who fought his way forward from a 17th-place qualifying position. “The car was good. we just kind of fought track position and I wish I had done a better job on Friday (in qualifying) and got us up in front there sooner.

“It was so tough to pass… I think whoever came off pit road or had control of a restart was really in the catbird seat. But a great day for our Lowe’s Chevy. These banked tracks seem to suit us much better than a lot of the flat we saw during the summer. Usually, if you run well at Dover, you run well at Charlotte, so we are excited to go to next week as well.”