Johnson a Dover dominator

May, 31, 2013
5/31/13
11:00
AM ET
Patrick McDermott/Getty ImagesThere's no clowning around for Jimmie Johnson at Dover, except in his post-race victory celebrations.
A cursory glance at recent Dover results makes it clear that Jimmie Johnson has owned the Monster Mile since the start of the 2009 season.

He’s won four of the eight races held on the concrete mile in that time, and led 1,681 out of a possible 3,200 laps. The next most laps led in that time belongs to Kyle Busch, with a scant 480.

The most recent of those eight wins came last June in this race (in which he donned the clown wig seen above), as Johnson led 289 of 400 laps and beat Kevin Harvick by two and a half seconds. With the win, Johnson tied NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Richard Petty for the Cup Series record with seven Dover wins.

It took Allison 26 starts to get his seventh win. Petty won his seventh Dover race in his 29th start. Johnson’s win last spring came in his 21st start.

NASCAR tracks overall driver rating, which encompasses several of their loop data categories to give an idea of a driver’s overall performance beyond just finishing position and laps led. The stat mirrors the NFL’s passer rating in that anything over 100 is good, and it runs on a 0-150 scale.

Since the start of the 2009 season, Johnson’s average driver rating at Dover is a 138.2, the highest of any driver at any track over the last five seasons.

In fact, looking at tracks that have hosted more than two Sprint Cup races over the last five seasons, Johnson’s Dover mark is the only average driver rating over 130. The next-best mark is road-racing ace Marcos Ambrose’s 126.5 mark at Watkins Glen.

Since 2009, among tracks with more than two races hosted, there have been only seven instances of a driver having an average driver rating over 120. Johnson is responsible for four of those (Dover, Chicago, Martinsville, California).

There may be no better single measure for judging a driver’s performance than by looking at the number of times he was the fastest driver on the track. In the last eight Dover races, Johnson was the fastest driver on 685 laps, three times more than any other driver in the field and more than 20 percent of the total green-flag laps in those races.

Johnson is no stranger to dominance at a track. He holds at least a share of the all-time Cup wins record at seven different tracks out of the 23 that make up the current Cup schedule, including being the outright wins leader on three of those tracks (California, Las Vegas, Phoenix).
Matt Willis has been a studio researcher at ESPN since 2006, working on "NASCAR Now" and "SportsCenter," among other shows. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with a degree in journalism. While there, he worked on ICTV, on shows such as "Ya Think You Know Sports?" and "Sports Final." He also was a member of the IC Comedy Club and figures about half of the jokes he makes in his column are actually funny.

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