Dover International Speedway

Dover Dominance: Johnson wins, tightens NASCAR Chase battle

“I think Jimmie is probably the most underrated champion we have in this industry. He is by far the most powerful driver over the course of the last 25, 35 years in this sport.”

Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus is not known for his use of hyperbole. Knaus is thoughtful, measured and well-spoken when interacting with the media. And the man’s a genius at his trade: making cars go fast.

So when the champion crew chief heaps that sort of praise on a driver — even if it’s his own — people have a tendency to stop, look and listen.

Will Dover throw curve at NASCAR's Chase favorites?

1. Jimmie Johnson has to be the early favorite
There were two surprising events for Jimmie Johnson during the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Dover International Speedway in June. But it was the second one that bit harder.

First, Johnson turned in his worst qualifying performance at Dover since 2007 when his lap of 155.206 mph left him nearly a half-second off of Denny Hamlin’s pole-winning pace and starting the 400-mile race in 24th. It ultimately didn’t matter; Johnson took the lead just after the race’s halfway point.

NASCAR Numbers Game: Free agents look to make splash in Dover

Mark Martin has competed in 875 races at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series level. He won 40 of those. He turns 55 years old in 2014 and while his seemingly endless production has provided multiple teams — the now-defunct Ginn Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Michael Waltrip Racing and, now, Stewart-Haas Racing — with value, his Production in Equal Equipment Rating (PEER) this season stands at a replacement-level 0.643, the worst season-long mark of his 30-year career.

Is it over? Has the value diminished?

Kurt Busch Wins Dover

Busch, Jimmie Johnson tighten NASCAR's Chase standings

by Matt Taliaferro

Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson entered Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway ranked ninth and 10th in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup — in 28- and 29-point holes. Many were already throwing dirt on Johnson’s bid for a sixth straight championship, while Busch was merely an afterthought in the title hunt.

That all changed in the Chase’s third race.

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<p> Kurt Busch ran away from Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards late in the AAA 400 to win at Dover International Speedway.</p>