DOVER, Del. -- The leading rebounder in the Cup Series solidified his status in Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.
Lest any of his competitors happened to forget that Jimmie Johnson will be a factor in the Chase, Johnson gave them a smoky reminder Sunday afternoon as he rallied from last week's rocky start to the Chase at New Hampshire.
Moments after beating Jeff Burton to the checkered flag by a convincing 2.637 seconds on the 1-mile concrete oval, Johnson stirred up a cloud of smoke with a burnout on the Monster Mile's asphalt apron near the entrance to the garage.
As the drivers he beat rolled through the gate to the garage area, they had to pass through Johnson's smoky celebration. It wasn't exactly a case of "eat my dust," but it was close.
"Man, you are rubbing it into all these guys' faces here," crew chief Chad Knaus radioed to the driver, after Johnson completed the best-case rally from last week's 25th-place run.
Indeed. Johnson won the pole, led the most laps (191) and scored maximum points (195) as he vaulted four positions to second in the Cup standings, 35 points behind ninth-place finisher Denny Hamlin, who posted a respectable result at a track that has plagued him in past Chases.
"It's a huge weight off my shoulders that we were able to come here and win a race in the Chase, rebound from last week," said Johnson, who won for the sixth time this season, the sixth time at Dover and the third time in the past four races at the Monster Mile.
With 53 Cup victories, Johnson is 10th all time, one behind Lee Petty and two behind Rusty Wallace.