Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Jimmie Johnson favored for first time since last Dover race

Jimmie Johnson is the all-time best Dover has ever seen.
LAS VEGAS -- The last time Jimmie Johnson visited Dover International Speedway, he came in as the favorite and won on the 1-mile high-banked concrete layout for the 10th time in his career. That win on May 31 was his fourth of the season, which at the time was twice as many as anyone else had in the series. Johnson hasn't won or been favored since then – a span of 15 races – but the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has seen enough historical excellence to make him the favorite, at 4-to-1 odds, to win Sunday's AAA 400.

SuperBook manager Ed Salmons said that Kevin Harvick should probably be the favorite this week, but Johnson's dominance on the track combined with public demand forced the number.

"They (public) just fire on Johnson when he comes to Dover," Salmons said.

They usually win, too. One of the most amazing stats you'll see in NASCAR is Johnson's record at Dover, where he wins every 2.7 starts. That's 10 wins in 27 starts – absolutely incredible. And he started his mastery of the Monster Mile right out of the gate. NASCAR Nation saw how special Johnson was going to be when he swept the Dover season as a rookie in 2002. No one thought he'd win six Sprint Cups, though.

Johnson's recent Dover history has been even more amazing. He's won three of the past four races and seven of the last 13.

But how does Johnson's mastery translate to what we're currently seeing in the series? When Johnson last won a race, the four Toyotas in the Joe Gibbs Racing stable were just getting revved up to what we're witnessing right now – 10 wins in the past 13 races.

A Chevrolet hasn't won in the past 11 races, and the brand’s last win (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) came by the random nature of restrictor-plate racing at Daytona, where up to 38 drivers have a legitimate shot at finishing first. It's not so much that Chevrolet has completely fallen off the cliff, it's just that JGR and the Penske Racing Fords have gotten better – a lot better. The level these organizations have achieved is truly remarkable, especially considering how Chevy's Harvick started the year, when he had one of the highest driver ratings since Jeff Gordon during his magical 1998 season.

Read More Here....complete list of Dover odds from Westgate

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