NASCAR At Dover 2012: Jimmie Johnson Expected To Dominate AAA 400

As the NASCAR circuit prepares for its annual fall stop at Dover International Speedway, there is one guy everyone in the Sprint Cup Series garage recognizes as the favorite: Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson has a good reason for that reputation. He's won four of the past seven Dover events, and his seven victories overall has him tied with Richard Petty and Bobby Allison for most-ever on the one-mile oval.

When asked Friday about what makes him formidable at Dover, Johnson had an interesting answer as to why he likes the high-banked track nicknamed the "Monster Mile."

"Out of all the oval tracks we race on, this one is most similar to my off-road background," Johnson said. "The drop-off into the corner, the way the rubber lays down and you have to select a different line through the turn reminds me of dirt racing. And then you have to climb back up that hill and jump back onto the straightaway and then go do it again and again and again."

When asked his feelings about others putting the bullseye on his back, Johnson acknowledged "we all look at other drivers and where they excel and you know that you're going to have to deal with them" – seemingly relishing his role as the man to beat.

This marks the second straight race where a driver enters the weekend as the heavy favorite. Last week at New Hampshire, it was Denny Hamlin who everyone pegged as the driver to beat. And despite a setback in qualifying, Hamlin fulfilled those expectations, leading a race-high 193 laps and cruising to his fifth win of the year.

But just because a driver is historically great at a particular track – like Hamlin at New Hampshire or Johnson at Dover – it doesn't guarantee he will dominate each and every time out. According to Johnson, it's pretty easy to determine whether a driver will be stout.

"Last week was a good example, as we knew going in based off of the spring race that Denny was going to be the car to beat and they did that," Johnson said. "We all look through stats, but I'm not sure a long history plays into things – but certainly a spring race is one you pay attention to."

Using Johnson's barometer, then the field is going to be in trouble Sunday.

In June, the 48 team decimated the competition with Johnson leading 289 of a possible 400 laps and winning by a healthy 2.5 seconds over Kevin Harvick. Even more ominous is the fact Johnson has led no less than 157 laps in his previous seven Dover starts. These numbers had Johnson stating the obvious.

"We're definitely excited to be here at this race track," he said. "The stats are very good for myself and this team. We're very glad to be here."

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.