Sunday July 14th, 2024 10:15PM

NASCAR News and Notes: Jimmie Johnson back in field at Dover; Jones out; Next-gen car

By AccessWDUN Staff

Aptly nicknamed the Monster Mile, Dover Motor Speedway's one-mile concrete paved oval with high banks and narrow straightaways will be stop No. 11 for this weekend's NASCAR Cup Series race.  

Eight full-time Cup Series drivers who won last season are looking for their first win of 2024, with last season's spring race winner, Martin Truex Jr still winless in 2024. Other drivers searching for the win: Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Dover Motor Speedway, originally known as Dover Downs International Speedway, has hosted 105 NASCAR Cup Series races since its inaugural event on July 6, 1969.

The first Dover Motor Speedway NASCAR Cup Series race on July 6, 1969, was a 300-mile event that was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty driving a Petty Enterprises Ford (115.772 mph, 02:35:28). Petty actually won the first two Cup events at the track (1969, 1970).

The 105 NASCAR Cup Series races at Dover Motor Speedway have produced 43 pole winners and 39 different race winners.

Legacy Motor Club taps Corey Heim to replace an injured Erik Jones at Dover ...

After being involved in a multi-car incident at Talladega Superspeedway, Legacy Motor Club has announced that driver Erik Jones will not race this weekend in the Würth 400 at Dover Motor Speedway due to a compression fracture in a lower vertebra in his back. In his stead, reserve driver Corey Heim will pilot the famous No. 43 Toyota this weekend. Heim will collaborate with crew chief David Elenz. Legacy M.C. will request a medical waiver for Jones to remain eligible for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

Although no timeline has been set for Jones’s return to the wheel, he will be in attendance in Dover to help call the race with his crew. Heim, 21, a native of Marietta, Ga., currently competes in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series for TRICON Garage and in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Sam Hunt Racing.

“Erik’s long-term health is our number one priority,” said Jimmie Johnson, co-owner of Legacy M.C. “It will be great to see him at the track Sunday and we intend to give him the time it takes to recover properly. I know Corey will do a great job behind the wheel for the Club. In the meantime, our thoughts are with Erik and his wife, Holly - they have our total support.”

On a limited schedule, Jimmie Johnson returns to the Monster Mile ...

The only driver Miles The Monster ever bows to is NASCAR Hall of Famer Jimmie Johnson, who conquered the Dover mile 11 times in his lustrous Cup career. Now, on a limited schedule driving for Legacy Motor Club, a team he has part-ownership in, he returns to take on the Monster one more time.

In 38 starts, Johnson has 11 wins, 18 top fives, 27 top 10s, and three poles. His average finish of 8.656 is second-best among active drivers, and he holds the series-best rank in the following pre-race loop categories: Average Running Position (8.912), Driver Rating (112.0), and Laps in the Top 15 (10,684 laps, 84.5%).

Johnson’s last three starts at Dover have been in the top 10, including his last start in 2020, where he finished third. But this weekend will be his first attempt at the Monster Mile in the Next Gen car.

Qualifying Rewind: The front row is the place to start at Dover ...

Of the 22 different starting positions on the grid that have led to victories at Dover Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series, the outside front row is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (20 winners, 19.05%) than any other spot. Nine Cup Series drivers have won from the pole or first starting position, for a total of 13 victories from the first starting spot at Dover Motor Speedway (12.38%).
The NASCAR Cup Series has produced 43 different pole winners at Dover Motor Speedway. NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the Cup Series in poles at Dover Motor Speedway with six (1969, 1973 sweep, 1974, 1975, 1981). Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin leads all active series drivers in poles at Dover with four (2012, 2013, 2015, 2019). Eight of the 43 NASCAR Cup Series Dover Motor Speedway pole winners are active this weekend.

11-time victor Jimmie Johnson leads stable of winners at Dover ...

Legacy Motor Club’s owner/driver Jimmie Johnson holds the NASCAR Cup Series record for the most wins at Dover Motor Speedway with 11 victories (2002 sweep, 2005 Playoffs, 2009 sweep, 2010 Playoffs, Spring of 2012, 2013 Playoffs, Spring of 2014, Spring of 2015, and Spring of 2017) and he will be one of eight active winners in this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race.

Johnson is one of just five drivers to win 10 or more races at a single track, joining Richard Petty (15 wins at Martinsville and North Wilkesboro; 13 wins at Richmond; 11 wins at Rockingham and 10 wins at Daytona), Darrell Waltrip (12 wins at Bristol; 11 wins at Martinsville; 10 wins at North Wilkesboro), David Pearson (10 wins at Darlington), and Dale Earnhardt (10 wins at Talladega). 

Thirty-nine different drivers have won in the Cup Series at Dover. Eight of the 39 different NASCAR Cup Series winners at Dover Motor Speedway are active this weekend.

This weekend’s Würth 400 will be 400 laps (400 miles) and divided into three stages: 120 laps in the first stage, 130 laps in the second stage, and 150 laps in the final stage.

All the NASCAR Cup Series on-track action begins on Saturday, April 28, with practice from 10:30 a.m. ET directly followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 11:20 a.m. ET. Both will be televised on FS1.

Next Gen keeps delivering high-speed competition ...

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is off to another highly competitive start, and below are some of the statistics produced by the first 10 races of the season.

This season is just the third time the NASCAR Cup Series has produced 300+ lead changes (312) through the first 10 races of a season, joining the 2011 (343) and 2010 (329) seasons.

This year’s 31.2 average lead changes per race are the third-most in the series through 10 races; behind the 2011 (34.3), and 2010 (32.9) seasons.

The NASCAR Cup Series has produced 37 different lap leaders through the first 10 races this season, the most since 2011 (39). This season is also averaging 12.9 lap leaders per race, the most since 2011 (13.9).

The average Margin of Victory of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway was 0.208 seconds, the second-closest Margin of Victory in the series this season, just behind the three-wide Atlanta Motor Speedway finish at 0.003 seconds. Six of the 10 Cup races this season have resulted in a Margin of Victory of less than a second.

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Talladega Superspeedway race produced 315 Green Flag Passes for the Lead – the series-most for the spring Talladega race and the second-most ever recorded since the inception of the Loop Data stat in 2005. Last season’s October Talladega Playoff Race holds the all-time single-event Cup Series record with 348 Green Flag Passes for the Lead.

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Talladega Superspeedway race produced 17,042 Total Green Flag Passes – the most for a race this season and the third-most in the spring Talladega race since the inception of the stat in 2005, behind the 2014 (19,742) and the 2016 (18,058) seasons.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, NASCAR News, NASCAR Cup
  • Associated Tags: NASCAR , NASCAR Cup Series, Dover , Monster Mile
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