Jimmie Johnson continued his return to form with another victory at Dover International Speedway, the driver's third in the span of one month.
In mid-May, Johnson entered the record books when he won the 200th race for Hendrick Motorsports, snapping a long losing streak for the driver that extended back to last year. He followed that up with a victory in the NASCAR All-Star race, which didn't count toward his points, but helped him out monetarily.
Kasey Kahne continued the winning streak for Hendrick by winning the Coca-Cola 600, but it was Johnson who was back on top on Sunday. Not only did the driver win the race, but it was a dominant performance. Johnson clearly had the best car on the track, as he led for 289 of the 400 laps.
Longtime NASCAR fans know that means nearly nothing when it comes to winning a race. Leading laps earns drivers points, but all that really matters in the end is who is in front when the checkered flag flies. Even a driver who builds up a seemingly-insurmountable lead is vulnerable to a loss if a caution allows the other drivers to catch up. Fortunately for Johnson, there were no cautions toward the end and it allowed him to get the victory by 2.25 seconds over Kevin Harvick.
"When you lead the most laps, sometimes at the end - the way the cautions fall - it can backfire on the dominant car," Johnson told NASCAR.com. "The way the cautions fell [Sunday], it allowed us to really flex our muscle and bring home the win. I'm proud of the effort. It was a brand new race car we brought to the track. We pulled it off the truck, and it was awesome all weekend long."
Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five drivers. It was a continued good run for Earnhardt, who is still seeking a win that has eluded him for a number of years now. Despite Junior's fans getting anxious that the driver hasn't been in victory lane recently, his team was happy with the result, as Earnhardt hadn't had a top ten finish in Dover since 2007.
"I wanted to finish good," Earnhardt said. "We haven’t really run good here in a long time. I’ll take a top-five here after how we’ve run over the last couple of years."
Dover was more of the same for both Earnhardt and Johnson, which was a good thing. Unfortunately for Kurt Busch, his trend of getting involved in off-track incidents also continued. The driver has been suspended by NASCAR numerous times over the years and entered Dover on probation for a previous incident with another driver. Yet that probation is ultimately what caused Busch to fly off the handle when talking to a media member after the race.
The reporter asked Busch whether racing on probation changed his approach to the track. Busch called the question "stupid," and cursed at the camera. That was a violation of the terms NASCAR outlined for him in his probation, and he's now been suspended for the next race.
Surprisingly, not everyone was on board with Busch's punishment this time around. Tony Stewart, who has also had his share of off-track incidents, said the reporter in question has a history of asking about "controversial" events, rather than focus on the racing.
"There's just so many good things to write about in our sport," Stewart told CBS News. "There's a couple of reporters that strictly want to be tabloid journalists. Unfortunately, he's one of them."