Published: Mon, June 05, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Jimmie Johnson pays tribute to Cale Yarborough with helmet design

The victory was the third of the season for Johnson, and eleventh overall win at Dover (most all-time) for the seven-time series champion as the career milestones keep adding up for the 41-year-old.

Any or all three of those variables could have been the reason Kyle Larson dominated at Dover International Speedway but was left with a second-place finish. And he might not have been able to hold him off if there wasn't another crash just after they had passed the overtime line that kept the race from being restarted.

Larson dispelled any questions about a bad restart after the race.

"I've always have been better at passing people", Johnson said. "I've got to get better at that and maybe get some more wins". And he's just better at executing.

"It needed to stay green there at the end", Larson said. I wasn't really complaining about the restart; he did a good job. "But he did what he had to do". He was forced to start from the rear of the field because of a gear change, then zipped past Kyle Larson in overtime on the final restart. His number 48 Lowe's Chevrolet had moved up to third by lap 90.

"It was time for a new helmet", Johnson said.

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Johnson sits just one win behind Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison on the list of all-time victories, meaning he's just two wins out from becoming fourth on the list behind Richard Petty (200), David Pearson (105) and Jeff Gordon (93).

"You put that route in front of me and I'll chase it down", Johnson said. "I was a big Cale Yarborough fan, and I remember going to a race in Oklahoma with my parents and my brother". To be here and to tie him at 83 wins is astounding. "But, Cale, you're the man. Thank you for all you have done for our sport". "This is an fantastic day".

Many fans could have nearly seen this win coming Saturday, when Johnson unveiled a special commemorative driver's helmet featuring images of Yarborough, a Hall of Famer and a three-time NASCAR Cup champion in the 1970s. Truex won the first two stages on the 10-year anniversary of his first career Cup victory, also at Dover. Martin Truex Jr. (102 laps led); 4.

Next closest on the Playoffs era win list is Kyle Busch, with 38 to Johnson's 77. For winning the opening state Truex was awarded a playoff point and ten bonus race points.

Larson was second, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman and Chase Elliott. Matt Kenseth was third, and Kyle Busch was fourth after recovering from a wheel coming off his auto under caution on lap 19. The incident caused him to have to pit multiple times to fix the damage to his auto. Per NASCAR rules, his crew chief, tire changer, and tire carrier are now subject to a "mandatory minimum" four-race suspension.

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