Notebook: Johnson to make 500th start at track he’s dominated


Jimmie Johnson

What better place for Jimmie Johnson to make his 500th career start than the Monster Mile.

Johnson, the all-time wins leader at Dover International Speedway with 10, is celebrating yet another career milestone at a track where he has seen plenty of them.

With qualifying and practice rained out on Friday afternoon, Johnson had plenty of time to reflect on his career to this point.

“I didn’t expect things to go as well as they have,” Johnson said. “Absolutely the racing gods have smiled on me and this team.”

Johnson, who debuted in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2001, has 74 career victories and six championships.

As he turns 40-years-old and his peers Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart have announced retirement plans for this year and next respectively, Johnson briefly touched on how long he will continue to race while talking to the media on Friday.

“I do not have a number and I have not picked a number” Johnson said. “When I feel like it’s time I am going to make that decision. Certainly don’t feel like it’s time now. … I want to make sure I do it once not keep coming back. What I am looking for is that moment. That moment that you say, ‘alright, it’s time.’ When that shows up then I will step down.”

Sadler signs with Dale Jr.

Elliott Sadler will drive for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series in 2016.

Sadler has 10 career wins in NASCAR’s second-tier series and three wins in Sprint Cup.

He’s winless in 27 races this season driving for owner Jack Roush. Sadler has been a regular in Xfinity since 2011 and was twice runner-up in 2011 and 2012 in the championship standings.

Sadler has a full-time ride next season for the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-backed team and will drive the OneMain Financial Chevrolet Camaro.

The crew chief and car number have not been determined.

Local sponsors

For the sixth straight year, local companies Iron Source and Medding’s Seafood will be involved in sponsorship for Johnny Davis’ O1 car in today’s XFINITY race.

Landon Cassill be driving the O1 car today.

“Finding sponsors in racing is difficult and finding loyal sponsors who endure year after year is even more difficult,” said Davis. “So having people like Rob Medding and Chess Hedrick (Iron Source) that I know I can count on is a huge asset to this team.”

Also, Heroes Haven will have its logo on the hood of Ross Chastain’s car.

With the help of Ken and Tracy Adams of the Melvin Construction Co., a member of the military, police or fire departments will get to meet Chastain, take part in activities at the track and watch the race from a luxury suite.

Pit stops

An autograph session is slated for the FanZone today at 10:30 a.m. A total of 150 wristbands will be distributed in advance. Scheduled to be on hand are drivers Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon, Brian Scott, Ryan Reed, Chris Bueschler and Bubba Wallace. … Singer Payton Taylor is holding a concert on the Victory Plaza stage today starting at 10:30 a.m. … Nathan’s Famous will hold a qualifying event for its Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest at the track on Sunday. The top male and female finishers will earn a spot in the finals at the original Nathan’s Famous in Brooklyn.

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