DOVER, Del. — Jimmie Johnson handled the pothole at Dover the same way he disposed of a rough patch to start the season. He won.
A week after shaking off a lengthy winless streak by his championship standards, Johnson raced his way to another routine romp at Dover International Speedway Sunday. He followed last week's victory in the Coca-Cola 600 with another sensational run at Dover, extending his track victory record to nine.
Johnson was the class of the field in a race red-flagged for 22 minutes to repair a pothole in the concrete track.
''Whatever they put in the pothole, it worked awfully well,'' Johnson said.
His No. 48 Chevrolet was even better. Johnson led 272 of 400 laps, and won consecutive races for the 13th time. The six-time Cup champion swept Dover in 2002 and 2009 and won races there in 2005, 2010, 2012, and 2013.
Brad Keselowski was second, followed by Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, and Denny Hamlin.
''For sure, when you come to Dover, it's always the 48,'' Kenseth said. ''We've got to figure out how to get ahead of him.''
Good luck. Johnson's checkered flag celebrations at Dover have seemingly become a rite of the NASCAR season. He became Dover's career leader in laps led when he hit the 2,802 mark, and again stamped himself as contender for a series-tying seventh championship.
''It's amazing that we can stay on top of things here with the different generation car, different rules, different tires,'' Johnson said. ''This place just fits my style and [crew chief] Chad Knaus's style.''
Johnson also revealed he had surgery to repair three hernias at the end of last season, which cost the No. 48 team testing time.
''We felt like it was time to shut things down and let the team kind of recoup,'' he said.
Johnson never left any doubt his Chevrolet was the car to beat, the only drama coming when the race was stopped 160 laps into the race after Ryan Newman's car pulled up chunks of the track that kicked back and damaged Jamie McMurray's car. The race was soon stopped and crews weren't allowed to work on the cars.
McMurray's plea for an exception was denied.
''It killed the front-end,'' he said. ''Our guys did a really good job recovering here putting all the stuff on and we salvaged what we could.''
More pieces of the track flew up and cracked a window on the pedestrian crossover bridge.
NASCAR officials and safety crews went to work on the potholes and applied a concrete mix. Cup races were infamously delayed by potholes at Martinsville in 2004 and the 2010 Daytona 500.
''It started to come back up at the end, but I didn't think it was a major issue,'' Keselowski said. ''It was definitely a major issue at first when it happened.''