DOVER, Del. – It came as little surprise that Jimmie Johnson was able to dominate the field Sunday at Dover International Speedway, a track where he has won nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, more than any driver in NASCAR history. What was stunning was Johnson’s public revelation that he’d had hernia surgery in December, a procedure which might have contributed to his slow start.
“It wasn’t supposed to be a secret,” said Johnson, whose surgery came to light during a recorded interview with FOX that aired during the race. “The hernia surgery was, literally, right after the banquet. I’m surprised nobody knew about this thing sooner.”
Johnson said he had bilateral hernias repaired laparoscopically and was back in training 10 days after the procedure. He conceded that the surgery, in concert with bad weather, led to his team missing three test sessions and might have contributed to his team’s 11-race winless string to start the season.
“I do feel like that hurt us some and had us behind a little,” said NASCAR’s six-time champion, whose team suddenly looks invincible with Cup victories in consecutive weeks. “Now we can get on a roll. We’ve got some good tracks ahead for us.”