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Jimmie Johnson earns first top five in 16 races (video)

Jimmie Johnson finished third at Dover which leaves him feeling optimistic heading to the Round of 12.

It had been 16 races since Jimmie Johnson had finished in the top five of a NASCAR Cup race.

Johnson was able to at put a stop to that trend Sunday, finishing third at Dover International Speedway, the track he earned his last top five at in June when he won.

An 11-time winner at the one-mile track, Johnson slowly crept through the field during the 400-lap race after starting 17th.

“The first caution came out and trapped us down a lap and had to restart again in 17th,” Johnson told NBCSN. “We worked our way to the front and once you get up to the top 10, top five it’s so difficult to pass. Once I got in the top five I stayed there. I just needed a pit stop or two to gain track position.”

Johnson’s top five is his first this year that didn’t coincide with a trip to victory lane for the No. 48 Chevrolet. His other top fives/wins were at Bristol Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

Johnson enters the second round of the playoffs fifth in the standings with 3,017 points. The second round begins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Johnson has eight wins.

“Our past history shows if we run well here, we run well there,” Johnson said of Dover and Charlotte. “Definitely optimistic and excited about going back to one of my best tracks.”

Watch the above video for the full interview.