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Johnson Grabs Win, Pads Points Lead At Texas

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, November 4 2012

Jimmie Johnson got the victory in Texas. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

Jimmie Johnson passed Brad Keselowski for the lead on the first lap of a green/white/checkered restart and went on to win Sunday’s AAA 500 Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Keselowski, who started the race – the eighth of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship playoff – two points behind leader Johnson in the standings, finished second.

Johnson collected maxium points in the race as he led the most laps and will head to Phoenix for the penultimate race in the season with a seven-point lead.

“The way things have been going, you have to win the race to get points,” Johnson said. “Reminds me of last year’s Chase in some respects. Just a great performance by the entire 48 team all weekend long. To win the pole and lead the most laps, win the race is a big deal. Just excited and really wish we were in Phoenix right now getting ready to start the next race.

“Things are rolling. We’re enjoying it.”

Clint Bowyer, who started the race third and points and with distant hopes for a championship, finished sixth.

Third was Kyle Busch while Matt Kenseth was fourth. Tony Stewart was fifth.

Keselowski passed Busch for the lead with 99 laps to go and looked to be in good position to get a victory.

Jeff Gordon appeared to be closing in on Keselowski with less than 70 laps to go, but the Hendrick driver suddenly had to pit his Chevrolet because of a deflating tire.

Johnson, Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, then moved up to second.

With 59 laps to go, the caution flag waved for debris. During the ensuing pit stops, Keselowski hit his stall with too much speed and had a slow stop and Busch took the lead. Johnson restarted second, Bowyer third and Keselowski ninth.

The race went green with 54 laps to go – that is, at a point where fuel mileage could play a role if no further cautions were to come out.

A caution did come out, however, when, with just under 25 laps to go, Marcos Ambrose hit the wall. All of the leaders pitted.

When the race restarted with 19 laps to go, Keselowski, who only took two tires, had the lead. Second was Busch while Johnson was third and Bowyer, who had a slow stop, sixth.

A couple laps later, the yellow came out again but the leaders stayed out. The restart came with eight laps to go and with Keselowski leading and Johnson second and on the outside of the leader.

On the restart lap, Johnson briefly took the lead but Keslowski banged fenders with the five-time champion and moved back to the lead.

“You’re going to have that to a certain degree,” Johnson said. “On these big tracks I was a little shocked by the commitment into Turn 1. I’ve joked before about driving in far enough to where I see Elvis, and we went past Elvis. I don’t know who was coming next, but that 2 car was coming up the track and took us both to the fourth and fifth lanes.

“So, fortunately, we both stayed one‑two and didn’t crash, didn’t lose a spot on the racetrack. But I knew he was serious about the race lead prior to that and that took it to a new level. That last restart I was able to rally around on the outside and finish so fast. I came so close to finishing the pass the restart prior, but I didn’t get it done. I made sure I got everything right on that last one and got by them.”

With five laps to go, the caution came out again when Mark Martin and Carl Edwards slammed doors. The contact sent Martin into the infield grass.

That forced the green/white/checkered restart. Johnson moved passed Keselowski on the outside to get the lead and then moved away to get the win.

RACE RESULTS

1. (1) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 335, $492086.

2. (8) Brad Keselowski, Dodge, 335, $353830.

3. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 335, $268143.

4. (10) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 335, $241021.

5. (21) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 335, $212935.

6. (4) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 335, $180149.

7. (19) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 335, $148085.

8. (18) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 335, $155493.

9. (23) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 335, $168971.

10. (2) Greg Biffle, Ford, 335, $128560.

11. (6) Joey Logano, Toyota, 335, $121585.

12. (36) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 335, $155443.

13. (5) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 335, $134249.

14. (16) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 335, $148021.

15. (14) Aric Alrmirola, Ford, 335, $141221.

16. (9) Carl Edwards, Ford, 335, $145051.

17. (17) Sam Hornish Jr.(i), Dodge, 335, $142785.

18. (24) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 335, $132543.

19. (22) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 335, $139210.

20. (12) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 335, $143051.

21. (20) Casey Mears, Ford, 335, $116343.

22. (7) Trevor Bayne(i), Ford, 335, $99810.

23. (38) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 335, $121943.

24. (32) Danica Patrick(i), Chevrolet, 335, $99210.

25. (13) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 334, $107185.

26. (41) Landon Cassill, Toyota, 333, $125755.

27. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 332, $106585.

28. (33) David Ragan, Ford, 331, $109668.

29. (11) Mark Martin, Toyota, Accident, 329, $97710.

30. (31) Scott Speed, Ford, 328, $96000.

31. (42) Ken Schrader, Ford, 328, $105560.

32. (15) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, Accident, 310, $124743.

33. (29) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 284, $111682.

34. (25) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 279, $123926.

35. (30) David Gilliland, Ford, Engine, 225, $93460.

36. (26) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, Accident, 107, $101510.

37. (35) Josh Wise #, Ford, Vibration, 41, $93030.

38. (37) Michael McDowell, Ford, Overheating, 37, $92803.

39. (40) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, Brakes, 37, $89900.

40. (43) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, Vibration, 33, $89700.

41. (34) Mike Bliss(i), Toyota, Brakes, 32, $89475.

42. (28) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, Overheating, 10, $89275.

43. (39) Reed Sorenson(i), Toyota, Electrical, 6, $89561.

RACE STATISTICS

Average Speed of Race Winner: 136.117 mph.

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 41 Mins, 30 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.808 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 9 for 49 laps.

Lead Changes: 20 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J. Johnson 1-48; R. Newman 49-50; J. Johnson 51-101; R. Newman 102-105; B. Keselowski 106-118; J. Johnson 119-165; Kyle Busch 166; M. Kenseth 167; T. Bayne(i) 168-171; T. Kvapil 172; J. Johnson 173-190; Kyle Busch 191-223; B. Keselowski 224; Kyle Busch 225-235; B. Keselowski 236-276; Kyle Busch 277-311; J. Johnson 312; B. Keselowski 313-326; J. Johnson 327; B. Keselowski 328-333; J. Johnson 334-335.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Johnson 7 times for 168 laps; Kyle Busch 4 times for 80 laps; B. Keselowski 5 times for 75 laps; R. Newman 2 times for 6 laps; T. Bayne(i) 1 time for 4 laps; M. Kenseth 1 time for 1 lap; T. Kvapil 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 12 in Points: J. Johnson – 2,339; B. Keselowski – 2,332; C. Bowyer – 2,303; K. Kahne – 2,281; M. Kenseth – 2,267; J. Gordon – 2,267; D. Hamlin – 2,266; T. Stewart – 2,259; M. Truex Jr. – 2,259; G. Biffle – 2,256; K. Harvick – 2,238; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 2,188.

(This story will be updated shortly)

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, November 4 2012
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