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Johnson Dominates Texas; Takes Lead In Chase

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, November 3 2013

Jimmie Johnson earned the victory and the points lead at Texas on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

RacinToday.com

Jimmie Johnson had been very un-Jimmie Johnson-like on 1.5-mile ovals this season.  Thirty-three races into 2013, he had yet to win on tracks of that size. Then came Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and all of that changed.

Johnson dominated the race – the third-to-last of the season – by leading 255 of 334 laps en route to his sixth Sprint Cup victory of the year.

The victory broke his championship-battle tie with Matt Kenseth, who finished fourth.

Johnson will head to Phoenix for next week’s race with a seven-point lead over Kenseth.

“Matt didn’t have the best day but still finished fourth,” Johnson said. “It’s going to come down to Homestead.”

Finishing second at Texas was Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Third was Penske Racing’s Joey Logano.

“Overall,” Logano said, “we can’t be disappointed with a third place finish but the 48 car was just ridiculously fast.”

Fifth was Hendrick Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne.

Rounding out the top 10 were Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman.

On lap 174, Kenseth made a costly mistake when he was penalized for speeding on pit road while running second behind Johnson. He served his penalty and when he came back out, he was at the rear of the lead-lap field in 16th place.

The the penalty was costly, but it was not a race-breaker. Kenseth, with the aid of a caution on lap 189 (Carl Edwards’ car suffered a blown engine), moved forward and on lap 200, he was in 10th place.

From there, he moved up to sixth, where he was running when he pitted under green on lap 237 of the 334-lap race.

Most of the rest of the field soon pitted. Johnson, with a healthy lead when the pitting started, had a slow stop and lost his lead to Keselowski. It didn’t take Johnson long, however, to begin knocking off the cars and front of him. On lap 257, Johnson passed Keselowski for the lead just as a caution came out.

Johnson kept his lead through the pits stops and when the race went green with 72 laps to go, the top five were Johnson, Kyle Busch, Logano, Kenseth and Earnhardt Jr. When the race hit the 50-laps-to-go mark, Johnson’s lead was just over 2 seconds over second-place Logano and almost 4 seconds over fourth-place Kenseth.

With 40 laps to go, the final green flag pit stops of the day started. When the stops had cycled through on lap 34, Johnson led, Earnhardt Jr. was second, Logano third and Kenseth fourth. Busch was penalized for speeding.

Johnson moved out to big leads after the final stop and cruised to victory sans problems.

Johnson left Texas last year with a seven-point lead over Brad Keselowski — and lost the title. But the emphatic nature of Johnson’s win on Sunday sent an unmistakable message.

“We came here and tested and did an awesome job of understanding what I needed in the car and what was going to create speed,” Johnson said after the race. “We came back and had a very smooth qualifying session and practice sessions (Saturday), and just kept putting more and more speed in the car.

“It paid off today. Obviously, we need a lot of speed in the car and a win to get any points because Matt is there in the top five. Nice to gain just a few points on him. But just a dominant day for this Lowe’s team.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – AAA Texas 500

Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Sunday, November 03, 2013

1. (3) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 334, $484211.

2. (7) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 334, $337810.

3. (12) Joey Logano, Ford, 334, $251193.

4. (6) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 334, $238776.

5. (11) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 334, $180585.

6. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 334, $204726.

7. (14) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 334, $160960.

8. (19) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 334, $175621.

9. (13) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 334, $161593.

10. (26) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 334, $160968.

11. (33) Mark Martin, Chevrolet, 334, $161185.

12. (18) Greg Biffle, Ford, 334, $129760.

13. (5) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 334, $153368.

14. (15) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 334, $141685.

15. (4) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 333, $139476.

16. (9) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #, Ford, 332, $153896.

17. (31) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 332, $133505.

18. (23) Parker Kligerman(i), Toyota, 332, $124868.

19. (25) Elliott Sadler(i), Toyota, 331, $114235.

20. (16) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 331, $134199.

21. (10) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 331, $132674.

22. (21) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 331, $121243.

23. (36) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 331, $126943.

24. (20) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 331, $112485.

25. (30) Danica Patrick #, Chevrolet, 331, $104735.

26. (28) David Gilliland, Ford, 330, $115543.

27. (17) Aric Almirola, Ford, 330, $140521.

28. (39) David Reutimann, Toyota, 330, $112832.

29. (32) Trevor Bayne(i), Ford, 330, $103085.

30. (43) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 329, $103875.

31. (24) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 329, $126005.

32. (38) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 329, $107435.

33. (27) Casey Mears, Ford, 328, $107235.

34. (37) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 328, $99010.

35. (42) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 326, $98810.

36. (41) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, Rear Gear, 190, $98580.

37. (1) Carl Edwards, Ford, Engine, 187, $152951.

38. (8) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 147, $139736.

39. (34) Josh Wise(i), Ford, Vibration, 145, $88800.

40. (22) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, Engine, 144, $92800.

41. (40) Timmy Hill #, Ford, Engine, 125, $80800.

42. (29) David Ragan, Ford, Engine, 81, $84800.

43. (35) Michael McDowell, Ford, Vibration, 27, $73300.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 151.754 mph.

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 18 Mins, 05 Secs. Margin of Victory: 4.390 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 26 laps.

Lead Changes: 28 among 10 drivers.

Lap Leaders: C. Edwards 1-9; J. Johnson 10-15; C. Edwards 16; M. McDowell 17; C. Edwards 18-32; J. Johnson 33-57; Kyle Busch 58; D. Ragan 59; C. Edwards 60-70; J. Johnson 71-74; C. Edwards 75; B. Keselowski 76-79; C. Edwards 80; B. Keselowski 81-91; J. Johnson 92-124; M. Kenseth 125-126; J. Johnson 127-171; M. Kenseth 172; J. Johnson 173-189; Kyle Busch 190; J. Johnson 191-239; R. Newman 240-241; B. Keselowski 242-255; J. Johnson 256; B. Keselowski 257; J. Johnson 258-298; J. Logano 299; G. Biffle 300; J. Johnson 301-334.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Johnson 10 times for 255 laps; C. Edwards 6 times for 38 laps; B. Keselowski 4 times for 30 laps; M. Kenseth 2 times for 3 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 2 laps; R. Newman 1 time for 2 laps; G. Biffle 1 time for 1 lap; M. McDowell 1 time for 1 lap; J. Logano 1 time for 1 lap; D. Ragan 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 13 in Points: J. Johnson – 2,342; M. Kenseth – 2,335; K. Harvick – 2,302; Kyle Busch – 2,290; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 2,280; J. Gordon – 2,273; C. Bowyer – 2,273; G. Biffle – 2,269; J. Logano – 2,251; Kurt Busch – 2,246; C. Edwards – 2,226; R. Newman – 2,224; K. Kahne – 2,209.

(This story will be updated shortly)

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, November 3 2013
2 Comments

2 Comments »

  • NASCAR No Credibility says:

    You know what is really funny? Waltips team gets slammed for trying to help their own teammate yet the funny thing is how Jimmy Johnson was tanking races with four races to go to set the chase field yet once the Chase field was set Jimmy Johnson is back to a top five car every single week.

    If anyone was staging finishes to alter the out come of races so their teammate could make the chase it was Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmy Johnson.

    Very sad NASCAR and this is why you keep losing fans.

  • NASCAR No Credibility says:

    YAWNNNNNN

    Looks like another bought and paid for Hendrick championship.

    I wonder how much money Brian France got for this one?