Texas Win Gives Johnson Lead In Final Two Chase Races


Jimmie Johnson took a dominant victory at Texas Motor Speedway as he stretched his lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup to seven points.

The five-time champion led 255 of the 334 laps of the AAA Texas 500 on his way to his second straight autumn Texas victory. Matt Kenseth, who went into the race tied with Johnson in the standings, could only manage fourth, dropping seven points to the Hendrick Motorsports driver.

“That was a great, great race car,” said Johnson. “We’re really buttoned up, which is the cool thing. We came here and tested. After two days we really honed in on the balance of the car and comfort of the car. We felt really strong about things, but at the same time we’re here testing, as are all of our competitors were as well. So it was tough to leave here overly excited because your competition is here getting better and getting data and all of that as well.

“I feel better about Phoenix [the next, and penultimate, race of the season] honestly, than I did last year leaving here,” Johnson continued, referring to when he ran in to trouble at the end of the 2012 season, losing the title to Brad Keselowski. “Then last year we did not test Homestead and we just came back from Homestead, and that test went really well. So I’m optimistic. I feel good. But, man, it’s so weird because I’ve been in position before where I’ve had these amazing sensations and feelings that a championship was going to happen, and we were able to do it for those five years in a row. “

The Chase for the Sprint Cup is now almost certainly a two-horse race between Johnson and Kenseth after Jeff Gordon crashed on lap 73, while Kyle Busch received a pit lane speeding penalty having hit the wall earlier in the race. Kevin Harvick now sits in third place in the standings, 40 points back from Johnson, followed by Busch, who is a further 12 points. Gordon dropped from third to sixth in the standings, 69 points off the top spot.

It was a strong race for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who drove the #88 Chevrolet to second place for the third time in six races, moving the fan favourite up to fifth in the standings, 62 points shy of Johnson.

“We’re getting close,” Earnhardt said. “We were here testing so we thought we had a chance to win. But obviously our teammate was here testing, too.”

Only three drivers lead for more than three laps during the 334 lap race. Carl Edwards, who took pole position, lead 38 laps in the early stages before his engine gave way and Brad Keselowski lead for 30 laps before a slow pitstop at the end of the race dropped him out of contention.

Jimmie Johnson took a dominant victory at Texas Motor Speedway as he stretched his lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup to seven points.

The five-time champion led 255 of the 334 laps of the AAA Texas 500 on his way to his second straight autumn Texas victory. Matt Kenseth, who went into the race tied with Johnson in the standings, could only manage fourth, dropping seven points to the Hendrick Motorsports driver.

That was a great, great race car,” said Johnson. “We’re really buttoned up, which is the cool thing. We came here and tested. After two days we really honed in on the balance of the car and comfort of the car. We felt really strong about things, but at the same time we’re here testing, as are all of our competitors were as well. So it was tough to leave here overly excited because your competition is here getting better and getting data and all of that as well.

I feel better about Phoenix [the next, and penultimate, race of the season] honestly, than I did last year leaving here,” Johnson continued, referring to when he ran in to trouble at the end of the 2012 season, losing the title to Brad Keselowski. “Then last year we did not test Homestead and we just came back from Homestead, and that test went really well. So I’m optimistic. I feel good. But, man, it’s so weird because I’ve been in position before where I’ve had these amazing sensations and feelings that a championship was going to happen, and we were able to do it for those five years in a row.

The Chase for the Sprint Cup is now almost certainly a two-horse race between Johnson and Kenseth after Jeff Gordon crashed on lap 73, while Kyle Busch received a pit lane speeding penalty having hit the wall earlier in the race. Kevin Harvick now sits in third place in the standings, 40 points back from Johnson, followed by Busch, who is a further 12 points. Gordon dropped from third to sixth in the standings, 69 points off the top spot.

It was a strong race for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who drove the #88 Chevrolet to second place for the third time in six races, moving the fan favourite up to fifth in the standings, 62 points shy of Johnson.

We’re getting close,” Earnhardt said. “We were here testing so we thought we had a chance to win. But obviously our teammate was here testing, too.”

Only three drivers lead for more than three laps during the 334 lap race. Carl Edwards, who took pole position, lead 38 laps in the early stages before his engine gave way and Brad Keselowski lead for 30 laps before a slow pitstop at the end of the race dropped him out of contention.