Sunday, April 12, 2015

Jimmie Johnson rides away with win in Duck Commander 500

Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs
Jimmie Johnson and Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway go together like guns and cowboy hats. The six-time champion proved it again Saturday night with his victory in the Duck Commander 500. Johnson led the most laps on the way to his 72nd career win, putting him within four of Dale Earnhardt’s record.

"The end of the race was nutty. I think those last three restarts with the varying tire strategies that were going on, everybody was just driving so hard," said Johnson. "Our car didn't handle like it was when we were up front leading, so the first restart we were pretty concerned and made some changes. The second one we got a little better. The third one, our car was really, really good and able to work our way forward."

The six-time champ not only drives well, he recaps well, too. He described the end of the race:

"Unfortunately the 4 (Kevin Harvick) was having some trouble getting by the 1 (Jamie McMurray), and they slid up high through 3 and 4 and left the bottom wide open for me, and I thought I'd at least get the 4 car, and when I came off of Turn 4, I was alongside the 1, and I thought, man, we're going to get them both here. So that worked out well. And then I thought I had it under control." 

"88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) had something working on the bottom, so I got the bottom sorted out and then the 4 was flying around the top and started working on my line around the top, and I looked up in the mirror, and I saw smoke and sparks and figured that was the end of the 4 and the next straightway I saw him door-to-door with the 88 still going at it." 

Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. battled through the last few laps, and Harvick's last-lap crossover move gave him second place, with Earnhardt finishing third. 

"Just really proud of my team for the battle that we had this weekend with the car, through practice and even at the beginning, really all night, just trying to battle the balance of the car, and that's pretty typical as you come to Texas," said Harvick. "All in all, it was a lot of fun. Fun to race that way." 

"It's a long race, and you get mentally prepared for it because it's pretty tough," said Earnhardt. "It feels almost like the 600 in some ways.  It's a slick old track, and the pace slows down. You work your guts out in there driving that car around there because the track is so slick, so it's a very physical race, and I had a blast."

Team Penske rounded out the top five, with Joey Logano fourth and Brad Keselowski in fifth. 

The race featured 29 lead changes among nine drivers, and was slowed eight times by caution for a total of 40 laps. 

Kevin Harvick leads the points standings by 26 over Joey Logano. 

Unofficial Race Results: 
Fin St Driver
1 5    Jimmie Johnson
2 2    Kevin Harvick
3 25    Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4 6    Joey Logano
5 3    Brad Keselowski
6 10    Jamie McMurray
7 12    Jeff Gordon
8 4    Kasey Kahne
9 15    Martin Truex Jr.
10 16    Carl Edwards
11 18    Denny Hamlin
12 7    Ryan Newman
13 30    David Ragan
14 1    Kurt Busch
15 22    Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
16 21    Danica Patrick
17 19    Greg Biffle
18 23    Trevor Bayne
19 32    Aric Almirola
20 14    Austin Dillon
21 26    A.J. Allmendinger
22 27    Clint Bowyer
23 17    Matt Kenseth
24 11    Tony Stewart
25 9    Kyle Larson
26 29    Sam Hornish Jr.
27 20    Casey Mears
28 38    David Gilliland
29 36    Brett Moffitt
30 40    Chris Buescher
31 39    Michael McDowell
32 33    Landon Cassill
33 34    Alex Bowman
34 42    Matt DiBenedetto
35 31    Cole Whitt
36 37    Mike Bliss
37 43    Alex Kennedy
38 35    Josh Wise
39 24    Justin Allgaier
40 28    Michael Annett
41 8    Paul Menard
42 13    Ryan Blaney
43 41    J.J. Yeley

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