Sunday, November 8, 2015

Boom! Confetti! Jimmie Johnson steals win at Texas

Boom! Confetti.
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
To paraphrase the late, great, Yoga Berra, it was like deja vu all over again at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon as Jimmie Johnson shot past Brad Keselowski to take the checkers in the AAA Texas 500.

Keselowski dominated a race punctuated with cautions caused mostly by tire issues. He led 312 of 334 laps, mirroring his run Saturday in the Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge. Only Martin Truex Jr. seemed to be a threat to keep him from leaving the Great State of Texas with a pair of Charlie 1 Horse hats and a ticket to the Championship round.

However, this is Texas, where Johnson has ridden herd on the competition for five of the last seven events. A debris caution on Lap 311 bunched up the field and allowed the No. 48 to be within striking distance of the lead, held by the No. 2 car.

“I just kept pressure on him," Johnson said about Keselowski."I could see that he was really tight and that was the first I had seen him that vulnerable all day. I just kept the pressure on him, kept searching for line. He saw me coming on the top and protected it. I just kept trying to put pressure on him hoping for a mistake. He got real loose off of Turn 2 and I had a big run down the backstretch and drove it in really far into Turn 3 hoping to hear 'clear.' Once I did, I knew I was home free.”

Keselowski described the same parcel of laps.

“The 48 car had mega turn that last run and I couldn’t keep the turn and it kept pushing real bad,” he admitted. “I did everything I could to hold him off, but he was way faster that last run. Their team did a hell of a job and found speed and my team did a hell of a job, too. We led 300-some laps and these debris yellows always favor someone, and it wasn’t our day for them to favor us. I am still very proud of our effort today. We will have a great shot at winning next week. We really needed to win this one and I know I gave it my all.”

Johnson became the first driver to win three consecutive races at the Great American Speedway. His fifth win of the season gave him 75 career victories in 505 Sprint Cup starts, just one behind Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Somehow, despite having tire issues and shifter problems that had him driving with one hand and holding the shifter of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevy with the other, Kevin Harvick managed to finish third, which is also where he sits in the championship points standings.

“We’ve had really good race cars and that allows us to overcome things like today with two flat tires,” said Harvick. “Even with the shifter problem we were able to maintain what we had. But all in all, we just kept gouging away and everything worked out in the end.”

Kyle Busch came in fourth, putting him two points behind Jeff Gordon heading to Phoenix. Busch credits crew chief Adam Stevens with holding the team together during the season.

"The year he had to start off with -- with no driver -- I'm sure was hard on him," stated Busch. "He's really pulled through, kept the team together. Everyone has been really pulling in the right direction to make sure we've had a strong fight this year and we'll continue to do so next weekend and Homestead.

"I've said it before, I'll say it again. The script's written. I think there's two scripts written, it's just which one's going to come true. Jeff Gordon certainly has one. I feel like we have one as well, too, with this 18 car.

Busch’s protégé, Erik Jones, finished 12th in just his second Sprint Cup start, subbing for the suspended Matt Kenseth.

Carl Edwards rounded out the top five and is also fifth in points.

Tire issues ruined Joey Logano's day when a left rear exploded on Lap 10. He had to take the No. 22 AAA Ford to the garage for repairs, finishing 40th. Logano needs a win in Phoenix to advance.

Unofficial results:

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

0 comments :

Post a Comment