Jimmie Johnson Is Back To His Winning Ways At Charlotte

Jimmie Johnson Is Back To His Winning Ways At Charlotte

by May 26, 2014 0 comments

CONCORD, NC – For first time this season, Jimmie Johnson and the No.48 Lowe’s team visited Victory Lane after winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night.

Johnson recorded his fourth career victory in the Coca-Cola 600. The only driver who has more wins in the prestigious event is Darrell Waltrip with five. Team owner, Rick Hendrick now has 11 wins in the Coca-Cola 600. Saturday night’s win also allowed Jimmie Johnson to surpass a tie with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip as the all-time series points wins leader at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“You want to win races at the end of the season,” Jimmie Johnson said. “You have to win races at the end of the season to be the champions. Of course, we want to win early and often. But we were holding steady in the championship points. In my opinion, I don’t believe there will be 16 different winners. I felt like a strong championship points position would get us into the first phase of the Chase. Granted, tonight simplifies things. We’ll take it, move on.”

The race that started in the afternoon daylight and ended underneath the lights had 34 lead changes and eight cautions. Jimmie Johnson led 164 laps, the most of any driver on Sunday night. Kevin Harvick led 100 laps, followed by Brad Keselowski who led 43 laps.

The third caution of the race, first for an accident flew on lap 165 when Front Row Motorsport’s David Gilliland blew a tire in turn two.

“We blew a right-front tire there,” David Gilliland said. “We did the wave-around trying to make up some track position, but just blew a right-front. It got real tight the lap before and just blew a right-front. It’s a tough way for this to end. We were looking forward to finishing it off, but we’re not gonna do it tonight.”

On lap 236, the caution came out again when Marcos Ambrose spun while exiting turn four. In a chain reaction of trying to avoid the spinning car of Ambrose, Josh Wise spun Landon Cassill and Brian Scott got into the back of Danica Patrick
Kurt Busch who finished sixth in the Indy 500 landed in a helicopter on the frontstretch grass just a few minutes prior to 5 p.m. ET. He ran inside the top-20 for most of the day, but on lap 271, his engine expired, forcing him to park the car and call it a night on the double duty attempt. The caution came out on lap 275 for oil coming from Busch’s car.

“The motor blew,” Kurt Busch said. “It acted like it swallowed three cylinders all at once, so it was real slow,” Kurt Busch said. “It’s kind of a shame. It almost symbolizes how tough it’s been on the Haas Automation team. We give it our all, and the way we were clawing our way up there and got a lucky break with the caution one time… I thought we were making good gains on the car. It was great to race in traffic and to feel the stock car right after driving an IndyCar was a day I’ll never forget.”

Not long after the field went back to green, Busch’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Danica Patrick blew an engine as well. The caution came out for Danica Patrick on lap 287.

“We had a plan to make a big adjustment (early) that I thought would really help under yellow,” Danica Patrick said. “We dropped a cylinder or lost power, then we got hit. Unfortunately, we had a lot of bad luck. We weren’t really as fast as we needed to be at the beginning. It’s unfortunate for the whole team. It would have been great to keep the run going that we had. I think we still showed some good things this weekend. We’re not going to forget about where we’ve been lately and running better. We’ll be back to get ’em at Dover.”

The final caution of the night came out with only 20 laps to go. Alex Bowman had issues in turn three. The caution gave the teams one last chance to take tires and make their final adjustments for the closing laps. On the restart, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth led the field to the green flag, but it didn’t take long for Jimmie Johnson to make his way to the front after restarting in the third position.

In the end, no one had anything for Jimmie Johnson who captured his 67th career win. Johnson is eighth on the all-time series win list. Kevin Harvick finished second, followed by Matt Kneseth, Carl Edwards, and last weekend’s Sprint All Star winner, Jamie McMurray.

“We really want to heat up and win races later in the season, especially before the Chase starts,” Johnson said. “There wasn’t a lot of frustration due to pressure of winning. There was frustration in not having fast racecars, but that’s a different situation. We hold ourselves to a high standard. I think we’re onto some good things and have a good direction to go with our racecars.”

Dover International Speedway is next on the schedule for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks on Sunday, June 1 will start at 1 p.m. on FOX and MRN. This will be the last race for FOX for the 2014 season.

Coca-Cola 600 Top-10 Results:
1.) #48 Jimmie Johnson
2.) #4 Kevin Harvick
3.) #20 Matt Kenseth
4.) #99 Carl Edwards
5.) #1 Jamie McMurray
6.) #55 Brian Vickers
7.) #24 Jeff Gordon
8.) #27 Paul Menard
9.) #18 Kyle Busch
10.) #2 Brad Keselowski

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Point Standings Top-10:
1.) #24 Jeff Gordon
2.) #20 Matt Kenseth -11
3.) #18 Kyle Busch -24
4.) #99 Carl Edwards -24
5.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -38
6.) #48 Jimmie Johnson -44
7.) #22 Joey Logano -54
8.) #55 Brian Vickers -67
9.) #2 Brad Keselowski -71
10.) #31 Ryan Newman -71

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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