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Jimmie Johnson Claims Victory In Duck Commander 500 At Texas Motor Speedway

Jimmie Johnson Claims Victory In Duck Commander 500 At Texas Motor Speedway

by April 12, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

By: Alanis King
Twitter: @alanisnking

FORT WORTH, Tex. — The stats spoke in favor of him and late-race traffic against, but Jimmie Johnson would not be denied his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Texas Motor Speedway.

Johnson crossed the finish line in the Duck Commander 500 ahead of Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr., the first of whom traded the top spot with Johnson for a majority of the night. After struggling in traffic and regaining the lead from Jamie McMurray on lap 321, Johnson scored his first-ever win in the spring Texas Motor Speedway race after leading a race high of 128 of the 334 laps.

The No. 48 didn’t find itself in position to lead the pack, though, until after making “the right adjustment” on the final pit stop of the race and bypassing both Harvick and McMurray.

“I was able to get by both of those guys and check out,” Johnson said. “It was an exciting race. I hope the fans really enjoyed that one.

“I think that the No. 88, the No. 4 all of us that were involved in that there at the end just had a blast. That is how racing should be, and I’m so happy the fans got to see that.”

Crew Chief, Chad Knaus referred to Texas Motor Speedway as a track that “definitely falls to Jimmie’s liking.” Harvick voiced the same opinion following the race, adding that Texas Motor Speedway is a racetrack that fits everything the No. 48 team does.

“[Johnson] knows the feel that he wants in the car,” Harvick said. “That changes as to what’s underneath the car, and they just do a really good job and make it happen when it’s time to get to the race.”

While Harvick started on the outside pole of Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch, Busch lost the lead for the final time on lap 79 and eventually finished in the 14th position. The highest Stewart-Haas Racing finisher of the night but missing out on the win, Harvick said that there is “nothing at all” to hang his head about in finishing second.

“I’m not disappointed at all,” Harvick said. “Racing for wins is what we’re here to do, and [I’m] just really proud of everybody.”

A contender to race for the win as well, Earnhardt Jr. claimed the third spot behind Harvick and Johnson. Contrary to the top-two finishers who led the combined most laps of the night, Earnhardt Jr. failed to lead a single circuit.

Within 20 to go, Earnhart Jr. said that he believed that he had the best car in the field, but was “stuck behind” the top two. However, when it came to the final 10 laps, Earnhardt Jr. said that Johnson and Harvick had surpassed him in speed.

“If I maybe could have pulled in front of [Harvick] there, maybe I could have held him and the 48 off because the 48 was still behind us at that time,” Earnhardt Jr. said.

Earnhardt Jr. presented a challenge for Johnson and Harvick, who have been known to show dominance on 1.5-mile tracks. And while he called Harvick “unstoppable,” he said that he’s glad to be driving cars with the same Hendrick Motorsports engine power that the other two share heading to the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway oval next weekend..

“I’m glad I’m driving them,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “And we go to Bristol next, so I guess that’s a better opportunity for me because my name is not Jimmie and my name ain’t Kevin.”

Alanis King

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