Photos courtesy of NASCARmedia.com
Winning his second race in a row in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, Jimmie Johnson remains the point leader after the AAA Texas 500 Sunday (11/4) afternoon.
Jimmie headed into the race at Texas Motor Speedway with a two point lead over Brad Keselowski after winning the race at Martinsville the previous week (10/28). Jimmie started the AAA Texas 500 with the mentality of repeating his “maximum points” day like he had the previous week. Starting the race from the Pole Position and leading the first lap was the first step in that direction.
Brad Keselowski started the race from the eighth position and did not waste time starting to move forward to challenge Jimmie for the win and get the point lead back. However, Jimmie showed early on that he would be the car to beat in the Sprint Cup race at Texas.
Jimmie led 146 of the first 165 laps in the NASCAR race Sunday afternoon. It did appear that Jimmie’s car was losing some of its dominance as the sun set in Texas and the track cooled down. Jimmie relied on his crew chief Chad Knaus did what they have done to win five Sprint Cup Championships together, adjusted the car to again head to the front of the field for the win. Jimmie again did all he could to get have a “maximum points” day by adding to his laps led to grab the bonus point for most laps led with a total of 168 circuits around Texas out front.
Brad and his team did all they could including taking just two tires to get out front after caution period pit stops. In the end, the race came down to a green-white-checkered finish. The restart put Brad and Jimmie side-by-side in the front row to battle for the win. When the green flag waived, the four fresh tires allowed Jimmie to take the lead over Brad and his two fresh right side tires.
Brad came around to take second place just eight-tenths of a second behind Jimmie. Non-Chase contender Kyle Bush grabbed third place with Chase drivers Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart rounding out the top five respectively in the AAA Texas 500. See the complete NASCAR Sprint Cup race results from Texas Motor Speedway here.
With the win, Jimmie increased his lead to seven points over Brad. Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne remain the third and fourth place drivers in the points respectively. Matt Kenseth moved up three place in the standings to take over fifth place. See the complete NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings here.
With just two races left in the Chase, it appears that the championship will come down to a battle between Jimmie and Brad. While the only drivers to be mathematically eliminated from title contention were Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr., the Chase drivers from third place to tenth place will need a major stumble by Jimmie and Brad to have legitimate shot at the championship.
The ninth race in NASCAR’s Chase will take place at Phoenix International Raceway Sunday, November 11th. You can hear all the action of the AdvoCare 500 live on our sister station WJBC FM starting at 1 p.m. central time Sunday afternoon.
By: Buck Stevens
NASCAR Sprint Cup top twelve point standings:
01) Jimmie Johnson – Leader
02) Brad Keselowski – 7 points behind
03) Clint Bowyer – 36 points behind
04) Kasey Kahne – 58 points behind
05) Matt Kenseth – 72 points behind
Jeff Gordon – 72 points behind
07) Denny Hamlin – 73 points behind
08) Tony Stewart – 80 points behind
Martin Truex Jr. – 80 points behind
10) Greg Biffle – 83 points behind
11) Kevin Harvick – 101 points behind
12) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 151 points behind
Feature photo credit: NASCARmedia.com/John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR