TALLADEGA, Ala.—With a No. 48 Chevrolet that dominated much of Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Jimmie Johnson finished a disappointing 13th—but he left the 2.66-mile track with a nice consolation prize.
Johnson overtook 20th-place finisher Matt Kenseth for the Chase for the Sprint Cup lead and holds a four-point advantage with four races left. Next weekend the series heads for Martinsville, Johnson's best track statistically, and one of Kenseth's worst.
Johnson's hopes for a victory were foiled, however, when race winner Jamie McMurray migrated to the top of the track with roughly 20 laps left and brought most of the contenders with him.
"At the end there, the No. 1 (McMurray) decided to run the top and took the bulk of cars with him," Johnson explained. "As that happened, the middle lane that I was in quickly became the bottom lane and then quickly didn't exist. I dropped like a rock for a while and was able to get in the outside lane and start making some spots back and fortunately missed the big pile up on the backstretch (Austin Dillon's wreck, which ended the race under caution).
"Obviously, I was paying attention to where the No. 20 (Kenseth) was. I was (paying attention to) the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick), the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) and was in and around and ahead, I think, of most of those guys. Thirteenth isn't the best finish, but with what we are trying to do and win a championship, we beat the competition today, and that's good."
By Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service