Jimmie Johnson takes Texas win over Larson and Logano

Jimmie Johnson crossed the finish line in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 with his crew telling him, “Everything is bigger in Texas.”

Jimmie Johnson takes Texas win over Larson and Logano
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet takes the win
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Winner Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Winner Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Winner Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Start: Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford lead the field
Fly-over

“Nice job boys, hell yeah,” Johnson said as he scored his seventh win at the 1.5-mile track and the 81st Monster Energy Cup victory of his career.

Johnson restarted 22nd on the last stage and took the lead for the first time on Lap 318. He led 18 laps en route to his first victory in 2017.

“I guess I remembered how to drive; and I guess this team remembered how to do it,” Johnson added.

Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr., rounded out the top-five.

Kevin Harvick led the field to green on Lap 178 followed by Keselowski, Truex, Earnhardt, Kyle Busch, Logano, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne and Chris Buescher.

Blaney, who was forced to pit between stages, restarted 20th followed by Larson, Johnson, Elliott and Kurt Busch. By Lap 197, Blaney had moved into the top 15.

By Lap 200, Harvick held a 0.319-second lead over Keslowski followed by Earnhardt, Truex, Bowyer, Logano, Stenhouse, Kyle Bush, Larson and Almirola.

Johnson’s margin of victory was 0.34-second in a race slowed by eight cautions. There were 16 lead changes among six drivers. Blaney, who led the first two stages and 148 laps prior to pitting, was 15th.

Truex kicked off the pit stops on Lap 219. He cycled into the lead when Logano pitted on Lap 227. Harvick, Earnhardt, Bowyer, Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Johnson rounded out the top 10 with 25 cars remaining on the lead lap.

Truex had lapped Kasey Kahne to leave just 18 cars on the lead lap when the second round of green-flag pitstops began on Lap 268. Truex pitted on Lap 272 and once again, Logano stayed out on the track.

Logano finally pitted on Lap 289 and handed the lead over to Harvick. Johnson, Truex, Earnhardt, Larson, Keselowski, Elliott, Blaney, Bowyer and Kurt Busch completed the top 10 with 45 laps remaining. Logano cycled out to 15th with 16 cars on the lead lap.

The eighth caution was called for debris on Lap 299. Logano stayed on the track. Harvick led the cars down pit road on Lap 301 followed by Johnson, Truex, Earnhardt and Larson. Harvick was the first car out of the pits with Johnson, Truex, Larson, Earnhardt , McMurray, Keselowski, Bowyer, Elliott and Kurt Busch. Blaney, who entered the pits eighth, slid through his stall and had to be pushed behind the line. The jack tumbled and Blaney restarted 16th.

Logano held the point on the Lap 304 restart while Johnson passed Harvick for second. On Lap 318, Johnson took the lead on the backstretch. Logano, Harvick, Larson and Earnhardt completed the top-five.

Larson passed Harvick for third with 12 laps to go. Keselowski moved up to seventh one lap later. Johnson’s lead was down to 0.700-seconds over Logano as Larson closed in on the No. 22 Ford. With one lap to go, Larson passed Logano for second.

Keselowski, McMurray, Treux, Elliott and Kurt Busch rounded out the top 10. Blaney, who led the most laps (148) finished 12th following his issues in the pits.

Larson now leads the championship standings by 17 points over Elliott.

Overcoming adversity

 Johnson moved from 14th to 11th with his win at Texas — his sixth victory at the track in his last 10 starts.

Johnson started the weekend as the only Hendrick Motorsports driver to pass pre-qualifying inspection on Friday. However, he spun while attempting his qualifying run in the first round and flat-spotted his tires. Although Johnson’s time was fast enough to move on to the second round, he didn’t bother with a second run. Since teams are required to start the race on their qualifying tires, Johnson accepted the penalty of starting from the rear of the field in Sunday’s race in exchange for fresh rubber.

Johnson restarted 32nd following the first caution on Lap 3. He finished Stage 1 in 11th after 85 laps. He restarted 10th in Stage 2 and finished second behind Blaney after the second segment. Johnson pitted between stages and moved up from mid-pack to 10th for the first time after green-flag pit stops cycled out on Lap 229. By the second round of pit stops 60 laps later, Johnson was able to cycle out to third.

Despite Johnson’s early adversity, he knew the No. 48 Chevy was in good shape by the second or third run of the day.

“From there, off we went. It was so tough those first 23 laps in traffic,” Johnson said. “The air was very turbulent, the track wasn’t very clean, and just the way it finished now, I think we could start with what I could show. It will just take a little time for this track to age. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. But, it was an awesome day for this Lowe’s team.”

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps Led
1 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 334   18
2 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 334 0.340  
3 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 334 1.252 38
4 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 334 1.893 77
5 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 334 2.336  
6 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 334 2.826 4
7 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 334 3.804  
8 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 334 3.922 49
9 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 334 4.565  
10 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 334 4.891  

CLICK HERE for complete race results

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Texas
Location Texas Motor Speedway
Drivers Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports
Author Lee Spencer
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