Jimmie Johnson fends off Harvick to win for record fifth time at Texas
Jimmie Johnson became the first driver to win multiple races this season at TMS.
Jimmie Johnson came out on top in a thrilling multi-car fight for the win as the laps clicked away at Texas Motor Speedway. It's the California-native's 72nd career win, record-setting fifth at Texas, and second this season.
Driving the Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet, Johnson won for the second time this season and for the 72nd time in his accomplished career.
The race marked the seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in 2015.
“I had a great, great race car,” Johnson said in victory lane. “We have had an awesome start to the year even though our results don’t show it. We kept plugging away at it and the off-week allowed us to sit down and relax, reboot and come back to the track. They brought me a fast race car today.
“I thought we were in big trouble on one restart when No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) got into the lead and I couldn’t go anywhere. On the next restart, the car was a little better and then on that last pit stop, we made the right adjustment and I caught the No. 4 and raced with the No. 1 (Jamie McMurray). After getting by those guys, I was able to check out. It was an exciting race and we had a blast.”
Winning crew chief
Added crew chief Chad Knaus, “Texas is a track that falls into Jimmie’s liking, and it is a track that a driver has to search and try to find a different line. Obviously, 500 miles here there’s a huge swing in track conditions and the way that Jimmie is able to describe what he feels in a race car and with our engineers being able to keep up with the race track and trying to get better over 334 laps around here, it is a good race for us and is a lot of fun. For us, the race went very well and Jimmie did a great job.”
Harvick, who led 96 laps, zipped past Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the finish line for second place. The pair was separated by .034 seconds.
“All night I was battling the balance of the car, which is pretty typical when you come to Texas,” the 2014 series champion said. “I was in position to win but got hung up behind the No. 22 (Joey Logano) and the No. 1 car, losing too much time and then tried to make too much of it up in chunks and then almost spun out, getting into the fence while trying to make up ground. All in all it was a lot of fun and it is fun to race that way.”
In his race with Logano, the two touched with the Ford driver sliding out of the groove.
Earnhardt ended up third after recovering from an errant pit stop in the early going.
Said the reigning champion, “I had (Kevin) Harvick cleared off of (turn) I had passed him on the bottom and I had a hard time on the top so I wanted to try the bottom in three and four and he beat me around there. I still had Jimmie behind me at that point and I should have pulled up in front of Kevin and made it a little more difficult on him.
“We weren’t as good as the 48 or the 4 early in the race, but we definitely improved it and Greg (Ives, crew chief) and the Nationwide team did a great job in getting it better. We have had that speed all year and it’s good to get a good finish in the bank because these last few weeks have been pretty rough, but we know what we are capable of. Greg and I are just getting started here and we are right there on their heels man. If we ever get this thing figured out – it’s going to be tough.”
Following the eighth and final caution of the night, four drivers gambled and took just two tires. That number was reduced to three when Kyle Larson, scheduled to restart third, was handed a penalty for driving through too many pit boxes.
The pass for the win
With 15 laps to go, Harvick tried to pass McMurray on the high side, but was blocked. Johnson took advantage of the opportunity, going to the inside and passing both cars. Despite a lot of pressure from both Harvick and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., the No. 48 held on and was able to cruise to the checkered flag when Harvick hit the wall with three to go.
Following the aforementioned trio was the Penske duo of Logano and Brad Keselowski. The risky call paid off for McMurray and Gordon, who came away with sixth and seventh place results. Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr., and Carl Edwards rounded out the top ten.
|9||Martin Truex Jr.||Chevrolet||334|
|26||Sam Hornish Jr.||Ford||334|
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About this article
|Location||Texas Motor Speedway|
|Drivers||Clint Bowyer , Kasey Kahne , Kevin Harvick , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Kurt Busch , Tony Stewart , Alex Bowman , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , Matt DiBenedetto , Danica Patrick , Ryan Blaney , Joey Logano , Jeff Gordon , Trevor Bayne , Kyle Larson , Austin Dillon , Paul Menard , Chris Buescher , Matt Kenseth , Michael McDowell , David Ragan , Cole Whitt , Justin Allgaier , Aric Almirola , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , J.J. Yeley , Josh Wise , Ryan Newman , Landon Cassill , Brett Moffitt , Greg Biffle , Casey Mears , Sam Hornish Jr. , David Gilliland , Michael Annett , Mike Bliss , Alex Kennedy , Chad Knaus|