Johnson: "I kind of felt like Truex was playing with us"

There was only one driver who managed to pass Martin Truex Jr. on the track Sunday night without the help of green-flag pit stops but even Jimmie Johnson realized it may not have meant all that much.

Johnson: "I kind of felt like Truex was playing with us"
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota race winner
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota race winner
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

“It kind of felt like he was playing with us, he was so fast,” said Johnson, who finished third in the Coca-Cola 600. “I would flat foot (through Turns) 1 and 2 and have a nose on him, and he would drive right by me into Turn 3.”

Johnson’s battle with Truex with 57 of 400 laps remaining was likely the closest Truex came to be seriously challenged for the lead in a race in which he led a NASCAR record 588 miles.

“He was just so fast – it was very impressive. I’m just so happy for Martin. Those guys have worked hard to get where they’re at.”

After the race Truex was asked about Johnson getting around him briefly on the track for the lead, his response:

“I had to give him something for being a good sport,” he joked. “I just wanted to give him a taste of what it might feel like to lead this thing. No, I'm just kidding.”

Beating Johnson, the six-time Sprint Cup champion, at Charlotte is no small feat. Johnson owns seven points wins at the track, including four in the Coca-Cola 600.

“It was a very solid weekend for my team, from qualifying through the race,” Johnson said. “It’s nice when you have a car like that. This is probably the best car I’ve had at Charlotte in a long, long time and that shows you how good (Truex) was.

“I thought we had a chance at him a few times. A couple times on long runs, we’d get close. A couple times on restarts, we’d get close.”

Johnson took a break from media interviews to offer Truex congratulations on the win as Truex drove down pit road toward Victory Lane.

Asked what he told Truex, Johnson said, “I didn’t get to say much. The motor was running so I just gave him a high-five.”

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