FORT WORTH, Texas – Sunday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson made it a thrilling finish down the stretch, taking the lead with just four laps remaining and holding on to earn his third consecutive win in the Lone Star State.
It marked Johnson’s sixth career win at Texas – five of which have come in the past seven races at the track.
"Just so excited and happy for Lowe’s, KOBALT, Chevrolet, Valvoline, Gatorade, the fans, want to thank Sprint for sponsoring the sport, and everybody back at Hendrick Motorsports for digging so deep and fighting hard," he said. "Nice to get this No. 48 back in Victory Lane."
Behind Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon joined him in the top 10 in sixth and ninth, respectively.
Kasey Kahne finished 20th.
Below is a detailed look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared Sunday at Texas.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Starting 16th, Kahne fell outside of the top 20 after pitting during the first caution of the race. But by the time the third caution of the race was called on Lap 36, Kahne was inside the top 10. That is where he remained until just after Lap 100, when Kahne found himself in 13th when yet another yellow flag was waved, and from there gradually fell back in the pack until he was 18th at Lap 150, and a penalty for speeding on pit row during a caution sent him back to 21st for the restart. From there, however, Kahne began climbing back up the race standings. By Lap 220, he was back in the top 10, but he fell back to 12th – and on Lap 295 that meant he was also the first car a lap down as the leader passed him. After a green-flag pit stop, Kahne was back on the track in 15th on Lap 300. After one final caution, Kahne restarted 20th down one lap with 18 remaining. That is where he would finish.
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Gordon started Sunday’s race from the 18th position, but by the time the field restarted following an early caution, the driver was already eighth on Lap 18. He continued driving inside the top 15 for the first half of the race, spending much of it inside the top 10. At Lap 148, he was back in the top 10 and kept pushing up the pack, finding eighth on Lap 155 following a caution. Thirty laps later, he briefly fell to 11th, but it took just 12 laps from there to regain his top-10 position. Gordon was all the way up to fourth when he headed to pit road for his green-flag pit stop, and he told the No. 24 team that the car was “way too tight,” so the crew worked to fix that for the next run. He returned to the track in eighth on Lap 255. After a green-flag pit stop, he returned to the track in 10th on Lap 300. After one final caution, he restarted ninth with 18 laps remaining. That is where he would finish.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Johnson began Sunday’s race eighth, though after pitting during the first caution of the race, Johnson found himself in 19th for the ensuing restart. Just five laps later, however, he was all the way up to eighth. It was that kind of day for Johnson and a speedy No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS. By Lap 50, Johnson was inside the top five, and that’s where he remained for the next portion of the race, continuing to work until he was in the runner-up position on Lap 129. He held on to second for much of the next 90 laps, remaining inside the top five even when he lost it. In fifth place when green-flag pit stops were on the horizon, Johnson stayed on the racetrack as several competitors headed to pit road, taking over the race lead before making his own pit stop. As the field cycled through its stops, Johnson was in sixth on Lap 255. After the next green-flag pit stop, Johnson was back on the track in fifth on Lap 300. After one final caution, Johnson restarted third with 18 laps to go. Within one lap, he had moved to second and was battling the leader for a chance at Victory Lane. With four laps to go, he took the lead, holding on to earn his sixth career win at the Fort Worth, Texas, track.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 KELLEY BLUE BOOK CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Earnhardt rolled off the grid 10th, and he quickly worked his way to the top five by a restart on Lap 18. He continued running inside the top five until Lap 48 when he reported a tire issue with the No. 88 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS. “You did a good job keeping it off the wall,” No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives told Earnhardt on the radio. The unscheduled, four-tire pit stop put Earnhardt a lap down in 40th, but a quick caution gave Earnhardt a free pass back onto the lead lap. By Lap 113, Earnhardt was already back inside the top 10, and he was in the top five on Lap 139. However, he faced another problem when the No. 88 Chevy took right-side damage from contact with the wall. He reported to his team that he was “wrecking loose,” and after falling outside of the top 20, he spun and a caution flag waved. After repairs were made to the No. 88 Chevrolet SS, Earnhardt was once again a lap down in 28th. He moved to the first car a lap down, and when another caution came at Lap 192, he once again got a free pass to the lead lap – though on pit road his team was called for a penalty for too many crew members over the wall. But by Lap 235, he was once again inside the top 10. After green-flag pit stops, he found himself in seventh on Lap 255. After the next cycle of green-flag pit stops, he was in eighth on Lap 300. That is where he restarted with 18 laps remaining after one final caution. He went on to finish sixth.