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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Sunday at ISM Raceway, Jimmie Johnson secured his second top-10 finish in the first four races of the 2019 season.

Starting the race inside the top 15, Johnson broke into the top 10 before the end of Stage 2, earning extra points with a seventh-place finish in the second segment.

The top 10 turned into the top five early in the final segment, and a two-tire pit strategy by No. 48 team crew chief Kevin Meendering briefly put Johnson into the race lead.

“Kevin called a great race,” Johnson said. “It was really tricky with strategy – two tires, four tires, our pit crew had to adjust mid-pit stop one time and go from four to two – and everybody responded really well.”

Ultimately, Johnson and the No. 48 team captured an eighth-place result. After finishes of 24th and 19th at Atlanta and Las Vegas, respectively, the driver was pleased to climb back into the top 10 this week.

“Definitely a solid day for the Ally Chevrolet,” he said. “These guys have been working so hard at Hendrick Motorsports to get us more and more and we took a good step in the right direction.”

Johnson credited the No. 48 team as it “weathered the storm” through various tire strategies and challenges throughout the race.

Though he acknowledged his team and the organization “need to find more” as the season progresses, he knows that hard work is already well underway.

“I look around and I see my teammates digging so deep to get our cars back to where they need to be,” Johnson said, “and I can’t ask for anything more.”