Skip to content

Johnson takes over Chase lead with four races to go

Oct 20, 2013, 6:45 PM EST

Camping World RV Sales 500 Getty Images

For the first time in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup, Matt Kenseth is not leading the championship.

Jimmie Johnson‘s 13th-place result in today’s Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway seems a bit lacking after he led a race-high 47 laps. However, it was enough to take the Chase lead from Kenseth, who, like Johnson, ran up front early but finished 20th at the checkered flag.

With four races remaining in the post-season, Johnson now leads by four points over Kenseth as the Chase heads from the Sprint Cup Series’ biggest track to its smallest – the .526-mile Martinsville Speedway – for next week’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 powered by Kroger.

Johnson had hoped to continue what had been a strong run as of late on restrictor plate tracks, but found himself shuffled out of the lead pack as the race wound down.

“The outside lane got going and everyone jumped up in it, and you just don’t know if people are going to chase the bottom or the top,” Johnson told ESPN afterwards. “When I saw the 1 car [race winner Jamie McMurray] have the lead, then you figured the 1 and the 88 [runner-up Dale Earnhardt Jr.] would take the top. And as that developed, I was on the bottom lane and worked my way to the middle lane.

“I was able to maintain for a while and then everyone went single-file at the top, and I just dropped like a rock…But we rallied back, got a few more spots, and most importantly, got back in front of the 20 [Kenseth] and missed the [last-lap] wreck on the backstretch.”

As for Kenseth, who was one of the top drivers in the first half of the race, he tumbled from the lead pack with an ill-handling car in the middle stages. Toward the end, he was able to charge back into the Top 5, only to fade once more.

“It was really bizarre,” Kenseth said of his car’s evil ways. “Typically, handling is a non-issue here and we just got so loose, I couldn’t hang on to it. I pretty much had to run in the back for two runs which was disappointing.

“We finally got it fixed on the last run, but we only had 20 laps to get back up there and I really needed to be up there like we were early and kind of feel like I was controlling the race more, controlling the lanes, the runs and all of that. I could never get back to there.”

When asked about losing the Chase lead, Kenseth said the matter wouldn’t affect him or his team’s focus.

“I honestly feel like we can race with anybody when we’re at our best,” he said.  “So hopefully, we’ll be at our best the next four weeks and give ‘em a run for their money.”

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR Canadian Tire Series 2015 schedule released

    Dec 18, 2014, 9:51 PM EST

    Canadian tire series logo

    It lasts only four months, but there’ll be lots of action on the schedule for the 2015 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

  2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to do a little pre-Christmas dirt tracking Saturday in Illinois

    Dec 18, 2014, 9:26 PM EST

    (Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be slinging some pre-Christmas dirt this Saturday in an all-star sprint car race in DuQuoin, Ill.

  3. Kurt Busch sponsor supports him ‘110 percent’ in dispute with ex-girlfriend

    Dec 18, 2014, 8:50 PM EST

    (Jerry Markland/Getty Images) Getty Images

    One of Kurt Busch’s sponsors has joined team owner Gene Haas in backing the driver in his ongoing dispute with ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.

  4. Have a good laugh: Check out NASCAR America’s 2014 blooper reel (video)

    Dec 18, 2014, 6:31 PM EST

    NASCAR America

    Want to have a good laugh or two? Check out all of the bloopers and behind-the-scenes fun from NASCAR America over this past year.

  5. NASCAR suspends Camping World Truck Series crew member

    Dec 18, 2014, 6:18 PM EST

    nascar logo 2014

    NASCAR announced that a Camping World Truck Series crew member has been suspended for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.

  6. WATCH: Race of Champions at 7 p.m. ET kicks off motors evening on NBCSN

    Dec 18, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    ROA_Twitter_Promo

    RoC, Mecum, and two F1 “Road To:” specials make for motors block on NBCSN tonight starting at 7 p.m. ET.

  7. IndyCar champ Will Power’s hidden talent — breakdancing

    Dec 18, 2014, 4:15 PM EST

    penske file power montoya 2014

    Will Power is a closet breakdancer? Who knew? Find out in the latest edition of The Penske Files.

  8. Sauber’s new C34 chassis has passed crash test

    Dec 18, 2014, 4:00 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Brazil Getty Images

    Sauber’s 2015 car is the second to pass crash test.

  9. Ganassi’s IndyCar, NASCAR stars set for another Rolex 24

    Dec 18, 2014, 3:28 PM EST

    PruettCOTAWin Getty Images

    No Franchitti in 2015 as CGR announces Rolex 24 lineup.

  10. Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud will head to Super Bowl with Verizon

    Dec 18, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Pagenaud AP

    Penske’s newest star to head to NFL’s biggest game.

  11. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 13 – Chase Elliott wins final Nationwide Series championship at record age

    Dec 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

    In less than one year, Chase Elliott went from the driver of a start-up team to the youngest champion in NASCAR history.

  12. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 16 Aric Almirola

    Dec 18, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Oral-B USA 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Almirola broke into the Chase for the Sprint Cup with a rain-shortened win at Daytona in the summer.

  13. F1: Hamilton, Alonso engineers on the move

    Dec 18, 2014, 12:45 PM EST

    Alonso and Hamilton were teammates at McLaren back in 2007 (© Getty Images) Getty Images

    The engineer market is busy in F1, as well.

  14. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 15 Kasey Kahne

    Dec 18, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    (Ethan Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Kasey Kahne struggled at times in 2014, but there’s great promise for 2015 with a new contract, new crew chief and an extension from his primary sponsor.

  15. CVC adds di Montezemolo, Walsh to Board of Directors for F1; Bernie stays on

    Dec 18, 2014, 11:46 AM EST

    MontezemoloBoard AP

    Di Montezemolo and Walsh now part of F1’s controlling shareholder Board of Directors.

  16. Menards stays on as NASCAR XFINITY sponsor for RCR

    Dec 18, 2014, 11:11 AM EST

    MenardsNXS Getty Images

    Menards stays with RCR’s XFINITY program.

  17. Flying Lizards head to PWC with McLaren

    Dec 18, 2014, 9:56 AM EST

    Photo: McLaren Photo: McLaren

    New cars, series for sports car stalwart team.

  18. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Southern Modified Tour release expanded 2015 schedules

    Dec 17, 2014, 8:47 PM EST

    nbc whelen modified tour logo

    NASCAR revealed the 2015 schedules for the Whelen Modified Tour and its Southwest Modified Tour, including a first-time visit at the legendary Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway.

Video from NASCAR America

NASCAR America's 2014 blooper reel
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. A. Self (1883)
  2. D. Suarez (1692)
  3. M. Tifft (1664)
  4. J. Boston (1607)
  5. C. Coughlin (1605)
  1. K. Busch (1528)
  2. K. Busch (1351)
  3. B. Vickers (1333)
  4. D. Armstrong (1014)
  5. K. Larson (944)