Skip to content

Johnson takes over Chase lead with four races to go

Oct 20, 2013, 6:45 PM EDT

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. Hamilton recovers in FP2 to edge out Alonso and Rosberg

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:32 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Mercedes returns to the top of the timesheets, but Ferrari and Alonso are in close company.

  2. WATCH LIVE: Alonso looks to double up in Shanghai

    Apr 18, 2014, 1:45 AM EDT

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Can Mercedes fight back and resume normal service?

  3. Alonso fastest in first practice for Chinese GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:32 PM EDT

    Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain arrives for a news conference ahead of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit Reuters

    Spanish driver ends Mercedes streak of first place finishes, but teammate Kimi Raikkonen fails to post a time.

  4. NASCAR AMERICA: Can Gene Haas succeed with an American-based F1 team?

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:58 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the expectations for Gene Haas as he looks to start a F1 team. The pair question whether an F1 team can be run successfully out of the United States.

  5. NASCAR AMERICA: Kyle Petty — Some of this year’s top rookies mark changing of the guard in NASCAR

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT

    nascar america

    NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the emergence of some of this year’s top rookies on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America. Petty says it is time for a changing of the guard, as many of today’s most successful drivers are nearing the end of their careers.

  6. Alabama Gang rides again with Justin Allison at Talladega

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT

    The original Alabama Gang. Justin Allison is now the latest member of the gang, turning his first laps at legendary Talladega Superspeedway during an ARCA test there Tuesday and Wednesday. (Photo courtesy JustinAllisonRacing.com) The original Alabama Gang. Justin Allison is now the latest member of the gang, turning his first laps at legendary Talladega Superspeedway during an ARCA test there Tuesday and Wednesday. (Photo courtesy JustinAllisonRacing.com)

    The latest generation of NASCAR’s fabled Alabama Gang rode again in its debut Tuesday and Wednesday at Talladega Superspeedway. Justin Allison, grandson of Donnie Allison and grandnephew of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, both original members of the Alabama Gang, took part in a two-day test of ARCA drivers at NASCAR’s largest oval track.

  7. Ford Racing has some fun to celebrate Mustang’s 50th anniversary (video)

    Apr 17, 2014, 5:32 PM EDT

    (Photo and video courtesy of Ford Racing) (Photo and video courtesy of Ford Racing)

    Whether you like it or not, you can’t say the Ford Mustang doesn’t have staying power. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, the Mustang has become one of the premier muscle car brands ever made by Detroit.

  8. NASCAR has shown outstanding parity through first eight races of 2014

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    Kevin Harvick is the only two-time winner thus far in the first eight races of the 2014 Sprint Cup season. AP

    NASCAR chairman Brian France’s unwavering stance to bring parity to the sport during his 10-year tenure is finally paying dividends.

  9. VIDEO: Chinese GP Paddock Pass

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Alonso

    News and notes from the ground in China from NBCSN’s Will Buxton.

  10. BREAKING NEWS: Swan Racing’s future in NASCAR in question

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

    Swan Getty Images

    Just eight races into the Sprint Cup season, the future of the two-car Swan Racing team is looking rather murky, with the potential of everything from reorganization to scaling back involvement, if not outright shutting down.

  11. MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Chinese GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    F1 heads to China with change in the wind, only making the predictions harder for our experts.

  12. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET — Gene Haas, Kyle Larson, Scan All 43

    Apr 17, 2014, 2:06 PM EDT

    140417-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Thursday on NASCAR AMERICA, the team will cover a lot of ground, including talking with NASCAR team owner Gene Haas about his foray into Formula One. Rick Allen and Kyle Petty man the anchor desk from our Charlotte studio. Remember to tune in at at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra for your online or mobile device.

  13. Long Beach weekend atmosphere thrills Roger Daltrey, as he promotes Teen Cancer America

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT

    All photos: Honda/LAT All photos: Honda/LAT

    The Who founder and lead singer paid a visit to Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, and soaked it all in while also raising awareness for Teen Cancer America.

  14. Young go-kart racer shows what true racing and determination is all about

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT

    Screen-Shot-2014-04-17-at-2.25

    The Internet is like coming to a strange five-way intersection that you’ve never seen before. No matter which way you decide to go, you’re bound to find something new and different. So as we were looking for something else, we stumbled upon this video of 7-year-old go-kart racer Ryan Rifredi in a race from December…

  15. Button has faith in Haas Formula and second US GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    2009 world champion believes that if anyone can make an American F1 team work, it’s Gene Haas.

  16. Vettel focusing on damage limitation in China

    Apr 17, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    Defending world champion banking on a top five finish in China.

  17. Rosberg and Hamilton set to talk about Bahrain battle

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Hamilton of Britain is congratulated by Rosberg of Germany on the podium after he won the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir Reuters

    Rosberg felt that Hamilton overstepped the mark with one of his moves in Bahrain.

  18. Alonso: We’re ready to fight back in China

    Apr 17, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    After Stefano Domenicali’s departure, there’s a change in the wind at Ferrari.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. McMurray (16648)
  2. K. Harvick (5698)
  3. M. McDowell (2911)
  4. C. Edwards (1513)
  5. A. Seuss (1324)