Skip to content

Johnson hoping that this time, his seven-point lead after Texas holds up

Nov 3, 2013, 11:16 PM EST

AAA Texas 500 Getty Images

After he won last fall at Texas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson led the Sprint Cup championship by seven points over Brad Keselowski. One year later, Johnson finds himself in largely the same situation.

After thrashing the competition in today’s AAA Texas 500, he’s leading the championship once again by seven points going into next Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. But Johnson hopes that this year won’t end like last year did.

Last fall at PIR, his right front tire blew out and caused him to crash with 77 laps to go. Johnson had to spend time in the garage for repairs and finished 32nd that day, and the incident opened the door for Keselowski to take the championship lead with a sixth-place finish.

The Penske Racing pilot would then go on to clinch the 2012 title in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Of course, with Keselowski being unable to qualify for the Chase, there’s a new obstacle standing between Johnson and a sixth Cup championship this year: Matt Kenseth, who finished fourth today to keep pace.

Johnson said that he feels better this year about going to PIR than he did last year, but noted that his gut feelings about winning a championship hasn’t always come true.

“It’s so weird, because I’ve been in position before where I’ve had these amazing sensations and feelings that a championship was going to happen, and we were able to do it for those five years in a row,” he said. “There were other years where I had those feelings, and it didn’t happen.

“I think 2004, we had everything going our way it seemed like, and it didn’t happen. Last year was another good example of us taking control late in the Chase, and then that ended with two bad races.”

With that in mind, Johnson plans to keep doing what he’s been doing even though the game with Kenseth is now basically mano-a-mano.

“I guess the lesson in all of that is I’m not counting on anything, and I have to go to Phoenix and race – same [for] Homestead,” he said.

“…I’m not going to get too excited about things during the course of the week. I’m going to work real hard and train my butt off. Stay in this little world that I’ve been living in for the last five or six months, but more so, the last eight weeks, and show up ready to go these next two weeks.”

Latest Posts
  1. Ricciardo expecting good battle with Kvyat next year

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ENG-SILVERSTONE Getty Images

    Daniel Ricciardo is looking forward to racing alongside Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull next year, believing that the young Russian will pose a good challenge during his sophomore F1 season. Kvyat made his Formula 1 debut at the beginning of 2014, but has been fast-tracked to Red Bull for 2015 following Sebastian Vettel’s decision to leave the…

  2. Hulkenberg’s Porsche drive a great showcase for modern versatility

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    HulkPorsche2 Getty Images

    Nico Hulkenberg and Porsche: a win for both the WEC and F1 in a rare moment of motorsport unity for the common good.

  3. F1 2014 Driver Review: Daniel Ricciardo

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    What a year it was for Daniel Ricciardo in his first season at Red Bull.

  4. Hamilton: Second F1 title takes career another step forward

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRITAIN-HAMILTON Getty Images

    Talks about a new contract with Mercedes should be brought forwards after title win.

  5. F1 2014 Driver Review: Nico Rosberg

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Austria F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    A worthy title contender, Nico Rosberg enjoyed his most successful season to date in 2014.

  6. F1 2014 Driver Review: Lewis Hamilton

    Nov 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    2014 saw the Briton become a two-time F1 world champion, winning 11 races.

  7. Raikkonen confident 2015 will hold better things for Ferrari

    Nov 28, 2014, 7:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Practice Getty Images

    A new regime will come into force at Maranello next season following a disappointing campaign in 2014.

  8. Susie Wolff promoted to test driver at Williams for 2015

    Nov 28, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Practice Getty Images

    British racer will remain with Williams for 2015 after becoming the first woman to take part in a grand prix weekend session in 22 years over the summer.

  9. Famed NHRA team owner Don Schumacher undergoes cancer surgery

    Nov 27, 2014, 8:46 PM EST

    Don Schumacher and daughter Megan. (Photo courtesy ShoeRacing.com) Don Schumacher and daughter Megan. (Photo courtesy ShoeRacing.com)

    NHRA team owner Don Schumacher underwent surgery Wednesday for early-stage skin cancer.

  10. Is the world ready for another Rowdy Busch? Kyle, Samantha hint a baby boy is on the way

    Nov 27, 2014, 8:04 PM EST

    (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

    NASCAR star Kyle Busch and wife Samantha dropped a very big hint that their first child may be a boy.

  11. IndyCar’s Graham Rahal, NHRA’s Courtney Force engaged

    Nov 27, 2014, 7:28 PM EST

    (Photo: Allen Berezovsky/WireImage) (Photo: Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)

    IndyCar driver Graham Rahal and NHRA driver Courtney Force announced their engagement Thursday in Venice, Italy.

  12. Police seek cause of death of race fan found near Talladega

    Nov 27, 2014, 5:57 PM EST

    Theresa Benn (Photo courtesy Lincoln, Ala. Police Department) Theresa Benn (Photo courtesy Lincoln, Ala. Police Department)

    Police continue to investigate the cause of death of Theresa Benn, who had been missing more than a month before her body was found last week near Talladega Superspeedway.

  13. MST exclusive: BK Racing co-owner Anthony Marlowe apologizes for Cole Whitt/David Ragan tweet controversy

    Nov 27, 2014, 3:23 PM EST

    (Photo courtesy Anthony Marlowe/Twitter) (Photo courtesy Anthony Marlowe/Twitter)

    BK Racing minority owner Anthony Marlowe offers a public apology to MotorSportsTalk on his inadvertent tweet of Cole Whitt replacing David Ragan in the No. 34 car for 2015.

  14. Give thanks: NASCAR announcer Steve Byrnes shows ‘progress’ in cancer battle

    Nov 27, 2014, 2:16 PM EST

    Steve Byrnes Steve Byrnes

    Steve Byrnes of Fox Sports gave friends and family a promising Thanksgiving update about his battle with Stage 4 head-and-neck cancer.

  15. Hulkenberg confirmed for Porsche LMP1 at Spa and Le Mans

    Nov 27, 2014, 10:45 AM EST

    Canadian F1 Grand Prix - Previews Getty Images

    Hulkenberg gets an LMP1 opportunity with Porsche at Spa and Le Mans next season.

  16. What we’re thankful for in the motorsports world, 2014

    Nov 27, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Irwin Tools Night Race Getty Images

    What we’re thankful across the wide spectrum of motorsports in 2014.

  17. Spend Black Friday doing a few laps on Charlotte Motor Speedway

    Nov 26, 2014, 11:01 PM EST

    (AP Photo/Terry Renna) AP

    If you’re in the Charlotte area and want to have a great Black Friday experience, head on over to Charlotte Motor Speedway, where for a donation, you can drive on the actual racetrack.

  18. Sam Hornish Jr. has much to be thankful for: new home, renewed Sprint Cup hopes with Richard Petty Motorsports

    Nov 26, 2014, 8:56 PM EST

    (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) AP

    Sam Hornish Jr. has a lot to give thanks for this Thanksgiving, most notably a new ride and a new lease on his Sprint Cup driving life with Richard Petty Motorsports.

  19. NBCSN presents 14-hour ‘MECUM MARATHON’ on Thanksgiving Day

    Nov 26, 2014, 4:40 PM EST

    mecum dealmakers

    NBCSN will present a 14-hour ‘Mecum Marathon’ starting Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.

  20. Simon Pagenaud’s Ayrton Senna tribute helmet to be auctioned off

    Nov 26, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Getty Images

    Simon Pagenaud’s Indy 500 Senna tribute helmet to be auctioned for Ayrton Senna Foundation.

Video from NASCAR America

Kevin Harvick's well deserved Sprint Cup
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (1596)
  2. J. McMurray (1588)
  3. T. Stewart (1533)
  4. J. Johnson (1042)
  5. A. Dillon (1018)