Skip to content

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

Nov 3, 2013, 11:16 PM EDT

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. Mario Andretti gets the USGP weekend started with COTA Twitter takeover

    Oct 31, 2014, 11:21 AM EDT

    Italy F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Mario Andretti takes time out of a busy schedule for fan Q&A for Circuit of the Americas.

  2. This weekend, Helio Castroneves on sidelines as girlfriend runs NYC Marathon

    Oct 31, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    The Blacks' Annual Gala 2014 Getty Images

    Adriana Henao is running to raise money for actor Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization and The Long Run to Haiti.

  3. WATCH LIVE: FP1 for the United States GP

    Oct 31, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    F1 US Grand Prix Auto Racing AP

    Watch first practice from COTA live on Live Extra from 11a ET today.

  4. NASCAR: Elliott Sadler jumping to Roush for 2015 XFINITY Series season

    Oct 31, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Credit: Roush Fenway Racing Credit: Roush Fenway Racing

    Former Sprint Cup veteran will bring his OneMain Financial sponsorship with him.

  5. From GP3 to F1, it’s been quite a year for Daniil Kvyat

    Oct 31, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Russia Getty Images

    After just one year in F1, Kvyat will be replacing four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next season. Not bad going!

  6. Extreme Speed gearing up for overseas WEC debut

    Oct 31, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Photo: Extreme Speed Motorsports Photo: Extreme Speed Motorsports

    Extreme Speed takes its HPDs to Shanghai for the FIA WEC race.

  7. FIA confirms changes to qualifying format in Austin

    Oct 31, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-JPN-F1 Getty Images

    Four cars will drop out in Q1 and Q2 to account for the absence of both Caterham and Marussia at COTA.

  8. Grosjean reveals Lotus escape clause

    Oct 30, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    GrosjeanAUS AP

    Romain Grosjean can opt out of Lotus at year’s end if he so desires.

  9. Button hit with five-place grid penalty for Austin

    Oct 30, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-RUS Getty Images

    British driver forced to change his gearbox for this weekend’s race at COTA.

  10. Johnny Sauter is fastest in both Truck practices at Texas

    Oct 30, 2014, 6:39 PM EDT

    (Sean Gardner/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway) Getty Images

    Johnny Sauter was fastest in both NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practices Thursday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway.

  11. NASCAR America video: Top five drivers to watch in Texas

    Oct 30, 2014, 6:06 PM EDT

    (Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images) Getty Images

    On Thursday’s NASCAR America, Rusty Wallace gave his top five drivers to watch in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Texas. Rusty’s pick for the winner? Jeff Gordon.

  12. Alonso speaks of “ambitious plan” for his racing future

    Oct 30, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Qualifying Getty Images

    Spaniard says that his future is not his first priority, and that all of the events of the past few months have gone as planned.

  13. NASCAR America video: Who has the best chance in Texas?

    Oct 30, 2014, 5:58 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

    On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, Rick Allen and Rusty Wallace discussed what are Carl Edwards’ and Jeff Gordon’s chances Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

  14. Kaltenborn “beyond the stage of frustration” over F1’s cost crisis

    Oct 30, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-SIN-F1 Getty Images

    Sauber team boss has long warned about the problems blighting Formula 1.

  15. Hamilton excited by F1’s profile and growth in the USA

    Oct 30, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton AP

    British driver speaks about his appearance on NBC’s TODAY Show and his trip to New York City.

  16. Hamilton questions fairness of double points

    Oct 30, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel AP

    Lewis Hamilton politely questions double points.

  17. 2014 United States Grand Prix Preview

    Oct 30, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton AP

    As the end of the 2014 Formula 1 season draws near, the sport ventures to the United States for one of the most popular races of the year in Austin, Texas.

  18. Watch NASCAR America LIVE at 5 pm ET: Texas 3-step, Harvick’s 500th, up-and-coming Quiroga, lots more

    Oct 30, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    Things are always bigger and better in Texas, and we live up to that with the big show we have planned for Thursday’s NASCAR America.

  19. Miles explains IndyCar’s 2015 schedule changes, clashes

    Oct 30, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    TorontoLeadPts Getty Images

    Date changes, date equity, and broadcast windows play key role in shaping 2015 IndyCar schedule.

  20. What does the future hold for F1 in the United States?

    Oct 30, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    F1 United State Grand Prix Auto Racing AP

    F1 is booming in the United States, but could the arrival of an American team and an American driver send its popularity off the charts?

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Harvick (1180)
  2. J. Logano (1143)
  3. T. Stewart (1124)
  4. J. McMurray (1114)
  5. D. Hamlin (887)