May 25, 2014, 10:39 PM EDT
Jimmie Johnson fans can relax:
As a result and with his 67th career Sprint Cup win, Johnson is now on-track to make this year’s new and revised format for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, of which he’s the defending and six-time champion.
What a relief to end what had been tied for your worst winless start to a season, right, Jimmie?
“Absolutely, it’s great to win,” Johnson told Fox Sports in victory lane. “But I promise you, all the hype and concern and worry was elsewhere, it wasn’t in my head. There are plenty of voices in my head, I’m not going to lie.
“We’ve had a great race team, we’ve had opportunity in front of us and had stuff taken away from us, and we’ve had some bad races, I have to be honest about that, too.”
Johnson, who led 10 different times in Sunday’s race, moves up to third on the Chase-eligible standings and hopes Sunday is the first of many more wins to come.
“It was just a long race, so many things going on,” said Johnson, who snapped an overall 13-race winless streak that dated back to the latter part of last season. “Hopefully this 48 is heading that way and we get those other people thinking about us.”
Johnson, who started from the pole position, led a race-high 165 laps and ultimately won by 1.2 seconds over Harvick.
It was Johnson’s seventh career win at CMS, a new record for most wins by a driver at the 1.5-mile track.
Runner-up Harvick, who had won two of the last three 600s, led 100 laps — only to fall short.
Harvick called out his pit crew for falling short.
“We had a loose wheel and we got behind and it took us the rest of the night to get back up front,” Harvick told Fox Sports. “We’re just shooting ourselves in the foot on pit road and we have to get that cleaned up because we obviously can’t win races even with the fastest car if we make mistakes continuously on pit road. It’s frustrating.”
Kenseth, who led 33 laps, said he just wasn’t able to hold off Johnson from passing him late in the race and motor on to the checkered flag and victory lane.
“I thought we had a top-five car,” Kenseth said. “We had great strategy and great stops. They (his crew) had me in front of (Johnson) but just couldn’t hold them off. We just need to get a little better. … You’re disappointed when you don’t hold them off and don’t come home with a victory, but we were just too tight to hold them off.”
Johnson led after 100 miles, Harvick led after 200 and 300 miles, McMurray led after 400 miles and Keselowski led after 500 miles.
The Sprint Cup points standings saw marginal change in the top-10.
Gordon remains in first place, Kenseth is still in second (11 points behind Gordon), Kyle Busch remains in third and is now tied with Edwards (both -24), Dale Earnhardt Jr. fell to fifth place (-38), Johnson climbs one spot to sixth (-44), Joey Logano fell to seventh (-54), Brian Vickers (-67) moved up two places to eighth, Brad Keselowski moved up two places into a tie for ninth with Ryan Newman (both -71).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Kurt Busch’s bid to become only the second driver to ever complete the “Double” – complete all 1,100 miles between the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 – came up short when his Stewart Haas Racing’s Chevrolet suffered motor failure on Lap 274, 126 laps from the finish.
Busch completed 906 miles of racing before the motor let go on the Charlotte Motor Speedway backstretch. Busch ultimately finished 40th on the 43-driver grid.
“The motor blew,” Busch told Fox Sports’ Jeff Hammond. “It acted like it swallowed three cylinders all at once, so it was real slow. It’s kind of a shame. It almost symbolizes how tough it’s been on the Haas Automation team. We gave it our all and were clawing our way back up.
“To feel the stock car right after driving an Indy car was a day I’ll never forget. And I can’t let the mood here with the car dampen with what happened up in Indy today. It was very special.”
Busch’s team co-owner, Tony Stewart, remains the only driver to complete both ends of the so-called “Double,” doing so in 2001.
“The Stewart-Haas guys gave me a good car tonight and the motor just went. Sometimes, that just happens.”
While upset at falling short of achieving his goal, Busch took the motor failure in stride.
“All-in-all, I’m satisfied,” he said. “I gave it my all.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Busch’s SHR teammate Danica Patrick wasn’t satisfied in her day, finishing 39th.
First, after quick repairs by her team allowed her to come back after being rammed in the back of her Chevy during Marcos Ambrose’s spin on Lap 235, Patrick’s day also ended early.
Patrick’s car was already operating with at least one cylinder down during much of the race. Prior to that happening, she had been challenging pole-sitter Jimmie Johnson for the lead early on.
But then came Lap 286, 12 laps after Busch’s motor blew up, and Patrick’s motor followed suit.
“Sorry guys, it’s definitely not what we had wanted, but we did some good things this weekend,” Patrick told her crew over the team radio.
Patrick was hoping for a second strong finish, having wound up with a career-best seventh-place finish two weeks ago at Kansas.
She had been optimistic coming into Sunday’s race after qualifying fourth and ranking in the top 10 in both final practice sessions on Saturday.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The first big wreck of Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 occurred on Lap 235 of the 400-lap event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Marcos Ambrose’s Ford spun. Patrick was close to avoiding the incident until Brian Scott couldn’t slow down in time, making contact with Patrick’s car and sending her into the wall, suffering moderate damage on her Chevrolet.
“Idiot,” Patrick said over her team radio. “I mean, really, who the hell did not see that coming?”
Earlier in the race on Lap 160, David Gilliland‘s day came to an abrupt end when he apparently cut down a tire and slammed into the wall.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Also of note, Jeff Gordon came into the race still suffering from back spasms that caused him to cut short his first practice run and completely miss the entire second practice session Saturday.
Even though Regan Smith was on standby to replace him if needed, Gordon managed to stay in the event for its entirety, finishing seventh.
“It was better than Saturday morning, that’s what I was thankful for,” Gordon said of how his back felt. “There were procedures and different work … there was quite a few people that were tending to me, and I appreciate every one of them and I don’t think I would have gotten through this long race (without their efforts).
“It was a good effort, I’m happy I got through it. It tells me what kind of threshold I have and I just wanted to show this team the kind of commitment I have to them because of what they’ve shown me this year.”
Follow me @JerryBonkowski
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Coca-Cola 600
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Concord, North Carolina
Sunday, May 25, 2014
1. (1) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 400, $465626.
2. (11) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 400, $304313.
3. (12) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 400, $249941.
4. (22) Carl Edwards, Ford, 400, $174980.
5. (26) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 400, $186219.
6. (16) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 400, $166870.
7. (27) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 400, $169906.
8. (21) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 400, $150834.
9. (7) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 400, $164761.
10. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 400, $166653.
11. (13) Aric Almirola, Ford, 400, $154546.
12. (8) Joey Logano, Ford, 400, $151501.
13. (18) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 400, $148468.
14. (3) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 399, $131660.
15. (42) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 399, $121260.
16. (32) Austin Dillon #, Chevrolet, 399, $156696.
17. (5) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 399, $146026.
18. (25) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 398, $134680.
19. (10) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 398, $115460.
20. (14) Trevor Bayne(i), Ford, 398, $103435.
21. (24) Greg Biffle, Ford, 398, $146385.
22. (6) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 398, $112985.
23. (20) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 398, $121518.
24. (34) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 398, $126643.
25. (15) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 398, $129593.
26. (23) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 397, $137310.
27. (31) Cole Whitt #, Toyota, 397, $96960.
28. (39) Michael Annett #, Chevrolet, 396, $113893.
29. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 396, $126255.
30. (30) Michael McDowell, Ford, 396, $97685.
31. (35) David Ragan, Ford, 395, $118793.
32. (19) Brian Scott(i), Chevrolet, 395, $108457.
33. (29) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, 392, $98760.
34. (38) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, 390, $106135.
35. (43) Blake Koch(i), Ford, 390, $95485.
36. (40) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 382, $95385.
37. (17) Justin Allgaier #, Chevrolet, 378, $103154.
38. (36) Ryan Truex #, Toyota, Engine, 303, $89350.
39. (4) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, Engine, 281, $95850.
40. (28) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, Engine, 271, $81350.
41. (37) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Accident, 229, $77350.
42. (41) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Engine, 162, $73350.
43. (33) David Gilliland, Ford, Accident, 160, $77850.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 145.484 mph.
Time of Race: 4 Hrs, 07 Mins, 27 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.272 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 8 for 44 laps.
Lead Changes: 34 among 9 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Johnson 0; B. Keselowski 1; J. Johnson 2-47; B. Keselowski 48-49; J. Johnson 50-75; K. Harvick 76-95; J. Johnson 96-97; K. Harvick 98-108; J. Johnson 109; K. Harvick 110-149; J. Johnson 150-164; B. Keselowski 165-191; K. Harvick 192-212; J. Gordon 213; D. Earnhardt Jr. 214; J. McMurray 215; K. Harvick 216-223; J. Johnson 224; D. Earnhardt Jr. 225-236; J. McMurray 237-240; M. Kenseth 241; J. McMurray 242-270; M. Kenseth 271-276; J. Gordon 277; J. Johnson 278-293; M. Kenseth 294-311; J. Johnson 312-330; B. Keselowski 331-343; A. Almirola 344; J. Johnson 345-373; J. Gordon 374-375; C. Edwards 376-379; J. Gordon 380-383; M. Kenseth 384-391; J. Johnson 392-400.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Johnson 10 times for 164 laps; K. Harvick 5 times for 100 laps; B. Keselowski 4 times for 43 laps; J. McMurray 3 times for 34 laps; M. Kenseth 4 times for 33 laps; D. Earnhardt Jr. 2 times for 13 laps; J. Gordon 4 times for 8 laps; C. Edwards 1 time for 4 laps; A. Almirola 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 16 in Points: J. Gordon – 432; M. Kenseth – 421; Kyle Busch – 408; C. Edwards – 408; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 394; J. Johnson – 388; J. Logano – 378; B. Vickers – 365; B. Keselowski – 361; R. Newman – 361; G. Biffle – 351; K. Harvick – 345; K. Larson # – 344; D. Hamlin – 340; A. Dillon # – 334; P. Menard – 328.
Sep 1, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
Kahne to NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan: “We need to build off of this…As a team, we need to be stronger together.”
Sep 1, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT
NASCAR AMERICA’S Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman believe that the three-time Sprint Cup champion handled himself well throughout a difficult weekend.
Sep 1, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
Organizers of the Russian Grand Prix appear to be getting behind their countryman as F1’s first visit to Sochi draws closer.
Sep 1, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT
Richie Crampton, Alexis DeJoria, Shane Gray and Eddie Krawiec captured U.S. Nationals wins on Monday.
Sep 1, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
Coming up today: Highlights from Kasey Kahne’s clutch Atlanta win; assessing Tony Stewart’s comeback; the Chase outlook with one regular season race left; more problems in pits for Kevin Harvick.
Sep 1, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT
Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of this weekend’s TORC: The Off-Road Championship season finale at Crandon, Wisconsin. NBCSN will air the races this Saturday, Sept. 6, at 3:30 p.m. ET. If you don’t want to know who won until then, we suggest you find another post to read here on MotorSportsTalk…
Sep 1, 2014, 3:11 PM EDT
For Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson, winning on Saturday night will be all that matters if they want a spot in the Chase.
Sep 1, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing end as the top single-car teams in 2014, before merging in 2015.
Sep 1, 2014, 1:38 PM EDT
Kasey Kahne saves his season in Atlanta, while Will Power changes his career in Fontana.
Sep 1, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Carlos Munoz takes home the top rookie honors after a successful first full season in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Sep 1, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
Honda’s motorsport chief provides an update on the company’s F1 engine progress.
Sep 1, 2014, 10:27 AM EDT
IndyCar championship banquet goes off quickly, smoothly with a good bit of humor.
Sep 1, 2014, 1:25 AM EDT
The result beats her previous high water mark of seventh this past May at Kansas.
Sep 1, 2014, 1:10 AM EDT
HAMPTON, Ga. — It was a rough night for a number of drivers in Sunday’s Oral-B USA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta, including Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Marcos Ambrose.
Sep 1, 2014, 12:43 AM EDT
Matt Kenseth enters the post-season with a second place result, while Clint Bowyer finds himself outside the Chase Grid going into next Saturday’s regular season finale.
Sep 1, 2014, 12:14 AM EDT
HAMPTON, Ga. – Kasey Kahne’s 17th career Sprint Cup win couldn’t have been any larger.
Aug 31, 2014, 10:07 PM EDT
HAMPTON, Ga. – It was not the comeback that Tony Stewart had hoped for.
Aug 31, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT
Tony Stewart’s return to competition tonight at Atlanta Motor Speedway has encountered some trouble after a restart run-in with “Rowdy.”
Schumacher (TF), Hagan (FC), Line (PS), Krawiec (PSM) ones to beat in Monday’s NHRA U.S. Nationals finals
Aug 31, 2014, 9:08 PM EDT
Following Sunday’s final round of qualifying, Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) will lead their respective classes as No. 1 qualifiers for Monday’s final eliminations of the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
Aug 31, 2014, 7:28 PM EDT
HAMPTON, Ga. — There was no question which driver received the most applause and cheers during driver introductions prior to the start of Sunday night’s Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Video from NASCAR America
- NASCAR AMERICA: Assessing Tony Stewart’s return at Atlanta (VIDEO) 0
- Feelin’ free: Frustrations end for Chase-bound Kahne, IndyCar champ Power 1
- Honda preps for first simulations, expresses confidence it can match Mercedes 4
- Kenseth clinches Chase berth; Bowyer falls out of Grid with one race to go 1
- Kasey Kahne rallies in last 2 laps to win at Atlanta, makes Chase 1
- Tony Stewart’s comeback hopes end with rough 41st-place finish at Atlanta 2
- Tony Stewart the obvious fan favorite during pre-race introductions at Atlanta 3