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).
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
Remembering the Hendrick Motorsports airplane tragedy: 10 years later, it still seems like just yesterday
Oct 23, 2014, 11:02 PM EDT
This is a column that should never have been written, about an event that never should have happened.
Oct 23, 2014, 8:24 PM EDT
Legendary motorsports team owner and innovator — and Kentucky native — Jack Roush will be inducted this Saturday into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame. Roush was born in Covington, Ky.
Oct 23, 2014, 7:55 PM EDT
On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, Kyle Petty joined Dave Briggs to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash and how the team recovered from it.
Talladega mystery: Did missing woman even make it to NASCAR race? Second fan to disappear in 18 months
Oct 23, 2014, 7:37 PM EDT
For the second time in 18 months, police in the area of Talladega Superspeedway are investigating the disappearance of a race fan who had intended to go to the Sprint Cup race at the 2.66-mile racetrack.
Enrique Contreras III, nephew of Carlos Contreras, to make first NASCAR truck race start at Martinsville
Oct 23, 2014, 7:02 PM EDT
Enrique Contreras III, nephew of veteran Mexican racer Carlos Contreras, will make his NASCAR debut in Saturday’s Camping World Truck Race at Martinsville Speedway.
Oct 23, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT
GTSport Racing returns with Jack Baldwin and Buz McCall.
Oct 23, 2014, 3:37 PM EDT
Martinsville preview on tap in Thursday’s NASCAR AMERICA.
Oct 23, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
Marsh, Cameron on the move to Action Express.
Oct 23, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT
Fernandes claims he didn’t receive full payment for Caterham, the new owners claim they haven’t received their shares, Bernie Ecclestone says he is trying to remedy the situation – but all the while, workers are locked out of the factory, putting the team’s hopes of making Austin in doubt.
Oct 23, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Brendan Gaughan back for another year with RCR in XFINITY.
Oct 23, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Sergio Perez, Felipe Massa and Esteban Gutierrez signed up for COTA fan forum.
Oct 23, 2014, 9:56 AM EDT
Wurth renews for multiyear deal.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:35 PM EDT
Brad Keselowski is flattered people might compare him with the late Dale Earnhardt, but he’ll be the first to say he’s not the new Intimidator in NASCAR.
Oct 22, 2014, 8:18 PM EDT
Perhaps the greatest collection of original Indianapolis 500 pace cars will soon be on display at an upcoming car show in suburban Chicago.
Oct 22, 2014, 7:36 PM EDT
For most Canadians, their homebrewed beer choice is typically Labatts or Molson. But countryman and IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe is starting to get some traction with his own beer brand, Hinchtown Hammer Down (HHD).
Oct 22, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT
On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman took a spin around Martinsville Speedway in the NBC race simulator to show why the paper-clip shaped track can be extremely difficult.
Oct 22, 2014, 4:13 PM EDT
In a stunning move that could potentially threaten his bid for a record-extending 17th NHRA Funny Car championship, John Force announced Wednesday that veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock has resigned, effective immediately.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
Crew chiefs, road crews for Nos. 10 and 41 Stewart-Haas Racing cars will swap starting at Texas.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT
More murky messaging from Leafield as Caterham’s future hangs in the balance.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
When you drive a car that produces nearly 10,000 horsepower and reaches speeds approaching 330 mph, a hurricane with wind speeds over 100 mph is nothing. That was the case Sunday for NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps.
Video from NASCAR America
- Remembering the Hendrick Motorsports airplane tragedy: 10 years later, it still seems like just yesterday 1
- Talladega mystery: Did missing woman even make it to NASCAR race? Second fan to disappear in 18 months 5
- WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET for Martinsville outlook 0
- Caterham could miss Austin as crisis deepens at Leafield 2
- NHRA stunner: Jimmy Prock out as John Force’s crew chief 10
- Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick will swap crews at Stewart-Haas (UPDATED) 14
- Statement from Caterham provides unclear future for team’s plans (UPDATED) 3