The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway was supposed to be a battle between Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth for the Championship. The AAA Texas 500 from Texas was supposed to just be a race where they both ran neck and neck. It didn’t quite work out that way.
Jimmie Johnson started the race third but quickly passed everyone to take the lead. Jimmie Johnson quite simply dominated the race. He led 255 laps of 334. The second most laps since Tony Stewart led 278 in 2006.
Even when Johnson, because of a slightly slow pit stop or difference in pit strategy by other teams got behind, he simply drove right back to the front of the pack. That is how good Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team were.
“It was all of that. We came here and tested and did an awesome job of understanding what I needed in the car and what was going to create speed.” Johnson added, “We came back and had a very smooth qualifying session and practice sessions yesterday, and just kept putting more and more speed in the car. It paid off today.”
Matt Kenseth was also supposed to be good at Texas and in reality he was pretty good but Johnson was just that good. He was able to recover from getting caught speeding on pit road to finish fourth turning what looked like was going to be a disaster into a great finish.
Jimmie Johnson now leads Matt Kenseth by seven points in the standings for the Chase for the Sprint Cup going into the second to last race at Phoenix International Raceway. Jimmie isn’t resting on his laurels though.
Johnson said, “You can’t do it. You have to go racing. Last year, we had the lead leaving here and had two bad races. We have to go to Phoenix and have a very strong race, and then back that up with another one at Homestead. It still isn’t over until the last lap at Homestead.”
Matt Kenseth isn’t done yet and is ready to have at Johnson again next week.
“The strategy part is really easy. As the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) has proven time and time again, if you’re going to win a championship you have to win races and you have to go through him.” Kenseth added, “We’ve had the same strategy since the first race of the Chase to the last one. You go try to qualify the best you can, lead as many laps as you can and try to win the race.”
Though Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth are not tied in the standings it isn’t over. We are going to have a very close championship battle for the next two weeks. It’s going to be a good one.