Jimmie Johnson, driving the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, wins the 11th Annual AAA Texas 500, Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson led the final four laps of the race of the mile and a half track for the season sweep after winning the spring race in Texas. Johnson has five victories for the 2015 season.
Johnson has 75 career victories in 505 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Johnson has six wins at Texas with three straight wins dating back to last November and is the third driver in series history to sweep both races at Texas in a single season. Johnson currently is the only driver to make the Chase and win a Chase race since its inception.
“I just like to race guys clean,” said Johnson in victory lane. “I kept working on him (Brad Keselowski) and working on him…He got real loose off of Turn 2 and I had a big run off the top and I went for a big slide job down in Turns 3 and 4 and I got the win. I’m just so excited for everybody back at the Hendrick Motorsports for digging in and working hard. So nice to get this 48 back in victory lane.”
With Johnson gaining the victory, after having been eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in the first round, Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon remains the only driver to secure a spot in the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22. Leaving three positions open for drivers to clinch a berth in the Chase. Each of the seven other Chase drivers needs a win next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway to clinch a spot in the four-driver finale.
Chase drivers finished second through fifth with Keselowski, who started the race on the pole, finishing second after having dominated the day leading 312 of the 334 scheduled laps. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards were third through fifth with solid runs. Sixth through twelfth were as follows Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Austin Dillon, and Erik Jones, who filled in for a suspended Matt Kenseth.
Keselowski was rarely challenged until a restart on lap 316 when Martin Truex Jr., who restarted second, raced him hard taking the lead momentarily before the #78 Chevrolet and #2 Ford bumped going into Turn 1 before Johnson, who restarted third, caught them both. Truex Jr. would fall back after the contact.
“I did everything I could do to hold (Johnson) off but he was so fast in the last run,” said Keselowski. “We really needed to win this one. I know I gave it my all but there’s nothing we could do about this one.”
Kyle Busch is now second in the standings two points behind retiring four-time champion Gordon. Harvick is third in the standings three points behind first and Truex Jr. is fourth, six points behind first. Edwards is fifth, six points behind the fourth place cutoff position. Keselowski is sixth, 19 points behind the fourth place. Kurt Busch is seventh, 28 points behind the cutoff. Joey Logano, who blew a tire on the ninth lap and finished 40th, is eighth 63 points behind the cutoff and will need a victory to advance.
Next weekend the final race with eight drivers in the Chase will be at Phoenix International Raceway for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 with qualifying on Friday, November 13 with coverage on NBCSP beginning at 6:30 p.m ET. Race coverage will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 15 on NBC.