Johnson in Sprint Cup Lead With Two Races to Go
With only two more races to go – AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix and Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead – the competitive spirit in the Chase for the Sprint Cup is reaching fever pitch. Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway saw Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski fight to the finish, with Johnson taking the checkered flag and Keselowski hot on his heels. His first place finish in the AAA Texas 500 has Johnson in the lead for the Sprint Cup Championship with 2339 points. Kyle Busch took third place, with Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart taking fourth and fifth.
Although Johnson led for 168 laps in the 334 lap race, it was in the final restart of three in the race that Johnson made the move that put him in first place. Johnson and Keselowski were side-by-side on the restart in the second-last lap when Johnson pushed his #48 Chevrolet hard on the outside, clearing Keselowski on the backstretch and staying in the lead for the final one-and-a-half laps. This was the second week in a row that Johnson won from the pole and his win put him into the lead in the standings by 7 points.
Keselowski had fallen from first to ninth place in his #2 Dodge after being delayed in a pit stop when blocked by Danica Patrick’s car. He took only left-side tires when all other drivers took four tires and he restarted in the lead with 19 laps of the race to go and gained the ground he had lost. A second restart with eight laps to go saw the position between the two rivals unchanged, but the third restart left Keselowski in second place as Johnson streaked ahead.
The second restart was as a result of contact between Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle, all of whom continued to finish the race in 14th, 25th and 10th place respectively.
The current top ten in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings are as follows:
1. Jimmie Johnson – 2339 point
2. Brad Keselowski – 2332 points
3. Clint Bowyer – 2303 points
4. Kasey Kahne – 2281 points
5. Matt Kenseth – 2267 points
6. Jeff Gordon – 2267 points
7. Denny Hamlin – 2266 points
8. Tony Stewart – 2259 points
9. Martin Truex Jr – 2259 points
10. Greg Biffle – 2256 points