Cup leader Johnson wins back-to-back races
FORT WORTH, TEXAS
Jimmie Johnson regained the lead on the final restart, beating Brad Keselowski in an ending two-lap shootout to win Sunday at Texas and add to his NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead with two races left.
Johnson led 168 laps, but found himself chasing toward the end. The third restart in the late laps proved to be the charm for No. 48 Chevrolet.
During that restart on the 333rd of 334 laps, Johnson and Keselowski were side-by-side. Johnson charged hard on the outside, and cleared him on the backstretch. He held on for the final 1 Ω laps to win from the pole for the second week in a row.
“It was an awesome race. It’s a great way to do it when the gloves are off and it’s bare-knuckle fighting,” Johnson said. “I got a great restart and got by him. I knew we had the speed if I could just get by him.”
Keselowski had taken only left-side tires — when everybody else took four tires — and went from fourth to first on another restart with 19 laps left. But there were two more restarts after that, including one when Johnson and Keselowski banged together hard after they got going, but Johnson won the one that counted most.
“Man, I thought I had it, but we kept getting all those yellows,” Keselowski said. “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to execute every restart, and Jimmie did a great job on that last one.”
Kyle Busch, who led four times for 80 laps, finished third and Matt Kenseth was fourth.
It was Johnson’s 60th career victory and second at Texas, where he was the runner-up in April.
It also was the 700th NASCAR Sprint Cup victory for Chevy.