Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas on Sunday and took over the lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. If he keeps the lead, Johnson could win a sixth championship.
Johnson secured a dominant victory on Sunday, his first of the season on a 1.5-mile track. He took a seven-point lead over Matt Kenseth in the standings — the same margin he had over Bred Keselowski after winning in Texas last year.
But the Hendrick Motorsports driver hopes this year is different. USA Today reports that Johnson squandered his lead last year, allowing Keselowski to claim the championship. Johnson commented after Sunday’s race:
“I hope history doesn’t repeat itself. That’s the perfect example that this isn’t over until it’s over. Last year we had eight great races and two bad ones [in the Chase]. It’s very important we finish strong.”
Kenseth and Johnson were tied in the Chase going into Texas, though Kenseth was considered the front runner because he has seven victories this year.
However, Johnson led 255 of 334 laps and became only the second three-time Cup winner at the high-banked track. The No. 48 Chevy finished more than four seconds ahead of teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., notes ESPN.
Joey Logano finished third, Kenseth finished fourth, and Kasey Kahne, another Hendrick driver, rounded out the Top 5. Despite finishing first at Texas, Johnson commented that he doesn’t think he has the championship in the bag yet. Instead, the driver explained, “Matt didn’t have maybe the best day, but he still finished fourth. This thing is going to the last lap at Homestead. It’s going to come down to mistake.”
And Johnson hopes he won’t be the driver to make that mistake. Kenseth was running second behind Johnson for most of the race, but was penalized for speeding on pit row. He stated after the race, “We were just being too aggressive. Honestly, the 48 had us… they were just dominant all weekend.”
Do you think Jimmie Johnson can hold onto the Chase lead for a sixth championship win, or will Matt Kenseth retake the lead?