Johnson celebrates another win at CMS
The 55th Annual Coca-Cola 600 came down between two dominant cars on Sunday: Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Lowe's Patriotic Chevrolet and Kevin Harvick's No. 4 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet.
The difference in winning and losing came down to pit road.
Johnson brought home his first victory of the year, aided by his crew's 10 mistake-free stops, and was never far from the front at any point in the race.
Johnson flexed his dominance by winning the pole on Thursday.
He led the most laps (164) Sunday.
"Through the years there has been a lot of references to this race as one of our majors," Johnson said. "I certainly agree with that. Six hundred miles around here is no easy task. To deal with all the things that are thrown at a race team throughout the evening with the track changing, mechanical obstacles, keeping the engine alive, the tires alive, it's a serious team effort. I'm certainly proud of that. ... To have a patriotic paint scheme on our car to say thank you to the families that have lost loved ones and to the men and women out there serving it means something to them and I'm proud to be a part of that."
When Johnson crossed the finish line first he became the most dominant driver ever in the history of points races at CMS.
It was Johnson's seventh points race victory at the track, breaking a tie at the top with NASCAR legends Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.
"That is amazing," Johnson said of the feat. "That is very cool. This is no easy race track to get around and to beat the greats that were before me I'm very proud of that."
It was also Johnson's fourth Coca-Cola 600 victory, which is one behind Waltrip for the most all-time.
The victory virtually locks Johnson into the Chase for the Sprint Cup field. He's the defending series champion and has won six of the last eight titles, including five straight from 2006-2010.
"They know we're awake again," Johnson said of the field. "In winning, it doesn't matter who you are. The 4 car has had that momentum this year. They've been able to go out and execute and show a lot of speed and win. Hopefully this 48 is heading in that direction. We can get those other people thinking about us."
It had been 13 races since his last win victory and he scoffed at the idea that he was worried.
"I mean what 12 races? Give me a break," he said. "Obviously it's a great to win and we are very happy to win here especially in the backyard of Hendrick Motorsports, Lowe's headquarters is just up the road as well. ... We raced up front all night long."
The series heads to Dover International Speedway this weekend for the Fedex 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks.
Johnson has won at Dover three times, including two seasons ago.
Sunday's Coca-Cola 600
(at Charlotte Motor Speedway)
Top 10 finishers1. Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)
2. Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet)
3. Matt Kenseth (Toyota)
4. Carl Edwards (Ford)
5. Jamie McMurray (Chevrolet)
6. Brian Vickers (Toyota)
7. Jeff Gordon (Hendrick)
8. Paul Menard (Chevrolet)
9. Kyle Busch (Toyota)
10. Brad Keselowski (Ford)