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NASCAR Cup: Jimmie Johnson wins at Bristol Motor Speedway

Jimmie Johnson celebrates in victory lane at Bristol Motor Speedway after winning the Food City 500 on April 24, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Jimmie Johnson celebrates in victory lane at Bristol Motor Speedway after winning the Food City 500 on April 24, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

After getting the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season off to a rocky start by Jimmie Johnson standards, Johnson claimed his second-consecutive win on Monday, getting to victory lane at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway by winning the Food City 500. The race was delayed a day by rain that fell all day and through the night Sunday.
“That’s just mind-blowing,” Johnson said of his 82nd-career Cup Series win. “I wouldn’t be here without Mr. (Rick) Hendrick’s support. Thanks to him and to Jeff Gordon for believing in me. For Hendrick Motorsports to make this job kind of a family environment for all of us to thrive in has been a perfect environment for me and (crew chief) Chad Knaus and for the consistent group of guys behind me through all these years has led to the environment to win 82 races, or whatever it is, is just insane. I’m truly humbled. I’m excited to win back-to-back races. I’m excited to win at Bristol. I guess we’ll be at Indy testing for the next two days, and we’ll show up at Richmond and try again.”
Johnson’s 82nd-career wins put him just one race behind Cale Yarborough and the sixth spot on the all-time wins list and three wins behind a tie for fourth between Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison.
Clint Bowyer got by his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick to finish second. Harvick finished third, Matt Kenseth was fourth and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five.
Johnson took his first lead when he passed Joey Logano with 107 laps remaining in the 500-lap race. From there, he only gave up the top spot on pit road. First, he lost the lead on pit road when Denny Hamlin took two tires to get off pit road first during a caution with 80 laps remaining. With 67 laps to go, Johnson retook his lead.
He gave up the top spot again when Harvick and Hamlin stayed out during the ninth and final caution of the race that came out with 39 laps remaining. Both Johnson and Kyle Larson got by Heamlin on the final restart and battled for second. Johnson cleared Larson and overtook Harvick to take the lead for the final time with 21 laps to go.
Before Logano took the lead by getting off pit road first during a yellow flag that waved with 177 laps to go, Larson and Martin Truex Jr. combined to lead most of the race, to that point. Larson started on the pole and led the first 202 laps, including a stage-one win, before Truex got by him to take the top stop.
“I don’t know if we had the car to beat,” Larson said. “I thought, early on in the race before all the rubber got laid down, we were really good. In the middle part of the race, I didn’t think we were very good. And then, there at the end, I got the top going really good.”
Truex won the second stage that concluded at the halfway-point of the race. He lost his lead on pit road, though, when Hamlin got out of the pits first by taking only two tires, and Logano also beat him off pit road. But when the race restarted, Truex reassumed the lead.
Larson led a race-high 202 laps, and Truex was credited with 116 laps led, but both were caught speeding on pit road in the final 100 laps.
“I got that speeding penalty and set us back,” Larson said. “We had to gamble, there, for that last stop and take two lefts, and we hadn’t done that all day.”
A two-tire pit stop during the final caution got Larson back up to second, but he drifted back to sixth by the checkered flag. Truex’s penalty came during the final yellow flag, and he managed to get back up to eighth by the finish.
Other top-10 finishers included Chase Elliott in seventh, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ninth, and Hamlin in 10th.
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorncgdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on April 24, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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