Jimmie Johnson Uses Late Move To Win Sprint Cup Event At Texas, Deny Brad Keselowski Homestead Berth

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Jimmie Johnson celebrates after winning the Sprint Cup AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday (Photo: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson celebrates after winning the Sprint Cup AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday (Photo: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images for NASCAR)

FORT WORTH, Texas—For Jimmie Johnson, it was business as usual in Cowtown.

On Sunday, the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion completed a sweep of this year’s Texas Motor Speedway races, powering past hapless Brad Keselowski with three laps left to win the AAA Texas 500 for the fourth straight year.

Johnson kept his record perfect, winning a race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the 12th consecutive season. His fifth victory of the year was also his record sixth at Texas—including the last three in a row—and the 75th of his career, leaving him one win behind Dale Earnhardt, who is seventh on the all-time list.

Johnson, who led six laps, harried Keselowski throughout the final 18-lap green-flag run, finally getting a decisive run on Lap 331.

“I just kept pressure on him,” said Johnson, who was eliminated from the Chase in the opening round. “I could see that he was really tight, and that was the first I had seen him that vulnerable all day. I just kept the pressure on him, kept searching for line. He saw me coming on the top and protected it.

“I just kept trying to put pressure on him, hoping for a mistake. He got real loose off of Turn 2, and I had a big run down the backstretch and drove it in really far into Turn 3 hoping to hear ‘Clear’ (from his spotter). Once I did, I knew I was home free.”

For Team Penske, on the other hand, Sunday’s race could be more aptly named the Heartbreak 500. Needing a victory at Texas or Phoenix after last Sunday’s Martinsville crash at the hands of Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano courted catastrophe on Lap 9, blowing a left rear tire and destroying the left rear quarter panel of his No. 22 Ford.

Logano finished 40th, 68 laps down, and remained last among the final eight eligible Chase drivers heading to the final Eliminator Round race at Phoenix, where he must win next Sunday to advance to the Championship Round.

Fate waited much longer to undo the winning chances of Keselowski, who led 312 of 334 laps but finished in the runner-up spot, 1.083 seconds behind Johnson.

Keselowski held a two-second lead over Martin Truex Jr. when NASCAR called a debris caution with 24 laps left. Those two drivers rubbed fenders soon after a restart on Lap 317, with Keselowski holding the top spot until Johnson passed him for the win through Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 331 of 334.

“The 48 (Johnson) car had mega turn (through the corners) that last run, and I couldn’t keep the turn, and it kept pushing real bad,” Keselowski said. “I did everything I could to hold him off, but he was way faster that last run.

“Their team did a hell of a job and found speed, and my team did a hell of a job, too. We led 300-some laps, and these debris yellows always favor someone, and it wasn’t our day for them to favor us. I’m still very proud of our effort today. We’ll have a great shot at winning next week. We really needed to win this one, and I know I gave it my all.”

Kevin Harvick ran third, overcoming two cut tires and a shifter he had to hold in place with his right hand to prevent the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Chevrolet from popping out of gear. The reigning series champion is third in the standings heading to Phoenix, where he has won seven times, including the last four straight.

Kyle Busch finished fourth and moved into sole possession of second in the Chase standings, two points behind Jeff Gordon, who punched his ticket to the Nov. 22 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with last Sunday’s victory at Martinsville.

Carl Edwards came home fifth, the same position he occupies in the standings, seven points behind Truex in fourth, currently the last transfer position into the Championship Round. After the contact with Keselowski’s Ford, Truex dropped from second to eighth in the closing laps.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – AAA Texas 500
Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth, Texas
Sunday, November 08, 2015
1. (8) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 334, $462976.
2. (1) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 334, $394391.
3. (2) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 334, $280475.
4. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 334, $242766.
5. (13) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 334, $170575.
6. (10) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 334, $171240.
7. (7) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 334, $157615.
8. (23) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 334, $160910.
9. (18) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 334, $172351.
10. (27) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 334, $158556.
11. (26) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 334, $156576.
12. (6) Erik Jones(i), Toyota, 334, $153326.
13. (20) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 334, $120440.
14. (21) Brian Scott(i), Chevrolet, 334, $127748.
15. (14) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 334, $142973.
16. (11) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 334, $116140.
17. (30) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 334, $137398.
18. (24) Aric Almirola, Ford, 334, $143526.
19. (12) Greg Biffle, Ford, 333, $137148.
20. (16) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 333, $120765.
21. (28) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 333, $113540.
22. (19) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 333, $137240.
23. (15) David Ragan, Toyota, 333, $132079.
24. (32) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 332, $130910.
25. (36) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 331, $104265.
26. (17) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 330, $126123.
27. (39) Cole Whitt, Ford, 330, $115398.
28. (43) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 330, $120587.
29. (41) David Gilliland, Ford, 329, $108340.
30. (35) Brett Moffitt #, Ford, 329, $103130.
31. (37) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 329, $99915.
32. (40) Jeb Burton #, Toyota, 329, $99690.
33. (34) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 329, $99473.
34. (33) Michael McDowell, Ford, 328, $99240.
35. (38) Matt DiBenedetto #, Toyota, 328, $99040.
36. (42) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 326, $98810.
37. (5) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 304, $126510.
38. (9) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 304, $111852.
39. (29) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 296, $134355.
40. (4) Joey Logano, Ford, 268, $132988.
41. (31) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, Engine, 236, $81780.
42. (22) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, Accident, 52, $104994.
43. (25) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, Accident, 26, $74280.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 137.49 mph.
Time of Race: 03 Hrs, 38 Mins, 38 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.082 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 9 for 47 laps.
Lead Changes: 15 among 8 drivers.
Lap Leaders: B. Keselowski 1-17; K. Harvick 18-26; M. DiBenedetto # 27; B. Keselowski 28-41; Kyle Busch 42; B. Keselowski 43-53; D. Gilliland 54; J. Yeley(i) 55; B. Keselowski 56-251; J. Johnson 252-253; B. Keselowski 254-297; K. Harvick 298-299; B. Keselowski 300-316; M. Truex Jr. 317; B. Keselowski 318-330; J. Johnson 331-334.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): B. Keselowski 7 times for 312 laps; K. Harvick 2 times for 11 laps; J. Johnson 2 times for 6 laps; M. Truex Jr. 1 time for 1 lap; M. DiBenedetto # 1 time for 1 lap; J. Yeley(i) 1 time for 1 lap; D. Gilliland 1 time for 1 lap; Kyle Busch 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 16 in Points: J. Gordon – 4,082; Kyle Busch – 4,080; K. Harvick – 4,079; M. Truex Jr. – 4,076; C. Edwards – 4,069; B. Keselowski – 4,057; Kurt Busch – 4,048; J. Logano – 4,013; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 2,259; D. Hamlin – 2,257; R. Newman – 2,253; J. Johnson – 2,240; J. Mcmurray – 2,235; P. Menard – 2,208; M. Kenseth – 2,197; C. Bowyer – 2,153.


  1. I don’t know about y’all, but I get goose bumps watching Ryan Preece mix it up with the big boys in the cup series! Heck, he even bested his 37th place average today! Hard to believe he used to run modifieds up here in the northeast and now he’s a cup star!

  2. Chris,

    Thanks you SO MUCH for another example of your insightful and informative knowledge of racing in the Northeast and Nationally. I don’t know what I would do if I did not have you on this website contributing positive feelings and support for the drivers that are struggling to achieve success in our sport.

  3. You are very welcome RichC. I predict an even better finish at Phoenix for the #98 team and Cup sensation Ryan Preece as they begin to gell as a team and the chemistry between driver and crew grows stronger. It will be exciting, can’t wait for next Sunday! It is disappointing however that very little has been written about this success story…hardly any mention here about Ryan’s qualifying and race accomplishments since it was announced he would run at Martinsville. Hopefully an interview with Ryan about his Cup career will come soon.

  4. Not a Fanboy says

    My prediction is that in 2016 Chris D will choke on his/her (not sure what gender you are) sarcasm. And no, I am not a Preece fan, I root for the underdog .

  5. Not a Fanboy (coolest screen name ever), how could anyone not be a Preece fan?

  6. Did they get the title of this column wrong? I thought it was about Jimmy Johnson and Keslowski. Didn’t see anything about Ryan Preece in it.

  7. Well Chris D. uses every opportunity possible to bash a young kid trying to make it. I hope he doesn’t have kids of his own because they never stood a chance succeeding with him as their father.

  8. Sect. D Row 25 says

    Chris D. is just hurt inside and acting out. He feels jilted and scorned, it all started when Ryan started dating Heather. Now why he is a complete coward I cannot explain. Pathetic.

  9. Sect. D, yes you are right, I’m acting out by praising your boy. Then again you are always right aren’t you? My posts are actually very positive, read them again, slowly, or better yet have someone read them to you. There are no negative statements at all. But, if I am upsetting you I will stop, don’t want you to have a setback. One day at a time, friend.

  10. Chris,

    You may think that you’re fooling folks, but the only fool is you. We get it. You’re not a fan. Your dislike is evident through your sarcasm. Maybe if more folks call you out you’ll understand that you don’t have to be a huge Ryan Preece fan to recognize the fact that he is the first driver in a while to even get a chance to buy a ride for the cup and there are people here that would like to see him have some success. So try this… say something truly positive about someone that you root for instead of obviously sarcastic comments running someone down.

  11. RichC, now it’s my turn to thank you…for letting the cat out of the bag. Nowhere in the story about Preece running the last 4 cup races posted on this site on 10/29/15 does it say that Preece bought the ride…but in your post here, you say he did. Shhh, they weren’t supposed to know! Time will tell who is foolish. Meanwhile, I’ll root for guys who are hands on, the one’s that bust their rear ends all week to run up front, that don’t cry when they don’t get their way.

  12. I know you all are expecting a repeat of Ron Bouchard at Talledega, well guess again.

  13. Chris,

    There you go again letting your deep knowledge of racing show. According to his car owners, he IS a hands on driver who spends a significant amount of time every week working on his rides. Also, just to set the record straight, I never said he bought his ride, because I have no idea. My words were “first driver in a while to even get a chance to buy a ride”.

    So, with this comment I am done. It is a waste of time to try to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

  14. Sect. D Row 25 says

    RichC, The emptiest barrel will always make the most noise and Chris D. was born bone dry.

  15. speed kills says

    he is racing at the “highest level” he gets credit for that.. the mistake he may make is better drivers from the northeast have made the move up in inferior equipment and fizzled out.. unfortunate but talent alone doesn`t mean success in “cup”. a top ride now requires a shining endorsemnet and /or a huge bank account/sponsor. he may get noticed by a team that is in a better place to win while learning the ropes…people should be happy for him ..auto racing is not like other sports where the skill level alone can get you there .

  16. I just read Alex Bowman signed today with Dale Jr, to drive the 88 car in the Xfinity series next season. With that signing, does anyone know if Preece will team with Tommy Baldwin in the 7 car for next season?

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