NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson wins Duck Commander 500 at Texas

Jimmie Johnson has won plenty of times in his Sprint Cup Series career, just never in the spring race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Until Saturday night.

Johnson grabbed the lead with 14 of 334 laps remaining and held off a furious charge from Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500, his second Sprint Cup Series victory of the season.

The win is Johnson’s fifth at Texas but all four previous victories have come in the track’s fall race, which takes place during the championship Chase. Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards are the only other drivers with victories in the spring and fall races at Texas.

Joey Logano finished fourth and his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski was fifth.

Turning point

On the final pit stops, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr. took two tires, while the rest of the lead-lap cars – including Johnson and Harvick – took four. With 14 laps remaining, Johnson went from third to first to claim the lead and remained out front as Harvick and Earnhardt dueled over second place.

Three who mattered

Jimmie Johnson: He wasn’t very good at Martinsville, Va., one of his best tracks, but he certainly atoned for it with a dominating win at Texas.

Kevin Harvick: The quality of racing down the stretch was incredible and Harvick’s battle with Earnhardt for second place was a big reason why.

Paul Menard: Menard has had a strong start to the season and was running in the top-five when he broke a waterline in his engine, sending him to the garage and an early exit.

Observations

▪ After a disastrous start to the 2015 season – his last as a fulltime driver in the Cup series – Jeff Gordon is starting to turn things around. He now has four consecutive top-10 finishes.

▪ It’s a tough start to the season for Michael Waltrip Racing. Clint Bowyer has the organization’s best finish of seventh in the season-opening Daytona 500 but has finished 21st or worse in five of his last six races. Both Bowyer and Brett Moffitt, who is substituting for Brian Vickers, ran in the back in Saturday night’s race.

N@SCAR

Three tweets from Saturday night’s race:

Next race

Food City 500

Where: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

When: 1 p.m. next Sunday

TV: Fox

Radio: Performance Racing Network

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