Johnson falls short of Stewart’s Texas dominance
• Certainly Jimmie Johnson’s performance in Sunday’s AAA 500 was dominant as he led 255 of the 334 laps. Strangely enough, that was not the most dominant performance by a driver in the Sprint Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway. That record is held by Tony Stewart who led 278 of 334 laps on his way to victory in the November race in 2006, the first season he failed to make the Chase.
• The crowd for Sunday’s race was probably one of the worst since Texas began hosting NASCAR events in April 1997 and clearly the worst since the track began hosting two Cup events per season in 2005. The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys were playing a home game on Sunday, which could have contributed to the problem. But there was a significant drop-off in attendance from the spring event, which of course is not one of the 10 Chase races. Hosting Chase races just doesn’t seem to have any added advantage for a track, if it ever did.
• Nationwide Series regular Parker Kligerman made his Cup debut with Swan Racing, a small, underfunded team. He ran competitive most of the day and finished 18th. What does that say for drivers with more experience on a much higher quality teams who finish far worse with no obvious mechanical issues? Clearly track-time isn’t everything.
“This thing is going to go to the last lap at Homestead, and it is going to come down to mistakes,” he said. “I’m very excited about our performance and what we did here.”
“We want to put forward a good account of ourselves in the Chase because you're in there for a reason and you don't want to be an also ran,” he said. “So we feel like we're doing a lot of good work and getting really close to probably breaking through and getting a win.”
“That was a tough one. The car wasn’t very good in traffic,” he said. “We just weren’t where we wanted to be. It was a tough day.”
“From the start of the race we started moving our way forward and I thought I was a second or third place car all night,” he said.
“We had such a great weekend going. The car, during the middle part of the race we were struggling but we were starting to get it worked out,” Edwards said.
1. Johnson took early command of the race, leading 35 of the first 74 laps.
2. Jeff Gordon was forced to the garage after he had a tire go down and slammed the wall on Lap 74. He ended up 38th.
3. During a round of green-flag pit stops on Lap 173, Matt Kenseth was penalized by NASCAR for speeding on pit road. He was running second at the time and dropped to 16th, the last car on the lead lap.
4. Johnson had a slow pit stop during green-flag stops on Lap 240 and came out in fourth. Twenty laps later, he had powered back to the lead.
5. With Johnson firmly in command several drivers tried short-pitting during the final round of green-flag pit stops to gain an advantage. Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved up to second but had nothing to stop Johnson’s sixth win of the season.