Jimmie Johnson grabs win at Bristol after Larson mishap


By Jenna Fryer - AP Auto Racing Writer



Driver Jimmie Johnson celebrates after winning a NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Monday in Bristol, Tenn.



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    NASCAR Monster Energy Cup

    Food City 500 Results

    Monday

    At Bristol Motor Speedway

    Bristol, Tenn.

    Lap length: 0.533 miles

    (Start position in parentheses)

    1. (11) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500 laps, 54 points.

    2. (9) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 500, 35.

    3. (10) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500, 41.

    4. (22) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 500, 33.

    5. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 500, 48.

    6. (1) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 500, 45.

    7. (2) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 500, 35.

    8. (3) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 500, 48.

    9. (19) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 500, 29.

    10. (16) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 500, 33.

    11. (12) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 500, 28.

    12. (8) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 500, 35.

    13. (21) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 500, 24.

    14. (13) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 500, 23.

    15. (24) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 500, 22.

    16. (26) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 499, 21.

    17. (14) Erik Jones, Toyota, 499, 33.

    18. (23) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 498, 19.

    19. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 498, 18.

    20. (17) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 498, 17.

    21. (31) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 498, 16.

    22. (18) Aric Almirola, Ford, 497, 15.

    23. (33) David Ragan, Ford, 497, 14.

    24. (35) Corey LaJoie, Toyota, 497, 13.

    25. (15) Kurt Busch, Ford, 494, 12.

    26. (28) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 494, 11.

    27. (37) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 491, 10.

    28. (34) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 490, 9.

    29. (36) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 487, 8.

    30. (25) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 482, 9.

    31. (39) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 465, 6.

    32. (30) Landon Cassill, Ford, 458, 5.

    33. (6) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 452, 4.

    34. (4) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 433, 3.

    35. (7) Kyle Busch, Toyota, accident, 383, 3.

    36. (29) Danica Patrick, Ford, accident, 320, 1.

    37. (38) Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, suspension, 234, 0.

    38. (20) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, accident, 218, 1.

    39. (27) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, accident, 53, 1.

    Race Statistics

    Average Speed of Race Winner: 86.685 mph.

    Time of Race: 3 hours, 4 minutes, 29 seconds.

    Margin of Victory: 1.199 seconds.

    Caution Flags: 9 for 76 laps.

    Lead Changes: 14 among 7 drivers.

    Lap Leaders: K.Larson 1-202; M.Truex 203-211; J.Logano 212; M.Truex 213-254; J.Logano 255; L.Cassill 256-260; M.Truex 261-325; J.Logano 326-393; J.Johnson 394-421; J.Logano 422; D.Hamlin 423-432; J.Johnson 433-464; J.Logano 465; K.Harvick 466-479; J.Johnson 480-500

    Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): K.Larson, 1 time for 201 laps; M.Truex, 3 times for 113 laps; J.Johnson, 3 times for 78 laps; J.Logano, 5 times for 67 laps; K.Harvick, 1 time for 13 laps; D.Hamlin, 1 time for 9 laps; L.Cassill, 1 time for 4 laps.

    Wins: J.Johnson, 2; B.Keselowski, 2; Ku.Busch, 1; K.Larson, 1; R.Newman, 1; M.Truex, 1.

    Top 16 in Points: 1. K.Larson, 360; 2. C.Elliott, 333; 3. M.Truex, 323; 4. J.Logano, 291; 5. B.Keselowski, 277; 6. J.Johnson, 244; 7. J.McMurray, 244; 8. C.Bowyer, 239; 9. K.Harvick, 239; 10. R.Blaney, 228; 11. Ky.Busch, 214; 12. T.Bayne, 192; 13. E.Jones, 192; 14. R.Newman, 186; 15. D.Hamlin, 184; 16. R.Stenhouse, 168.

    BRISTOL, Tenn. — It was just last month when people were wondering what was wrong with Jimmie Johnson and his slow start to the season.

    How silly it was to worry.

    Johnson grabbed a rare victory at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday, giving him consecutive wins for the 11th time in his storied career. It was just the second career win in Thunder Valley for Johnson, who considers it one of his most vexing tracks.

    His Hendrick Motorsorts team hit on something during Saturday’s practice for his Chevrolet, and that locked him in for the race postponed a day by rain.

    “This track has been really difficult,” admitted Johnson, who last won at Bristol in 2007. But that Saturday find was “honestly, it’s what I’ve been looking for for 16 years. We finally figured it out. So, I’m very very happy.”

    Johnson also won on Feb. 9 at Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR’s last event prior to Monday. It ended any chatter that the seven-time and reigning champion might not be up for a record eighth title.

    Johnson now has 82 career victories, and is just one away from tying Cal Yarborough for sixth on the all-time wins list. Two more would put him alongside Darrell Waltrip.

    “That’s just mind-blowing,” Johnson said of his place in history.

    Johnson doesn’t like Bristol, but it wasn’t evident Monday as he contended with Kyle Larson, the points leader and most dominant driver of the day. A speeding penalty on Larson late in the race allowed Johnson to make it look easy in the end. Clint Bowyer finished second and Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick was third.

    Matt Kenseth was the highest finishing Toyota driver with a very quiet fourth. Joey Logano in a Ford was fifth for Team Penske and Larson rallied to sixth. He had been dropped to 29th in the field after the penalty and making it back to the top 10 was a victory in itself for Larson, who led a career-high 202 laps.

    “I knew I gave the race away there,” Larson said of the speeding penalty. “I was surprised that I was able to line up with an opportunity there at the end. I think even if I was able to get to the lead, I don’t think I would have won because Jimmie and Clint were way faster than I was.

    “They were over a straightaway ahead of us, I think, at the checkered flag. Disappointed in myself. I think I speed on pit road every single time I come to Bristol. So got to clean that up.”

    Chase Elliott finished seventh and the top 10 was rounded out by Martin Truex Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

    Junior’s day

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. was running 20th with just under 300 laps remaining when he wrecked during a restart after a mechanical issue. He didn’t return to the track.

    NASCAR’s most popular driver was second in this race a year ago, but this year he’s still trying to find his way back into contention. NASCAR’s last race, at Texas, was his first top-five finish of the season.

    As he headed to the care center for a medical checkup, a fan tried to take selfie with Earnhardt . Initially denied, Earnhardt was accommodating after he was cleared medically.

    Busch stuck at No. 5

    Kyle Busch is still seeking his first win of the season after an accident led to a 35th-place finish.

    He had been hoping to win his sixth career Cup race at Bristol, and had the speed all weekend to do so.

    “I was the fastest one out there those last two runs picking cars off and driving from the back to the front after we lost our track position the first time,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s fundamentally wrong what we’re doing, but it seems like all the rest of our five JGR cars are fine.”

    Up next

    NASCAR travels to Richmond, Virginia, for another short-track showdown. The three-day show will lack defending race winner Carl Edwards, who bumped teammate Joe Gibbs Racing for the victory in 2016. Edwards is not racing this year.

    Driver Jimmie Johnson celebrates after winning a NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Monday in Bristol, Tenn.
    http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/web1_JimmieJohnson-Bristol.jpgDriver Jimmie Johnson celebrates after winning a NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Monday in Bristol, Tenn.

    By Jenna Fryer

    AP Auto Racing Writer

    NASCAR Monster Energy Cup

    Food City 500 Results

    Monday

    At Bristol Motor Speedway

    Bristol, Tenn.

    Lap length: 0.533 miles

    (Start position in parentheses)

    1. (11) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500 laps, 54 points.

    2. (9) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 500, 35.

    3. (10) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500, 41.

    4. (22) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 500, 33.

    5. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 500, 48.

    6. (1) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 500, 45.

    7. (2) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 500, 35.

    8. (3) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 500, 48.

    9. (19) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 500, 29.

    10. (16) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 500, 33.

    11. (12) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 500, 28.

    12. (8) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 500, 35.

    13. (21) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 500, 24.

    14. (13) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 500, 23.

    15. (24) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 500, 22.

    16. (26) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 499, 21.

    17. (14) Erik Jones, Toyota, 499, 33.

    18. (23) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 498, 19.

    19. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 498, 18.

    20. (17) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 498, 17.

    21. (31) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 498, 16.

    22. (18) Aric Almirola, Ford, 497, 15.

    23. (33) David Ragan, Ford, 497, 14.

    24. (35) Corey LaJoie, Toyota, 497, 13.

    25. (15) Kurt Busch, Ford, 494, 12.

    26. (28) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 494, 11.

    27. (37) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 491, 10.

    28. (34) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 490, 9.

    29. (36) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 487, 8.

    30. (25) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 482, 9.

    31. (39) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 465, 6.

    32. (30) Landon Cassill, Ford, 458, 5.

    33. (6) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 452, 4.

    34. (4) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 433, 3.

    35. (7) Kyle Busch, Toyota, accident, 383, 3.

    36. (29) Danica Patrick, Ford, accident, 320, 1.

    37. (38) Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, suspension, 234, 0.

    38. (20) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, accident, 218, 1.

    39. (27) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, accident, 53, 1.

    Race Statistics

    Average Speed of Race Winner: 86.685 mph.

    Time of Race: 3 hours, 4 minutes, 29 seconds.

    Margin of Victory: 1.199 seconds.

    Caution Flags: 9 for 76 laps.

    Lead Changes: 14 among 7 drivers.

    Lap Leaders: K.Larson 1-202; M.Truex 203-211; J.Logano 212; M.Truex 213-254; J.Logano 255; L.Cassill 256-260; M.Truex 261-325; J.Logano 326-393; J.Johnson 394-421; J.Logano 422; D.Hamlin 423-432; J.Johnson 433-464; J.Logano 465; K.Harvick 466-479; J.Johnson 480-500

    Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): K.Larson, 1 time for 201 laps; M.Truex, 3 times for 113 laps; J.Johnson, 3 times for 78 laps; J.Logano, 5 times for 67 laps; K.Harvick, 1 time for 13 laps; D.Hamlin, 1 time for 9 laps; L.Cassill, 1 time for 4 laps.

    Wins: J.Johnson, 2; B.Keselowski, 2; Ku.Busch, 1; K.Larson, 1; R.Newman, 1; M.Truex, 1.

    Top 16 in Points: 1. K.Larson, 360; 2. C.Elliott, 333; 3. M.Truex, 323; 4. J.Logano, 291; 5. B.Keselowski, 277; 6. J.Johnson, 244; 7. J.McMurray, 244; 8. C.Bowyer, 239; 9. K.Harvick, 239; 10. R.Blaney, 228; 11. Ky.Busch, 214; 12. T.Bayne, 192; 13. E.Jones, 192; 14. R.Newman, 186; 15. D.Hamlin, 184; 16. R.Stenhouse, 168.

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