NSCS: Jimmie Johnson Passes Keselowski In Late Laps to Score AAA 500 Victory at Texas

Photo Credit: Mike Holloway/OnPitRoad.com

Brad Keselowski led over 300 laps on Sunday afternoon at AAA 500 in hopes of punching his ticket to transfer to the final round of the Chase for the Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. However, he wouldn’t score the win as Jimmie Johnson would make the pass with four laps to go to take the lead. Johnson, who was eliminated from the Chase earlier in the season, would lead the rest of the way en route to scoring the victory.

“I just like to race guys clean anyway. I kept working on him and working on him,” Johnson commented “I could see he was tight and his car wasn’t ideal and then he moved up and had the high lane covered. He got real loose off (Turn) 2 and I had a big run off the top and I went for a a big slide job down in (Turns) 3 and 4, kind of like the Eldora stuff that I learned and got the win. Just so excited and happy for Lowe’s, KOBALT, Chevrolet, Valvoline, Gatorade, the fans, want to thank Sprint for sponsoring the sport. Everybody back at Hendrick Motorsports for digging so deep and fighting hard. Nice to get this No. 48 back in Victory Lane.”

Keselowski had command of the race, though a caution with fly with 25 laps to go for debris. Keselowski would win the race off pit road and got a good final restart. However, Johnson was able to close the gap, making the pass to secure the victory. For Keselowski, he would finish second, currently sitting 19 points behind the cutline to transfer entering the final round of the third round at Phoenix International Raceway.

“It was a good race at the end,” Keselowski said. “We led a lot of laps.  A lot to be proud of.  Came up one spot short, which is unfortunate.  But still we had a great day.  Just one step short of having the awesome day we needed to have.

“But we know if we keep running like we have the last two weeks, you know, we’ll win races.  We need to win the next two.  I understand that.  But I think we have a great opportunity to do it, as well.”

Kevin Harvick would finish third after a pair of tire issues and an issue with the car popping out of the gear, to currently sit 10 points to the positive, while Kyle Busch would finish fourth to currently sit 11 points to the positive.

“It was a really good day for us,” he commented. “Obviously just being able to run our own race and to perform the way we did, I felt like it was pretty good.  I wish we had a little bit faster car on the short runs for sure.  I think that was kind of where we lost most of our time here today. Once things got single filed out, spread out, our car was a little better on the long runs.  At least we did have some speed in our car on one side of the run where we could make up some ground and maintain our position on the racetrack.

“Can’t say enough on Adam Stevens, everyone on the team did a great job.  Our Toyota Camry was awesome.  TRD did a great job with the engines.  Look forward to Phoenix next week, maintaining our position.  If we can go out there and win, sure, we’d love to win.”

Carl Edwards would finish fifth, putting him a seven point hole entering Phoenix. Dale Earnhardt Jr. would finish sixth after having a pair of tire issues and getting into the wall, with Kurt Busch finishing seventh; Busch now currently sits 28 points back of the cut line after his problems at Martinsville. Martin Truex Jr. finished eighth to sit seven points to the positive, while Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-five. Notably, Gordon is already locked in for the final round via his win at Martinsville last week.

Joey Logano’s problems would continue as he was one of the many drivers suffering a tire issue during the race, with his flat left rear causing heavy damage to his car and resulting in time behind the wall. He would finish 40th to now enter Phoenix in a must-win situation, sitting over 60 points behind the cutline.

“It just blew apart off of turn two,” he said. “The left rear tire came apart and shredded everything inside the car. It did a lot more damage than just the tire blowing apart. I don’t know. We needed to win. We aren’t out of it though. This team isn’t quitting yet. We will go out there and gain a couple points, which don’t mean anything but we will go to Phoenix and try to win that one. It is unfortunate. It just wasn’t in the plans today.”