Sunday, October 9, 2016

Jimmie Johnson Wins at Charlotte, Chase Drivers Falter

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Jimmie Johnson locked himself into the Round of 8 following a victory in Sunday’s Bank of America 500 from Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Johnson returned to victory lane after a 24-race winless drought.  Johnson and his team have shown speed the last few weeks, which hasn’t been the case for Hendrick Motorsports throughout the year.

Jared C. Tilton (Getty Images)
“When you drive for Rick Hendrick and have all the great people at Hendrick Motorsports working for you…I just knew it was taking way too long,” Johnson said.  “We knew we’d get back; it was slower than we wanted it to be.”

Johnson led 155 of 334 laps on Sunday.  After restarting on the outside most of the day, Johnson said the track conditions changed before the final restart.

“The track got so slick that I found out that restarting on the inside turned out to be a little bit better,” Johnson said.  “I was able to throw it inside of [Kenseth] in Turn 3 and made the pass.”

Five Chase drivers stumbled at Charlotte, putting themselves in a hole for the rest of the second round.  Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin had engine failures, while Joey Logano made hard contact with the wall and had to spend time in the garage.  Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott were involved in a big accident on a restart with 80 laps to go, leaving them outside the top 30.

Unofficial results:
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Kasey Kahne
4. Ryan Newman
5. Kyle Larson
6. Kyle Busch
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Kurt Busch
9. Tony Stewart
10. Jamie McMurray
11. Danica Patrick
12. Carl Edwards
13. Martin Truex Jr.
14. Michael McDowell
15. Aric Almirola
16. Chris Buescher
17. Clint Bowyer
18. Trevor Bayne
19. Landon Cassill
20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
21. Regan Smith
22. Brian Scott
23. David Ragan
24. Michael Annett
25. Matt DiBenedetto
26. Jeffrey Earnhardt
27. Cole Whitt
28. Reed Sorenson
29. Josh Wise
30. Denny Hamlin
31. Ryan Blaney
32. Austin Dillon
33. Chase Elliott
34. Paul Menard
35. Greg Biffle
36. Joey Logano
37. AJ Allmendinger
38. Kevin Harvick
39. Alex Bowman
40. Casey Mears

Jerry Markland (Getty Images)

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