When the green flag dropped Sunday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson was fearless when the throttle went wide-open and he didn’t look back. He won the 334-lap AAA Texas 500 and kept his lead in the championship standings in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This was his sixth win in the 2013 season.
Carl Edwards led the field to green and a quick caution occurred on lap 16 for debris. It wasn’t long after this caution that Jimmie Johnson found clean air. Edwards, who was on the pole for the race, had to drive his car to the garage due to a broken valve spring in the engine at the midway point of the race.
The second caution was brought out by Kyle Busch who slapped the wall on lap 58. He would fight back all race long to a 13th place finish. A piece of debris was stuck on the grille of his JGR Snickers Toyota which caused concern for quite a few laps as engine temperatures continued to rise. He drove up behind Brad Keselowski’s car and was able to lose the debris.
Matt Kenseth was called for speeding down pit road during a pit stop and had to serve a pass-through penalty , but when a caution came out for oil on the backstretch a few laps later Kenseth was able to get back into position and power back for a fourth place finish. He was down 18 points behind Johnson in the championship standings at one point during the race and was seven points out by the time the checkered flag flew.
It was a rough day for Jeff Gordon who came into the race third in the points standings and with a lot of momentum after last week’s win at Martinsville. On lap 75, Gordon had a tire issue which caused enough damage to force him into the garage where the team worked to get him back on the track. He was 184 laps down when he returned to see what he could salvage of the day. His hopes to be a viable contender for his fifth championship turned dark. He finished in the 38th spot.
Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were bouncing around in the standings throughout the race but Harvick took over the third spot in the championship, 52 points from the lead with Kyle Busch in 4th.
Johnson led 255 laps in the race while Carl Edwards led 38 and Brad Keselowski led 30. Four caution flags flew throughout the day.
The top 10 finishers included Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joey Jogano, Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Harvick, Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer.
Parker Kligerman, who entered his first Sprint Cup race on Sunday, finished 18th.
The ninth race in the Chase and next-to-the-last race of the NASCAR season will be Sunday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. ET at Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR