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Auto Racing notes: Jimmie Johnson hoping to end slump before Chase


The finishes seem implausible, especially because they’ve come in succession – 42nd place at Daytona, 42nd at New Hampshire, a brief improvement to 14th at the Brickyard, followed by a dip to 39th at Pocono and 28th at Watkins Glen.

This is Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR’s six-time Sprint Cup champion?

“It has been a very challenging year,” Johnson said. “We started off without the speed that we wanted. We got the speed back and then the luck left. So, we choose to look at it as we’re getting all this out of the way so we can have 10 great races.”

With three victories on the season, Johnson is safely in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, but lately the No. 48 car has had its share of problems. The latest setback came Friday when Johnson finished 30th in qualifying at Michigan International Speedway, complaining afterward about a vibrating car.

Johnson won at MIS in Brooklyn, Michigan earlier this season – his third victory in four races at the time – but based on his recent form, a repeat isn’t looking especially likely in today’s Cup race.

• J.J. Yeley will drive the No. 83 car in the Sprint Cup race after Ryan Truex crashed during practice Saturday and was taken to the hospital with a concussion.

Truex walked to the ambulance following the crash. He hit the wall head-on while exiting a turn, and the front of his car was severely damaged.

Truck Series

Johnny Sauter has won the NASCAR Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway, holding off Matt Crafton by about a half-second.

Sauter also took over the points lead. Previous leader Ryan Blaney finished 21st after winning the pole.

Sauter won for the first time this season, and it was the sixth top-five finish for Crafton.

Crafton gave up the lead with a late pit stop but was still within striking distance when Sauter held him off in the final stretch.

Ron Hornaday Jr. finished third, followed by Tayler Malsam and Kyle Busch.


IndyCar points leader Will Power will start from the pole today at the Milwaukee Mile.

Power took the pole Saturday in West Allis, Wisconsin with a lap at 169.262 mph. He has called Milwaukee his favorite oval of the IndyCar circuit.

Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, second in the standings, will start eighth. Tony Kanaan qualified second at 168.662 mph. A third Penske driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, will start third.

The Milwaukee race begins a three-week stretch to end the season.