Jimmie Johnson certainly knows his way to Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
Already with two wins this season, Johnson is back in Texas, where he has won the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup races and five of the last seven.
“It’s just this race track. I think tracks with an older surface; the bumpier it is, the more tire wear, it’s just a condition that plays into our wheelhouse,” Johnson said. “And we’ve hit on some things here over the last few trips and it consistently works for us and it continues to put speed and longevity in the car.”
But Johnson has never had to come from so far back in the field to win at the high-banked, 1 1/2-mile track. Johnson will start 11th on Saturday night in the Duck Commander 500.
Johnson started eighth or better is all six of his victories at Texas. In the 30 previous races there, only six of the winners qualified worse than 10th, and the last was 11 races ago in 2010.
Still, Johnson has dominated in his No. 48 Chevrolet at Texas, where his record six Sprint Cup wins are twice as many as the next closest driver – Carl Edwards, Saturday’s polesitter. Johnson has led 1,023 laps and has 19 top-10 finishes, both records at the track starting its 20th season of racing.
Matt Kenseth also has been impressive in Texas, matching Johnson’s mark with 13 top-five finishes and second to Johnson in top-10 finishes (17), laps led (834) and average finish (9.46).
Asked what he has noticed about Johnson’s success in the Lone Star State, Kenseth responded that the biggest thing is that the six-time Sprint Cup champion is pretty good everywhere.
“He’s not too much of a slouch anywhere that I can really think of,” Kenseth said. “Nothing really stands out special to here, really to me.”
Seven different winners
Carl Edwards became the seventh different pole winner in the seven NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season, posting the fast lap of 194.609 mph in the final round of qualifying for Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 at the Texas track where he has won three times.
“My confidence level was pretty decent, but now it’s really good,” Edwards said after Friday’s qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway. “It’s up there. To have that fast of a race car is huge, but I like this place.”
Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. both had qualifying laps of 193.306 mph. Logano will start on the front row beside Edwards, with Truex third. Rookie Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fill out the top five spots.
Kyle Busch wins
Kyle Busch led 150 of 200 laps at Texas on Friday night to win for the fourth time in five NASCAR Xfinity starts this season.
Busch was the polesitter and led four times, including the last 81 laps, for his Xfinity-record 80th victory. It was his eighth win at the high-banked, 1 1/2-mile track.
Just like the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates started the race, Busch and Erik Jones finished 1-2. Jones finished 3.055 seconds back, with Brad Keselowski third and Chase Elliott fourth.
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