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A newly paved track, new tires, a new engine, starting from the back of the field, and a morning full of rain made for a Sunday at Michigan in which Team Lowe's Racing fans didn't know what to expect from Jimmie Johnson. However, despite all of the uncertainty, Johnson was able to earn a strong 5th place finish in his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet.
Johnson took his time making it to the front, relying both on passing cars on the track and on pit road to make his way to the front. Tires were a concern at various points during the day, as Johnson did experience some blistering on his Goodyears, and even had to slow his pace in the final laps to lessen t he likelihood of blowing a tire that felt like it was blistering. To add to the drama in the final laps, Johnson ran out of gas in turn 3 of the final lap and was able to coast across the finish line in 5th.
In the end, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the 88 team, which shares shop space with Team 48 at Hendrick Motorsports, earned the win at Michigan, putting an end to a 4-year winless streak for Junior.
Johnson's strong finish moves him up one position in points to 4th, now 33 points behind leader, Matt Kenseth.
Next week, Johnson and the rest of NASCAR make their way to Sonoma for their first road course test of the season.