UNDER THE HOOD

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Perseverance Pays Off

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 KOBALT CHEVROLET SS
FINISHED: 3rd

STANDINGS: 5th

Jimmie Johnson started 26th at Darlington and almost immediately reported tightness in his No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS. After numerous adjustments throughout the first 100 laps of the race, Johnson cracked the top 10 by Lap 113, putting all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers in top-10.

Johnson continued to maneuver through traffic, moving into ninth by Lap 139. Johnson joined his Hendrick Motorsports teammates at  Lap 199, as he moved into the fifth position. He continued his forward march, moving to fourth by Lap 287, before seizing the runner-up position at Lap 323. The caution flag was waved at Lap 358, causing Johnson to come onto pit road for a two-tire stop. He restarted from the top position on the outside lane at Lap 363. The caution flag was waved again at Lap 365, pushing Johnson back to third for the green-white-checkered flag but four tires prevailed as Kevin Harvick won the race at Darlington. Johnson finished third just behind Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Johnson is fifth in the point standings while teammate Jeff Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leading into the first off-weekend of the 36-race season.

QUOTING JJ: WILD FINISH THERE TELL US ABOUT YOUR LAST FEW LAPS AS YOU TRIED TO RACE FOR THE WIN TONIGHT:
“Things were really going our way there when we took two tires and got the restart under control and had a good lead there.  Then the caution came out and at that point I knew that us on two tires we were probably in big trouble and the No. 4 had worked his way up through there and did a great job, it seemed like the fastest car all night long.  We had to gamble to kind of take a shot at getting a win and Chad (Knaus, crew chief) played it right and we were in the right position, but just got two cautions there at the end that kept us from getting to Victory Lane.”

A LITTLE BIT OF SHOVING ON THE RESTARTS IS THAT JUST DARLINGTON?
“Yeah the guys on two tires just couldn’t accelerate and I think the No. 4 helped the No. 88 quite a bit getting him going.  Junior asked on the radio if I would give him a shove and I said ‘yeah man no problem’ so I pushed him as hard as I could down the front and got him by the No. 4, but those four tires got back by.”

INCREDIBLE EFFORT ON WHAT YOU DID. WHEN YOU WERE LEADING, YOU CHOSE THE OUTSIDE RESTART. TELL ME ABOUT THAT DECISION

“First and foremost, I’m just thankful that my guys never stopped improving and working -they never stopped trying. We didn’t qualify well and really the first quarter of the race, the car was really far off.  Chad (crew chief, Knaus) took big swings at this car and got this Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevy flying. It was really competitive. The restart at the end, I was talking to the guys on the radio and they said the outside was kind of the place to be. I hadn’t seen the front all night long and I was talking to Junior as I got out of the car and he said that was a bad move. And then certainly the push that the No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) got from the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) got him by me. But before that, we had two or three (laps) to go and I had a nice lead and I thought it was going to come our way, but it just didn’t work out.”

IF YOU WERE TO DO IT OVER, WOULD YOU HAVE TAKEN THE TWO TIRES, AND HAVE STILL CHOSEN THE OUTSIDE?

“Yeah, if it was two and my outside worked on that first one, and I got away from everybody, if it had stayed green there, I think we were in great shape.”

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS FINISHES: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (2nd), Jeff Gordon (7th), Kasey Kahne (37th),

NEXT UP: Richmond International Raceway, Saturday April 26th on FOX/MRN

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1
#24
Jeff Gordon
816
2
#88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
-3
3
#2
Brad Keselowski
-83
7
#48
Jimmie Johnson
-130
Michigan
Started: 30th
Finished: 9th
Bristol
Saturday, August 23rd
7:00 p.m. ET on ABC
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