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Solid Night at Texas

It wasn’t a Texas-sized performance like last November when Jimmie Johnson started from the pole and won the race. But five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson pulled off another top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, his fifth in seven races this season. Johnson started seventh and finished sixth in the No. 48 Lowe’s “Dover White” Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports on Saturday night in the NRA 500. It was his 15th top-10 finish in 20 starts career Sprint Cup starts at the 1.5-mile oval.

“We fought hard all day, but we just didn't quite have enough to pull off a win in the Lowe's Chevy tonight,” said Johnson, who won November races in 2007 and 2012 at Texas. “It was a great effort by (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and everyone. We just came up a little short.”

Johnson was never out of the top-15 for the 334-lap event. He battled various handling conditions throughout the race. Crew chief Chad Knaus used a combination of wedge, trackbar and spring rubbers to tune the Lowe’s Chevy. With less than 125 laps to go, Johnson reported that he was fighting the front end and was experiencing tight handling conditions. With 56 to go, Johnson came in for a possible final pit stop. An ill-timed caution came out as Johnson made his way back on the racetrack. He went a lap down but got the wave-around once the race restarted. He spent the remainder of the race making his way back from 13th to finish sixth.

Kyle Busch won the NRA 500 to score his 26th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his first at Texas. Busch is tied for 23rd on the all-time Sprint Cup win list with Fred Lorenzen.

Martin Truex Jr. finished .508 of a second behind Busch in the runner-up spot, while Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Johnson, Aric Almirola, Brian Vickers, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were seven caution periods for 36 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 334-lap race.

With round seven of 36 complete, Johnson leads the Hendrick Motorsports stable in the championship point standings. He is first with 269 points, nine ahead of second-place Keselowski. Dale Earnhardt Jr. fell three spots to sixth with 234 points, 35 out of first, while Kahne is seventh with 232 points, 37 out of first. Jeff Gordon is 15th with 171 points, 98 out of first.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the STP 400 Sunday, April 21 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 12:30 p.m.

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Jeff Gordon
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Newman
Jimmie Johnson
Started: 8th
Finished: 1st
November 15th, 2015
2:30 p.m. ET on NBC
Kobalt Hot Pass