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Jimmie Johnson and the rest of the field had to deal with extremely windy conditions Saturday night at the Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. But the wind wasn’t enough to slow Johnson, who once again had a car to contend for the win before finishing second.
Johnson, who started 10th, led three times for 156 of 334 laps around the 1.5-mile oval. But it wasn’t enough in the closing laps to bring home what would have been an historic 200th win for Hendrick Motorsports.
Johnson moved up to sixth place by lap 25. A pit stop on lap 46 followed by another on lap 67 improved the Kobalt Tools machine considerably. But the handling on his car got looser before he stopped on lap 95. Debris was an issue for the competitors all night, and a slight trackbar adjustment and cleaning of the grill got Johnson going in the right direction after the stop. Another solid pit stop left him in third when he returned to the track.
By lap 113, Johnson tracked down and passed Greg Biffle for the lead. Johnson stayed there for most of the remainder of the race, pitting while he was leading on laps 146, 187 and 232 and 282. Each time the No. 48 crew kept Johnson out front.
A 234-lap green flag run to finish the race kept the field strung out. Johnson stayed out front until the closing laps of the race when eventual winner Biffle made his decisive move past Johnson on lap 304. Johnson gave it his all to try and catch up, even hitting the wall on lap 319. He saved the car but was unable to challenge Biffle before finishing second.
Johnson led more laps in the event (156) than he has led in all Texas races combined (119). He now owns five runner-up finishes in 18 starts and has eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 18 starts at Texas.
“I’m definitely disappointed, but we had a great racecar and there’s a lot to be proud of here today,” said Johnson, whose one win at the track came in fall 2007. “Our pit stops were amazing. We had a very, very fast race car and a little bit more respect through some lapped traffic could’ve been a little different. I just got tangled up in some lapped traffic, and the No. 16 (Greg Biffle) made a great move and got by me. And then I was pacing him from there and didn’t have anything left to go get him.
“I tried and ran out of grip going into turn three and drilled the fence, but I brought it home in second. I’m very proud of the effort. Certainly wish we were over there in Victory Lane, but everybody knows we’re here. We’re awfully close to it with this Kobalt Tools Chevrolet.”