NASCAR

Watch Jimmie Johnson's impressive finish at 2019 Boston Marathon

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USA TODAY Sports

Watch Jimmie Johnson's impressive finish at 2019 Boston Marathon

Jimmie Johnson wasn't messing around at the 2019 Boston Marathon.

The seven-time NASCAR Cup champion vowed back in February to not only participate in the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon but complete the 26.2-mile race in under three hours.

Johnson nearly hit his goal Monday, crossing the finish line with an unofficial time of 3 hours, nine minutes and seven seconds.

That's a pace of seven minutes, 13 seconds per mile, a remarkable performance for a NASCAR driver participating in his first marathon ever -- just two days after competing in the Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond.

After Johnson crossed the finish line, former Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi presented the 43-year-old with his medal.

Despite his impressive effort, Johnson still was a good hour behind the men's winner, Kenya's Lawrence Cherono, who defeated Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa in a thrilling finish.

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Hamlin wins NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

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Hamlin wins NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

LOUDON, N.H. -- Joe Gibbs Racing has undergone an unexpected upheaval that forced the organization into a youth movement.

The biggest surprise, though, was going 0 for 2017.

Denny Hamlin ended that rut with the kind of finish down the stretch that showed that - yes, the new generation may be on the way - but the JGR lynchpin still knows how to win.

Hamlin held off Kyle Larson over the final laps Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to send Gibbs to its first victory of the season.

One of the top organizations in NASCAR, JGR had yet to have any of its four drivers win until Hamlin took the lead with 33 laps left and held off the hard-charging Larson on the final lap.

Hamlin needed his 30th career Cup victory to secure a berth in NASCAR's version of the postseason and end a winless streak that stretched to last September at Richmond.

"Definitely needed a win for the organization, for myself," Hamlin said.

He'll take the checkered flag - just hold the nutcracker.

Hamlin, who has a Cup win in each of his 12 seasons, gave everyone a laugh when he scampered away from the lobster traditionally awarded to the winner in victory lane.

"I have a lobster phobia," he said.

Larson had a sensational run from the rear of the field, where he was forced to start because he failed inspection after he won the pole. Larson lost his points lead last week and his crew chief was suspended after failing a post-race inspection at Kentucky.

Hamlin crashed the No. 11 Toyota in practice and was forced to race in a backup car. It seemed to suit him just fine at New Hampshire.

Martin Truex Jr., was third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.

JGR won seven of the first 12 races last season and Carl Edwards was 10 laps away from a possible championship when he crashed out in the finale. Daniel Suarez replaced Edwards this season, and Hamlin, Kenseth and Kyle Busch have made strong runs at the checkered flag, they just couldn't find the winning formula until New Hampshire.

"It's not from a lack of trying," Hamlin said.

JGR also announced this week that Erik Jones would replace two-time Daytona 500 champion Kenseth in the No. 20 next season. With Hamlin sending the crowd into a frenzy by burning the tires down, Sunday was simply a reason for the organization to celebrate.

Jones and Suarez will soon be expected to carry the load into the next decade once Busch and the 36-year-old Hamlin finish their careers.

"They're going to be there long after I'm gone," Hamlin said. "They'll be the team leaders. You just try and set an example for them. Show the work ethic that it takes to be a winner on a weekly basis. Hopefully, that infectious-type atmosphere bleeds into them and they lead the team after we're gone."

Larson was second and nearly caught Hamlin - after a trying week where NASCAR caught Larson's Chip Ganassi team trying to tinker a bit too much outside the rule book on the No. 42 Chevrolet.

Larson's team was penalized 35 points this week, erasing what had been a one-point advantage over Truex in the driver standings. Truex, who led 137 laps, leads the standings by 38 points over Larson.

Larson's pole-winning time was disallowed because of an unapproved rear deck fin lid.

"NASCAR's kept a closer eye on our team, in particular," Larson said. "Had to go to the back. I don't think that really affected us which I think is a good thing. The little stuff we got in trouble for so far hasn't affected our performance. We've got to keep working hard on the areas on our race car that are legal and find more speed that way."

Here are other items of note from New Hampshire:

LOGANO OUT:

Joey Logano's miserable stretch continued on his home track. Logano, who needs a win or a string of strong finishes to make NASCAR's playoffs, was forced off the track on the third stage because of a suspension issue. NASCAR seized a rear suspension part with the No. 22 Ford in the garage. He finished 37th.

The Connecticut driver reeled off six top-five finishes in the first nine races that included a win at Richmond. The win did not count toward the playoffs because of rules violations. Logano has posted just two top-10 finishes over the last 10 races and this was the fifth time he finished 25th or worse.

TRACK CRACK

The race was stopped for 5 1/2 minutes when a pot hole opened on the track. The hole was discovered just before the second stage and crews hit the scene to make repairs.

ALMIROLA'S RETURN

Aric Almirola finished 24th in his first race since he suffered a fractured vertebra during a fiery multi-car wreck May 13 at Kanas Speedway.

UP NEXT

Kyle Busch heads to Indianapolis to try and win his third straight Brickyard 400 championship. Busch has not won a Cup race since he kissed the bricks at Indy.

Kenseth pulls away late to win Cup race at New Hampshire

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Kenseth pulls away late to win Cup race at New Hampshire

Matt Kenseth pulled away down the stretch to win the Sprint Cup race Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch each led more than 120 laps before fading late, paving the way for Kenseth to win for the second time this season.

Kenseth also won the New Hampshire race last September. He has 38th career victories.

"It was pretty much money all day," Kenseth said. "We just had to get there."

Tony Stewart finished second and strengthened his spot inside the top 30 in the points standings. Stewart has a win this season and needs to secure a spot in the top 30 in points to clinch a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He entered the race in 30th in his final Cup season.

Joey Logano was third, followed by Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle.

Alex Bowman had a solid day ruined when he hit the wall late and finished 26th driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt was sidelined because he suffered from symptoms of a concussion.

"A lot of attrition there got us in the top five," Biffle said. "We've got just a little bit of work to do to get our cars faster."

Truex tumbled to 16th when his Toyota suffered a broken shifter and Busch dropped the eighth.

That allowed Kenseth, Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, to cruise to the top and snatch the lead with fellow JGR teammate Denny Hamlin with 30 laps and he drove away on the final restart with 11 to go in the 301-mile race.

But this race could be the one remembered for truly solidifying Stewart in Chase contention. He snapped an 84-race losing streak last month at Sonoma and was fifth last week at Kentucky Speedway. Smoke is heating up this summer and could be racing for a fourth championship in his final NASCAR season.

"Everyone wants this last year to be good," Stewart said. "Sonoma, I think really helped relax everybody."

Here are other items of note from Sunday's race:

 

BOWMAN'S RUN

Bowman enjoyed perhaps the final race of his Sprint Cup career, running inside the top 10 and seemingly in position for his best finish in 72 starts.

But Bowman's run in the No. 88 Chevrolet ended with a thud when a tire issue slammed his car into the wall and he finished 26th in his first Cup race of the season.

With four-time champion Jeff Gordon set to take the wheel next week if Earnhardt isn't cleared, Bowman is out of options for the rest of the year.

"The result will not show what a great job (at)AlexBRacing and the (at)nationwide88 gang did this weekend. Proud of them guys," Earnhardt tweeted.

 

KEZ'S STREAK

Brad Keselowski failed in his bid to win three races. He followed wins at Daytona International Speedway and Kentucky Speedway with a 15th-place finish on Sunday.

 

JUNIOR UPDATE

Team owner Rick Hendrick does not think the concussion symptoms that sidelined Earnhardt are career threatening. He hoped to have NASCAR's most popular driver back in the car next week at the Brickyard.

Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon will come out of retirement and drive the 88 next week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway if Earnhardt does not return. Hendrick says Gordon will likely remain in the car should Earnhardt need an extended absence.

Earnhardt will have more tests early this week. Hendrick Motorsports will likely make a decision on Earnhardt's availability on Wednesday.

 

UP NEXT

Kyle Busch heads to the Brickyard as defending winner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.