Jimmie Johnson wins O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas for first Cup win of year
Jimmie Johnson passed Joey Logano with 16 laps left and led the rest of the way to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Johnson’s seventh win at Texas Motor Speedway and the 81st Cup win of his career came after he started from the rear of the field. It echoed Johnson’s most recent win, the 2016 finale in Miami, when he started from the rear and took the lead late to win the race and championship.
Sunday’s win is also Johnson’s first top five of the year. Prior to Sunday, Johnson had not finished better than ninth through the first six races of the year, a career worst to open a season.
“I guess I remembered how to drive,” Johnson told Fox Sports in victory lane. “Just real proud of this team. What a tough track and conditions. We were really in our wheelhouse and we were able to execute all day.”
Filling out the top five were Kyle Larson, Logano, pole-sitter Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Logano finished second after being the only driver to stay out during a debris caution that flew with 35 laps remaining.
Johnson is the first Cup winner at Texas since the 1.5-mile track was repaved and the banking in Turns 1 and 2 reduced from 24 to 20 degrees.
He started from the rear after spinning in qualifying and having to go to new tires.
“Probably in the second or third run I knew we were going to be in good shape,” Johnson said. “From there off we went. It was so tough those first 23 laps in traffic. The air was very turbulent, the track wasn’t very clean. Just the way it finished now, I think we could start racing and put on a show.”
Stage 1 & 2 winner: Ryan Blaney
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Logano (third) and Earnhardt (fifth) each had their best result of the year. Earnhardt’s top five is his first since the June 2016 race at Pocono Raceway ... Blaney led 148 laps, a career high, but pit strategy and a bad final pit stop relegated him to a 12th-place finish ... Jamie McMurray finished seventh for his fourth top 10 of the season.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Austin Dillon did not enter the race until Lap 12 after going to the garage during pace laps for a broken track bar. He finished 33rd .... Paul Menard left the race soon after the start of the final stage for a battery problem. He returned to the race 18 laps down and finished 36th ... Denny Hamlin finished 25th for his fourth finish of worse than 15th this year ... Kasey Kahne went to the garage with a rear axle problem with 42 laps left and finished 38th.
NOTABLE: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s car had one unsecured lug nut in post-race inspection. According to the rulebook, that results a $10,000 fine for the crew chief ... Kyle Larson has finished second in four of the first seven races. He’s finished second in five of the last eight races, dating back to the 2016 finale at Miami.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I still think I have the keys to the front door,” - Jimmie Johnson after winning his seventh race at Texas Motor Speedway, the track record.
WHAT’S NEXT: Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway at 2 p.m. ET on April 23 on Fox.