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“I could see that he was tight and his car wasn’t ideal” — Race winner Jimmie Johnson on passing Brad Keselowski for the win in the final laps

“I did everything I could to hold him off, but he was way faster during that last run” — Runner-up Keselowski on Johnson’s finish

“Without a doubt, even in some bad-luck situations, the No. 4 car has found a way to make it work” — Burton on Kevin Harvick

NBC Sports presented NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff racing from Texas Motor Speedway this afternoon. From a track with a proven reputation for exciting finishes, today’s race did not disappoint as a much-needed victory from Chase driver Brad Keselowski was snatched away in dramatic fashion by six-time champion Jimmie Johnson in the final laps.

Race announcer Rick Allen called the action alongside Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte and 21-time Sprint Cup winner Jeff Burton. Marty Snider, Mike Massaro, Kelli Stavast and Dave Burns contributed reports from pit road and victory lane.

AAA Texas 500 Results

Position Driver Car #

1 Jimmie Johnson 48

2 Brad Keselowski 22

3 Kevin Harvick 4

4 Kyle Busch 18

5 Carl Edwards 19

Chase Standings

Position Driver Points Behind
1Jeff Gordon4082Leader (1 Win)
2Kyle Busch4080-2
3Kevin Harvick4079-3
4Martin Truex, Jr.4076-6
5Carl Edwards4069-13
6Brad Keselowski4057-25
7Kurt Busch4048-34
8Joey Logano4013-69

The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Sprint Cup race coverage on NBC.

After Joey Logano’s left-rear tire failed, forcing his car to the garage after just 10 laps of racing, Steve Letarte offered: “Left-rear tires have been a topic of conversation, not because of a Goodyear issue, but because that left-rear tire is in a really tight predicament. It’s very close to the body and really close to some suspension. It’s something that you must fine-tune over practice, but this week (due to weather), they’ve had very little practice.”

Upon Keselowski asking his crew chief, ‘Should I be nervous?’ after teammate Logano’s tire failed, Letarte said: “That’s a polite way of asking if there is something we’re doing as a company that should have me nervous about the four tires on my car.

Burton on today’s early action: “We’re only 31 laps into this race and we’ve already seen an incident on pit road, we’ve seen a wreck on the race track, we’ve seen mechanical issues. At this race track, for some reason, we always see events like this. Things just always seem to happen here.”

Lap 96, Burton on Keselowski’s torrid pace: “Keselowski is coming. If you are Aric Almirola right now, you have got to get going because you do not want to get lapped this early in the race. Keselowski’s pace is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on a lot of these guys who are pushing to try and stay on the lead lap.”

Lap 160, Letarte on Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s damage after making contact with the wall: “He can’t come to pit road. I know he’s off the pace and falling back, but right now he just has to conserve. Keep going straight. Do not lose control. Don’t make the situation worse. Perhaps he’ll get a caution. Until he gets lapped by the leaders, there is really no reason to pit.”

Burton adds: “And that is exactly what his crew chief and spotter need to be telling him right now. ‘Look, we see you’re struggling. We know it’s a problem. Just don’t wreck the race car and let’s hope for a caution.’”

Lap 270, Allen on the top five slots: “The top five positions are all Chase drivers. And we’ve come to expect that, the best in the sport are all running up front, fighting for a chance at the championship.”

Letarte adds: “And at least one of those five will be eliminated. We’ve only got room for four at Homestead.”

With 41 laps to go, Burton on pit strategy: “I think we’re really close to a few teams coming into pit, and that will draw in the rest. There is so much speed that comes with fresh tires, that if someone pits and you don’t, they are going to eat you up.”

With 22 laps to go, Burton on Kevin Harvick’s recent handling of adversity: “Part of winning a championship is having some things go your way. Without a doubt, even in some bad-luck situations, the No. 4 car has found a way to make it work.”

With 2 laps to go, Letarte on Jimmie Johnson’s pass of Keselowski for the lead: “Of all the people that Brad Keselowski could have chosen to defend his lead against in the final laps, it could not have been Jimmie Johnson, a six-time champion with so much success here in Texas.”

After the checkered flag, runner-up Keselowski to Stavast: “I did everything I could to hold him off, but he was way faster during that last run. Their team did a hell of a job and found a lot of speed, but our team did a hell of a job— we led three hundred something laps. There’s nothing you can do about the debris yellows at the end of these races. They are going to favor some and hurt some others. It wasn’t our day for them to favor us, but there is still a lot to be proud of.”

Race winner Johnson to Burns in Victory Lane: “I kept working on him (Keselowski) and working on him. I could see that he was tight and his car wasn’t ideal when he moved up and had the high lane covered. He got real loose off of two and I had a big run off the top. Then I went for a big slide job down in three and four… and I got the win.”