Johnson Wins at Texas; Dominant Blaney Finishes 12th

by Joseph Shelton On Sun, Apr. 09, 2017

Photo Credit: Don Dunn

Jimmie Johnson took his seventh Texas Motor Speedway victory and his first victory of 2017 on Sunday, holding off Kyle Larson by 0.340 seconds to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. Johnson, who has struggled mightily in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, also earned his second top-10 of the season.

“I guess I remembered how to drive, and I guess this team remembered how to do it! I’m just real proud of this team. What a tough track and tough conditions. We were really in our wheelhouse and we were just able to execute all day. Thanks to everybody at Lowe’s and Chevy and the fans and a ton of sponsors,” Johnson said.

Although the Chad Knaus-led No. 48 crew wound up in Victory Lane, it was the No. 21 Ford of Ryan Blaney who was the dominant car of the day, leading 148 laps and winning the first two stages of the day. However, Blaney was only able to manage a 12th-place at the end of the race after being penalized for sliding through his pit box during his final pit stop.

“Our car today was really strong,” said Blaney. “We made really good adjustments to get our car to where we needed it to be. If you would have asked me yesterday if our car would have been so great during the first couple of stages, I wouldn’t have thought so.”

On sliding through his pit box, he said, “It was kind of an unfortunate deal. We were pinned between the 4 and the 88 at a weird angle, and I hurt us on that one for sure and we weren’t able to pass anyone after that.

Blaney’s Team Penske Brother-In-Arms Joey Logano managed a gutsy pit play and finished third, while polesitter Kevin Harvick finished fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fifth for his first top-10 of the season.

Brad Keselowski finished in sixth, while Jamie McMurray earned a seventh-place run. Martin Truex Jr. had a strong car early on as well, leading 49 laps, but faded back to eighth at the end. Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-10.

Eight cautions slowed down the race for the day, with the most serious being on lap 11, a three-car accident involving Reed Sorenson, Gray Gaulding, and Jeffrey Earnhardt in Turn 2, with Earnhardt receiving the brunt of the accident by backing into the wall hard and ending his day.

Larson’s runner-up finish maintained his point lead over Chase Elliott by 17 points.

Ty Dillon was the highest-finishing rookie of the race, finishing in 17th, while Daniel Suarez took his No. 19 Toyota in the 19th-position as the second-highest rookie.

The next race will be on April 23, at Bristol Motor Speedway.

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth, Texas
Sunday, April 9, 2017
1. (24) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 334.
2. (32) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 334.
3. (4) Joey Logano, Ford, 334.
4. (1) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 334.
5. (37) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 334.
6. (5) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 334.
7. (6) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 334.
8. (7) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 334.
9. (33) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 334.
10. (10) Kurt Busch, Ford, 334.
11. (3) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 334.
12. (2) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 334.
13. (12) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 334.
14. (11) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 334.
15. (34) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 334.
16. (8) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 334.
17. (14) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 334.
18. (18) Aric Almirola, Ford, 334.
19. (20) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 334.
20. (16) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 334.
21. (38) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 333.
22. (36) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 333.
23. (13) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 333.
24. (19) Danica Patrick, Ford, 333.
25. (17) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 333.
26. (9) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 332.
27. (27) * JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, 330.
28. (21) David Ragan, Ford, 329.
29. (15) Landon Cassill, Ford, 329.
30. (28) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 327.
31. (26) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 327.
32. (23) * Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, 326.
33. (25) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 322.
34. (29) Gray Gaulding #, Toyota, 322.
35. (30) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 319.
36. (22) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 314.
37. (40) * Derrike Cope, Toyota, 313.
38. (35) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 303.
39. (39) * Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 104.
40. (31) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, Accident, 9.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 147.137 mph.
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 24 Mins, 18 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.340 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 8 for 35 laps.
Lead Changes: 16 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: K. Harvick 1-15; R. Blaney 16-32; K. Harvick 33-36; R. Blaney 37-88; M. Truex Jr. 89-92; R. Blaney 93-125; M. Truex Jr. 126; R. Blaney 127-172; K. Harvick 173-219; B. Keselowski 220-223; J. Logano 224-228; M. Truex Jr. 229-272; J. Johnson 273; J. Logano 274-290; K. Harvick 291-301; J. Logano 302-317; J. Johnson 318-334.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): R. Blaney 4 times for 148 laps; K. Harvick 4 times for 77 laps; M. Truex Jr. 3 times for 49 laps; J. Logano 3 times for 38 laps; J. Johnson 2 times for 18 laps; B. Keselowski 1 time for 4 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 21,78,1,4,2,42,14,17,22,18
Stage #2 Top Ten: 21,48,1,42,24,41,4,2,88,78

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