Johnson Adds to His Legacy with Fourth Bank of America 500 Triumph
Jimmie Johnson made an emotionally charged return to victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, when the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion became the first driver to win four Bank of America 500 races in an action-packed fourth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Johnson's triumph was his record eighth points victory at Charlotte's iconic 1.5-mile superspeedway and it came 15 years and two days after his Sprint Cup Series debut in the 2001 Bank of America 500.
Johnson passed runner-up Matt Kenseth for the lead with 18 laps to go and clinched a berth in the Chase's Round of 8 - but with Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick finishing 30th or worse, Kenseth leaves Charlotte with a 31-point lead over the ninth-place cutoff. Non-Chase drivers Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Kyle Larson completed the top five with defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch sixth.
Bank of America 500 Winner Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet): "We knew we would be back; it was just slower than we thought it would be. We feel like the day conditions helped us and the sun definitely helped. This has opened up some opportunities for us now. It's just fantastic, we can race hard now. We take (the Chase) day at a time and one race at a time. I still feel like we can bring better race cars to the track. We can't sit back and celebrate too much. Tomorrow, we'll be back at work."
Runner-Up Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota): "We didn't make it easy. We had a part go bad in inspection or something and had to start from the rear. Then we got the pit road penalty and had to go back there again. So, it was an uphill battle. The team made some great adjustments and had great pit stops there at the end to try and put us in position to go for the win. We were just a little off of the 48 (Johnson) on the short run. I couldn't have done anything different there. Again, it was a solid run. That was all I had on the restart and all I had on the run. I just didn't have enough speed."
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