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Jimmie Johnson Delivers Super Performance To Win Auto Club 400
- Updated: March 20, 2016
Jimmie Johnson found an extra bit of speed during a green-white-checkered finish in overtime of the Auto Club 400 and used it to fly ahead of the field to claim his 77th career Sprint Cup win in a special paint scheme adorning Superman’s colors. After a caution for a blown tire from Kyle Busch with, Johnson edged past Harvick on the backstretch for the 26th lead change of the race and kept his No. 48 Chevrolet there for the final lap and a half. Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Jr rounded out the top 5.
If Johnson was Superman arriving just in the nick of time on Sunday, then Harvick may be becoming frustrated nemesis in the vein of Lex Luthor. Johnson’s second win denied Kevin Harvick in yet another race where the No. 4 led the most laps. Johnson led 25 laps to Harvick’s 142.
“I knew we had a good car, but that caution fell at a bad time the run before,” Johnson told Fox while wearing a Superman cape to match his paint scheme and firesuit. “I just didn’t have the tires on the car to race with (the leaders). To go there at the end and have good tires on the car, Harvick and I got by I guess Joey (Logano) there at the start. I got a great run off of Turn 2 and I thought ‘man, I’ve got a shot at this thing’. Which I didn’t expect to have.”
Other storylines during the Auto Club 400 included:
- Rookie Chase Elliot collected his 3rd top 10 of the season, while a late race pit stop gave Brian Scott a season best 12th.
- Danica Patrick brought out the fourth caution on Lap 121 when she was turned by Kasey Kane straight into the outside wall on the front stretch
- Ryan Blaney took a long ride down the outside wall with about five laps to go, ending his day in the garage with a 35th-place finish.
- Kevin Harvick has failed to win after leading the most laps 16 times since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.
NASCAR has it’s first weekend off of the season next week before the STP 500 from Martinsville Speedway.