Johnson Impresses with Charlotte Comeback

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson grew his points lead to 41 with a third-place finish in Charlotte. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Jimmie Johnson rebounded from an early race spin that dropped him as far back as 37th to finish third in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
 
The amazing comeback allowed Johnson to turn a night that could have been disastrous to his championship hopes into a positive, as he actually increased his lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings to 41 over Denny Hamlin.
 
“We just couldn’t give up,” Johnson said. “I hate I spun out, but I’m kinda proud I didn’t hit anything. I did a lot of driving trying to keep it off the fence.”
 
After spinning down the back straightaway, Johnson was forced to pit a couple of times to change tires and for his crew to fix some minor damage to the Lowe’s Chevrolet.
 
But once he returned to the track, Johnson charged through the field and by lap 189 was already to the front of the pack as the leader of the race.
 
“It’s amazing what goes through your mind sliding through the back straight,” Johnson said of the determination by his team to get back on the track and run upfront. “I saw all my dreams and hard work and fifth straight championship going away.”
 
With five races remaining in the Chase, Johnson is very much in control of his own destiny and a possible record fifth straight title. If he is able to accomplish the unprecedented feat, Saturday night’s performance in Charlotte could have been the pivotal moment.
 
“Tonight is a night that reminds me of the last four years and what made this team champions,” Johnson said. “I hope tonight leads us to a championship.

“I hope (I) look back and say Charlotte was a key point. We kept our composure. I think in the summer months, frustrations would have gotten the best of us. Tonight, the team stayed in it. (Crew chief) Chad (Knaus) stayed in it. I did. Everything worked right.”

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