Johnson Rolls to Kansas Win

Jimmie Johnson

Johnson led seven times for 197 laps. (Photo: Getty Images)

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Jimmie Johnson turned in a dominating performance and then held off Kasey Kahne in an overtime finish to win his first race of the Chase in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Johnson led 197 of the day’s 272 laps but had to outrun Kahne on a green-white-checkered finish to lock down his victory. At the finish the five-time series champion was 0.548-seconds ahead of Kahne.

“Very happy to have had such a great car here today,” said Johnson. “That last restart was a little hairy but we took the outside groove and got a nice jump when the green came out. Just carried a lot of momentum around Kasey there through one and we were able to stay out front the rest of the way. Great day for us.”

It was Johnson’s first win since his Talladega victory in April and in the process moved him to third in the standings and only four points out of the lead. Johnson put career win number 55 in the record book tying him with Rusty Wallace for eighth on the all-time victory list. He also scored the 199th Sprint Cup Series victory for Hendrick Motorsports.

The win also clinched the Sprint Cup Series manufacturer’s championship for Chevrolet.

Johnson looked as if he would cruise to an easy win until his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon blew an engine on lap 264 to bring out the race’s sixth caution.

That set up the dramatic restart and Johnson’s stellar jump was the difference in picking up the checkered flag.

“Obviously that last caution was not what we wanted to see especially now that I found out it was for the 24,” Johnson said. “We just had to go to work one last time and were able to get the job done.

“There’s still so much racing left in this Chase that I’m not really thinking about the standings. Glad we moved up but we know there’s a long way to go.”

Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards rounded out the first five finishers.

For Edwards it was a monumental come back from falling out of contention early and a lap down, only to rally back for the fifth place finish and to the top of the Chase point standings.

“What a fun race that was,” said Edwards. “There was certainly a lot of luck involved there. Man I wanted to win for these home fans at Kansas but this is like getting a win considering how it looked like it could have been. I have to thank my Aflac team. They did a great job today, they never stopped and we were able to work out way back up there. We were just off in the beginning but they worked hard all day and it paid off at the end.”

Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Marcos Ambrose and Mark Martin completed the first ten finishers.

Other Chase drivers in Sunday’s field included Kyle Busch (11th), Kurt Busch (13th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (14th), Tony Stewart (15th), Denny Hamlin (16th), Ryan Newman (18th) and Gordon, who finished 34th dropping him back to 10th in the standings.

“Really never saw it coming,” said Gordon. “We had some problems there with handling on that one stop and had our hands full to try and get back when we took four tires on the next stop. But to have the engine let go is pretty devastating and we’re going to have to dig back from this.”

Camping World Truck Series point leader Austin Dillon finished 26th in his Sprint Cup Series debut.

The race was slowed by six cautions for 25 laps. There were 19 lead changes among nine different drivers.

Edwards leads Harvick by one point with Johnson, Keselowski and Kenseth the first five in the standings.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for next Saturday night’s Bank of America 500.

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