Johnson Adds Michigan to Win List
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on June 15, 2014 | 4:11 P.M. EST
Jimmie Johnson scored his first career Sprint Cup win Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
After so much heartbreak in the past, Jimmie Johnson finally got to celebrate in Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway.
“About time guys,’’ Johnson said on the radio to his team after taking the checkered flag.
Four times since 2009 Johnson has been leading or in contention to lead in the final laps at Michigan only to have something go wrong.
This time, Johnson has no such issues, scoring his first win at that track and his third victory in the last four Sprint Cup races.
The win also marks the fifth in a row for Hendrick Motorsports with Jeff Gordon’s triumph at Kansas, Johnson’s victories at Charlotte and Dover, Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s win at Pocono and Johnson’s victory Sunday at Michigan.
Kevin Harvick placed second with Brad Keselowski third, Paul Menard fourth and Kasey Kahne fifth.
Harvick had one of the stronger cars but pit strategy and a vibration foiled him.
“The car was fast, just wound up on the wrong side of all the strategy,’’ Harvick said. “We finished second, and that's it.
Jeff Gordon finished sixth with Dale Earnhardt Jr. seventh, Kyle Larson eighth, Joey Logano ninth and Clint Bowyer 10th.
How Johnson won: Crew chief Chad Knaus made the right strategy calls and put Johnson in the right place to score the win while others had to pit late.
What else happened: Kevin Harvick led a race-high 63 laps but strategy didn’t go his way and then a vibration late caused further issues. After the race, crew chief Rodney Childers said on the radio: “That’s all my fault there. Sorry guys.’’ ... Kyle Larson spun early in the race and rebounded to finish eighth.
Who else had a good day: Brad Keselowski finished third. He’s finished second, second and third in the last three races. ... Paul Menard’s fourth-place finish was his third top-10 finish in the last four races. ... Kasey Kahne came back from being collected in Brian Vickers’ opening-lap incident to finish fifth, his best result since last month’s Kansas race.
Who had a bad day: Brian Vickers got outside the groove on the opening lap in Turn 3 and wrecked. He finished 42nd, marking the second time in three races he’s placed 42nd or worse. ... Kyle Busch was sixth on a restart on Lap 78 when his car didn’t go and he headed to the garage with a hub issue. He lost 26 laps because of repairs and finished 41st. ... Roush Fenway Racing did not have any of its three cars finish better than 20th, ending a streak of 27 consecutive races with at least one RFR car placing in the top 10 there.
Quote of the day: “We’re getting stronger, there’s no doubt about that,’’ Jimmie Johnson in Victory Lane after his third win the last four races.
Other notables: Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished seventh a week after his Pocono win. ... Juan Pablo Montoya, making his first start of the season, finished 18th. ... Justin Allgaier finished a career-high 16th. ... Denny Hamlin finished a season-worst 29th. ... Jeff Gordon was sixth, marking his sixth top-10 finish in the last eight races. ... Cars powered by Hendrick engines took six of the top eight spots.