Jimmie Johnson led 60 laps from the pole and scored a fifth-place finish in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
It was Johnson’s best finish of the year and first top five since the 2018 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Yes, we are definitely moving in the right direction! Car was good in clean air and had a lot of speed in it, so I think we have found kind of center for our cars and what has to happen,” Johnson said. “It was a little evil in traffic, and I had a heck of a time on green flag restarts, but really worked hard to get it up underneath me and tightening the car up a little bit for us to race.
“Ended up having great pace and decent drivability, so are working in the right direction. I am just so proud of everybody on this Ally team. We’ve had a lot of pressure on us, and everyone has stepped up and getting it done.”
Johnson was fast all weekend including Friday’s qualifying session when he won the pole. The experience coupled with his top-five run has the seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion feeling optimistic after a long dry spell.
“For me, I was just trying to get a consistent weekend,” he said. “It is one thing to have one-lap paced, we needed that and we did that on Friday. Then, Saturday went really well. So, in the back of my mind I was thinking we just needed to have a rock-solid day, and if we did that, then I could confirm to myself and to everyone else that we are moving in the right direction.”