Johnson Holds On at Kansas
Jimmie Johnson held off a furious charge by Carl Edwards on the final lap to win his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the year in Sunday's Camping World RV 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Johnson looked like he was in command most of the afternoon and in the end led a race-high 124 laps. That is until the final two laps.
Edwards closed in on the white flag lap and mounted a strong run as the duo hit turns three and four.
The No. 99 Ford shot by the No. 48 Lowe's Chevy on the inside and then slid up the track slapping the wall as Johnson went back by for the lead.
With the checkered flag in the air, Johnson crossed the finish line first for his first career Sprint Cup win at Kansas with Edwards 0.280-seconds behind.
It was Johnson's 38th career Sprint Cup Series win.
"Where did he come from?" Johnson said. "He figured out something. I thought I had it under control."
"Those last two laps he figured out something and got a bunch of grip. I thought he was under control and all of a sudden he was there. Great race, I saw the slide jump coming, dodged it and got a win.”
Edwards, who is a native of nearby Columbia, Missouri, wanted to win at his home track badly and was prepared to do whatever he needed to accomplish that goal.
"I planned on hitting the wall, but I didn't plan on the wall slowing me down that much," Edwards said.
"I just really, really wanted to win this race. I wasn't going to pass him on the bottom and I didn't want to do a slide job and hit him. ...That's as hard as I can go. Jimmie is a smart racer. I didn't know what was going to happen, but I had to try."
Defending Kansas winner Greg Biffle came up short in his bid for three staright wins to start the Chase and finished third.
Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth, who spun out earlier in the race, rounded out the top five.
Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton finished sixth and seventh as Chase drivers swept the top seven positions.
David Ragan, A.J. Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler completed the first ten finishers.
Although most struggled in qualifying with only Johnson and Kenseth able to start inside the top ten, the majority of the Chase field had decent runs Sunday with Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. taking the 11th-13th spots.
It wasn't a good day for the two other Chase participants, both from the Joe Gibbs Racing stable.
Kyle Busch's horrible start to the playoffs continued as mechanical problems plagued the No. 18 M&M's Toyota ending in a 28th place finish.
Stewart had trouble on pit road and the race track with Brian Vickers, first getting boxed in by the No. 83 Team Red Bull Toyota on a pit stop and then spinning through the infield grass after making slight contact with Vickers.
Stewart fell seven laps behind the leaders before it was over and finished 40th.
Johnson leads Edwards by 10 points in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings with Biffle now thirty points behind in third.