Johnson Gets Hendrick Number 200 at Darlington

Via Getty Images

 By Jason Schultz Jimmie Johnson got Rick Hendrick his 200th Sprint Cup Series win Saturday Night at Darlington. Johnson held off battles from Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin late in the race. A late caution bunched the field up again but Johnson was able to prevail and take the win. This was Johnson’s third win at Darlington. Johnson dominated most of the race and led the most laps. 

The first green flag run lasted 172 laps. That run broke the Darlington record for the most laps run under green-flag conditions to start a race. Leaders in that stretch included; Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Landon Cassill. The green-flag run also featured three rounds of green-flag pit stops.   The first caution of the night came out on lap 173 for debris. Johnson would lead coming to the restart on lap 180. Halfway through the race Kyle Busch would be the leader followed by Johnson and Truex Jr.

On lap 189 Johnson would take the lead from Kyle Busch. Jeff Gordon had his first major issue of the night when got into the wall with a little assistance from Hamlin. Jeff Gordon brought out the next caution, debris from his blown tire were the cause of the yellow flag. Kasey Kahne won the race off pit road and would lineup next to Hamlin who stayed out on the following restart. Kahne would soon over-power Hamlin with Kahne’s fresher tires. After Jeff Gordon blew two more tires, he would go to the garage. Gordon would eventually re-enter the race and finish the race 35th.

The next round of green-flag pit stops began on lap 279. After the round of green-flag pit stops ended, Truex Jr. would be the leader. With just 70 laps to go in the Bojangles’ Southern 500, the caution came out for Bobby Labonte who spun out on the front stretch.  Around this time in the race fuel was becoming a possible issue for the end of the race, but never became a factor in the race outcome. Under this same caution Tony Stewart was having issues with his clutch, seem to have resolved those issues soon after.

The next caution came out for Regan Smith who spun attempting to get on to pit road. Under the caution Truex Jr. pitted, that move was what likely cost him the race win. With 55 laps to go Kyle Busch took the lead from Jimmie Johnson. On lap 316, Jamie McMurray got loose and slid up into Allmendinger putting them both into the wall brining out the caution. Five laps after the restart Jimmie Johnson gained the lead from Kyle Busch. With 37 laps to go Reed Sorenson spun on the back-stretch to bring out the caution.

On the restart with 33 laps to go the top five included Johnson, KyBusch, Hamlin, Stewart and Biffle. Until the caution came out with seven laps to go Johnson and Stewart maintained the same distance between them.  The caution with seven to go was for Kurt Busch cutting a tire down after getting into the wall and Busch eventually spun out. When drivers went to checkup Aric Almirola got into the back off Ryan Newman, sending Newman spinning into the backstretch wall and Newman suffered severe damage.

For the second straight week we were going to finish the race under the green-white-checker finish format. They lined up as followed; Johnson, Stewart, KyBusch, Hamlin and Kenseth. Johnson got a great restart and pulled away. Hamlin attempted to catch Johnson but was unable to. Johnson went on to win his first race of the season along with Mr. Hendrick’s 200th Sprint Cup win. After 16 weeks of trying, one of Hendrick Motorsports cars finally pulled into victory lane to get Mr. H number 200. Rick Hendrick commented in an interview with FOX “I can’t believe we’ve won 200 of these things.”  On a Saturday night in a small town named Darlington in South Carolina, Hendrick Motorsports accomplished a goal few teams will ever achieve, winning 200 Sprint Cup Series races. It took about six and a half months for a Hendrick driver to win, but this win would be special for all of Hendrick Motorsports whenever it came.

Next week the Sprint Cup Series will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the much-anticipated Sprint All-Star Race. 

Here’s the link explaining the Kurt Busch/Newman argument http://www.jayski.com/cupnews.htm

Results via Nascar.com

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s 48/2 368 Running
2 8 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 43/1 368 Running
3 17 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 41/0 368 Running
4 5 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Wrigley’s Doublemint 41/1 368 Running
5 6 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 40/1 368 Running
6 19 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Best Buy 38/0 368 Running
7 7 99 Carl Edwards Ford Ford EcoBoost 37/0 368 Running
8 3 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 37/1 368 Running
9 28 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 35/0 368 Running
10 21 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 34/0 368 Running
11 26 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 33/0 368 Running
12 1 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / O’Reilly Auto Parts 33/1 368 Running
13 14 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Turtle Wax / Menards 31/0 368 Running
14 9 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 30/0 368 Running
15 15 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 29/0 368 Running
16 23 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem 28/0 368 Running
17 24 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew 28/1 368 Running
18 10 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 26/0 368 Running
19 13 43 Aric Almirola Ford Verifone Sail 25/0 368 Running
20 18 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 24/0 368 Running
21 25 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services 23/0 368 Running
22 31 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 22/0 367 Running
23 4 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats 22/1 367 Running
24 27 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target / Kraft 20/0 366 Running
25 36 38 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 19/0 366 Running
26 20 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 19/1 366 Running
27 34 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet SealWrap.com 17/0 365 Running
28 37 34 David Ragan Ford Front Row Motorsports 16/0 364 Running
29 22 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush’s Baked Beans 15/0 364 Running
30 42 32 Reed Sorenson Ford Southern Pride Trucking 0 363 Running
31 38 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 0 362 Running
32 33 173 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 12/0 362 Running
33 16 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge Shell / Pennzoil-AAA 11/0 357 Running
34 11 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Allstate 10/0 345 Running
35 12 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger / AARP 9/0 339 Running
36 41 93 David Reutimann Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 8/0 314 Running
37 43 249 J.J. Yeley Toyota America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents 7/0 132 Clutch
38 39 74 Cole Whitt Chevrolet Turn One Racing 0 35 Vibration
39 32 30 David Stremme Toyota Stock Car Steel and Aluminum 5/0 32 Overheating
40 40 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 0 27 Power Steering
41 35 52 Mike Skinner Toyota CrusaderStaff
ing.com
0 20 Electrical
42 29 179 Scott Speed Ford Team Kyle / Koma Unwind 2/0 20 Overheating
43 30 26 Josh Wise * Ford Morristown Driver’s Service 1/0 19 Vibration

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