Johnson Earns His 76th Win And Takes Place in Record Books Along Side Dale Earnhardt
On a day that saw many green flag laps and tire management becoming a big part of the race, Jimmie Johnson in his #48 Lowes Chevrolet tied one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history Dale Earnhardt Sr. with his 76th win. Jimmie and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. are now tied for 7th
The low down force package did not lead to many cautions and at one point in the race they logged 210 green flag laps, the longest stretch in the history of Atlanta Motor Speedway. With few cautions and most pits stops under green only 12 cars finished on the lead lap.
A late race overtime restart in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway sealed the win for Jimmie Johnson in his 509th start. Ironically Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished right behind him in second rebounding from his crash at Daytona. With the new overtime rules in effect a crash just before the white flag on the green, white, checker ended the race and put the #48 in victory lane.
That final restart proved costly for Jimmy Johns#4 Kevin Havick who lead a race high 131 laps and looked to be on his way to a victory. He spun his tires and then got shuffled back to 6th place in the final standings.
Other notables in the race:
#22 Matt Kenseth in the Dollar General Toyota who had to serve a black flag penalty after his gas man put a wrench on the trunk while fueling which was violation, Matt had to pit to serve a penalty because of that violation ruining a day with a car capable of winning early on but ending up 19th 2 laps down.
#22 Chase Elliot in the NAPA Auto Parts #24 was happy to put Daytona behind him but had to fight a loose race ca through the 210 lap green flag run finishing as the highest rookie in 8th place.
The Busch brothers finished 3rd and 4th today. #18 Kyle the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion in the M & M’s Toyota got his second top 5 of the season, moving from 3rd to 1 st in the point standings, a great day after starting in 39th. Kyle’s pole winning time was disallowed after qualifying moving him to 39th on the starting grid and with the lack of cautions made his 3rd place run even more remarkable. #41 Kyle in the Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet started on the pole and led 51 laps himself but had to settle on finishing 5th one spot behind his brother.
#43 Aric Almirola’s day ending in spectacular fashion. Aric driving the Richard Petty Motorsports Smithfields Ford. was involved in a 4 car wreck on the back stretch. The wreck pushed him back to 15th in the finishing order. His car caught fire as he circled back to the pits after his wreck but the flames were quickly extinguished, Aric was uninjured.
Next up is the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt 400 on Sunday March 6th.
Stephen Furst Photo
Kyle Busch took the Coors Light pole for today’s Xfinity Heads Up Georgia 250 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Former NASCAR Whelen Modified champion Ryan Preece qualified 21st on his first visit to the lightning fast speedway. This weekend was the first of many races where Ryan will be racing on tracks across the country he has never even seen. Fox Sports1 will have all the action at 1;30 this afternoon. #NASCAR #RyanPreece #Atlantamotorspeedway