Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson passed Joey Logano with 16 laps to go to win his first race of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and his seventh at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway.
Johnson started near the rear of the grid Sunday after flat spotting his tires during qualifying and being forced to change them before the race – a violation of the series’ rules. He had worked his way into the top 10 by the time the fifth caution had come out about a third of the way through the race and ran in the top five until the end of Stage 2 on Lap 170.
Johnson battled with Ford’s Ryan Blaney throughout Stage 3, who dominated the first and second stages of the race, but the young driver eventually fell out of favor after he slid through his pit box on Lap 300 and lost valuable track position at the dicy Texas raceway. Blaney led a race-high 148 laps but would go on to finish 12th following the mistake.
“I guess I remembered how to drive, and I guess this team remembered how to do it!” Johnson told NASCAR.com post-race. “I’m just real proud of this team. “What a tough track and tough conditions. We were really in our wheelhouse and we were just able to execute all day.”