Sunday, November 4, 2012

Johnson Wins Duel With Keselowski at Texas

Johnson produces maximum points for the second straight week (Getty)
Sporting News 

Jimmie Johnson sped away from Brad Keselowski on a green-white-checkered restart to win a wild race at Texas Motor Speedway and maintain his lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

After the two had bumped and banged for the lead with eight laps remaining, Johnson, on fresher tires, pulled away from Keselowski with three laps remaining for his second straight win in the Chase.

Keselowski, who fought desperately to hang onto to the lead and the win, finished second followed by Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart.

With his second straight win in the Chase, Johnson now leads Keselowski by seven points with just two races remaining. Johnson held a two-point lead entering the race, but padded his lead with the win and by leading the most laps.

Johnson and Keselowski took turns dominating the race.

After both took turns dominating portions of the race, Keselowski and Johnson raced door to door for the lead and the victory.

On a restart with eight laps remaining, Johnson challenged Keselowski for the lead, but Keselowski wouldn’t give him an inch.

As the two raced side by side for the lead, Johnson pulled ahead on the outside, but Keselowski raced back to his inside and bumped into Johnson, causing both cars to get loose.

Keselowski made a great save and hung on and then drove away with the lead while Kyle Busch challenged Johnson for second. Keselowski appeared to be driving away to the win until Mark Martin crashed with four laps remaining, setting up the green-white checkered restart.

Johnson was running second and Keselowski fourth with both in fuel conservation mode when Marcos Ambrose hit the wall to bring out a caution flag with 25 laps remaining.

Keselowski then took a big gamble, changing just two tires while Johnson and most of the other leaders took four. Keselowski came off pit road with the lead with Busch and Johnson behind him.

Keselowski held the lead until a critical pit stop on Lap 276. Keselowski came into the pits first, but slid through his pit stall and had to back up.

While Busch and Johnson came out of the pits first, Keselowski lost eight spots, falling to ninth on the restart.

Keselowski quickly took the blame for the mistake.

“That was my fault,” he told his crew. “Man, this thing just don’t top without locking up the front brakes.”

Johnson dominated the first half of the race, leading 146 of the first 165 laps. Keselowski and Kyle Busch then took turns swapping the lead in the second half of the race.

The first 100 laps were run under green, marking 334 straight laps without a caution at Texas, dating back to the sprint race.

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