UNDER THE HOOD

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First Career Win at Michigan

RECAP: BROOKLYN, Michigan – With nine laps to go, Jimmie Johnson seized the lead at Michigan International Speedway and held on to take the checkered flag for the third time this season. The first-place finish marked Johnson’s 69th Sprint Cup win and first career victory at the Irish Hills track. Johnson is the first driver this season to score three wins.

Jimmie Johnson rolled off the grid seventh at the Michigan track on Sunday and immediately began his forward march to the front. By Lap 17, the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS had cracked the top five and nine laps later, he was running third. A speedy 7.3-second pit stop at Lap 75 allowed Johnson to take the lead for the first time that day. He spent the next 29 laps running in the top two, alternating between the lead and runner-up position.

Johnson dropped out of the top two after the restart at Lap 108, but continued to race in the top seven. Johnson elected to stay on track while the leaders made yellow-flag pit stops at Lap 149. The strategy worked, as Johnson moved into the second position for the restart at Lap 153. A dynamic restart put Johnson in the top position once again. A four-tire pit stop at Lap 168 set him back momentarily, but the fresh tires put the No. 48 Chevy SS back in the lead with nine laps to go. He continued to lead at the Irish Hills track for the remainder of the race, recording his third victory of the season.

Sunday proved to be a good day for the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization, as Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined Johnson in the top seven. Kahne rounded out the top five, while Gordon and Earnhardt finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Johnson’s win also gave Hendrick Motorsports its fifth straight victory of the 2014 season, the organization’s longest winning streak since 2007 when Johnson won the Cup championship. Hendrick Motorsports now has seven wins at the two-mile track.

QUOTING JIMMIE:

THIS RACE HAS GOT TO HAVE BEEN A TOUGH ONE TO PUT THAT CHECKMARK NEXT TO IT WITH A WIN:

“Yeah, it has been. We have figured out every way to lose this race. And today we were able to get it done. A huge thanks to Lowe’s and KOBALT and all the employees at Lowe’s; I encourage everybody to enjoy this great spring weather and do a little shopping now. Thanks to Chevrolet and the fans and my fans. And for so many years, my dad was here and I wanted to win this race with him here. But I know he’s up in Upper Michigan with my two brothers, racing some off-road trucks. So, Dad, we did it finally. And then as a father (himself), what an awesome day. It tickles me deep. And I sure want to wish everybody out there a Happy Father’s Day.”

JOHN KNAUS, CHAD’S FATHER, IS ALSO VERY PROUD OF THE CALL HE MADE ON THE PIT BOX.

“For sure. We just saw John in Chicago. We were doing a tire test there. It’s wild, I’m sure, for a parent, and I’ll experience it someday, to watch your kids take off and do something. I don’t want to get old, but I look forward to that day and I know it’s out there for me (laughs). But it was an awesome performance. I have to thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and Mr. H. That’s five in a row for the Hendrick organization. Great power under the hood. It was a fantastic race car. I thank everybody for all they do.”

ON HIS WIN TODAY:

"Just so happy to do it. We've always talked about winning here and have been so close. I want to thank all the fans for the awesome turnout today. There was a bunch of you out there. Big thanks to Lowe's and Kobalt.  Want to encourage everybody with the rest of the afternoon, the nice day that you have, to  go to Lowe's and buy some stuff and plant it in your yard, or whatever you have got to do. But just an awesome performance.  As those laps wounds down at the end, I was just wondering what was going to happen, and fortunately nothing did.

DID  YOU HEAR ANYTHING IN THE CAR?

"I've been through so much here, I just kind of put my arms up in the air and said 'Well, if it's going to happen, it's going to happen - there is nothing I can do about it'. But we had a fast, fast race car, and Chad (Knaus, crew chief) knew the strategy he wanted to play at the end, and he nailed it just right."

TALK ABOUT CHAD'S STRATEGY:

"We really were in a win-win situation. Those guys still had to come to pit road to make it to the end. Once I got an idea of how the race was unfolding, I knew we were in the catbird seat, and were able to take advantage of it."

WHAT DOES THIS WIN SAY ABOUT WHERE THIS RACE TEAM IS? YOU HAVE WON THREE OF THE LAST FOUR RACES: 

"We are getting stronger as the No. 48 - there is no doubt about that. I think it is obvious that Hendrick Motorsports produces fast race cars. They build fast engines. It doesn't matter if it is Stewart-Haas or the Hendrick organization. We're winning a lot of races, and running up front. So, we just have to do the best that we can to get stronger as the Chase gets closer, and make sure we are on our game when the Chase gets here."

CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS

YOU HAVE COME CLOSE TO WINNING SO MANY TIMES. WERE YOU HOLDING YOUR BREATH FOR THOSE LAST 5 LAPS?

“Yeah, because it seems like we’ve had that opportunity in the past. And with less than five laps to go, we’ve had issues of some form or fashion. So, I just can’t say enough about everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. They’ve just done a great job and I’m really proud of Jimmie (Johnson) and the guys.”

OTHER HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS FINISHERS: Kasey Kahne (5th), Jeff Gordon (6th), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (7th)

NEXT RACE:Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA - Sunday June 22nd at 3p.m. ET on TNT/PRN Radio 

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1
#2
Brad Keselowski
3000
2
#22
Joey Logano
0
3
#4
Kevin Harvick
0
4
#48
Jimmie Johnson
0
Dover
Started: 8th
Finished: 3rd
Kansas
Sunday, October 5th
2:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
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