Want to know even more about Jimmie Johnson and Team 48? See what journalists from around the country are saying about Team Lowe's Racing.
A few sprinkles late in the race couldn’t wash away another solid run by Jimmie Johnson in the Finger Lakes 355k at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Johnson, the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Silver Cortez Chevrolet, started third and hung on, after a wild run to the checkers, for third place. It was Johnson’s sixth top-10 finish in 11 races at the 2.45-mile road course.
“The first segment, we were pretty far off,” said Johnson, who has four career top-five finishes at Watkins Glen but is still searching for the elusive win. “We came in on our first stop and made some adjustments and really got the car back in the condition I needed it in. Ran kind of third all day, so real happy to finish where we did.”
Fuel mileage was on every team’s mind early in the race. Some tried to make the 90-lap race on two stops, and others set up for a possible third stop, which was the strategy for the No. 48 team. Johnson pitted for the first time on lap 18, dropping him to the 27th spot with just a handful of cars using the same strategy. He was already up to 20th after a caution seven laps later.
But fuel mileage wouldn’t play a major role as several cautions negated that concern. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus worked the cautions to their advantage. Johnson, after a caution and lap-60 restart, spent the final 30 laps of the race working his way up from 12th place.
In the closing laps, he was able to keep his No. 48 Lowe’s machine gathered after the No. 47 of Bobby Labonte broke, spreading fluid on the track. Johnson’s third-place finish catapulted him from fourth to first in the standings, with a one-point lead.
“Those last two laps were just out of control with the oil down,” Johnson said. “You are studying the road trying to see if you can see an oil trail, and there really wasn’t a large visible one to dodge. But you could feel the oil on your tires and slipping and sliding, and then guys are spinning all over. It was chaos, but I’m glad we got back to the finish line, finished third very solid day for this Lowe’s team. I just can’t thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports enough for their hard work. The commitment from Lowe’s, hopefully there are a lot of Lowe’s employee owners happy right now.”
Marcos Ambrose won the Finger Lakes 355k at The Glen to score his second career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his second in a row at Watkins Glen.
Brad Keselowski finished .571 of a second behind Ambrose in the runner-up spot while Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top-five. Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Regan Smith and Martin Truex Jr. comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were four caution periods for 13 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish the 90-lap race.
With round 22 of 36 complete, Johnson took over the championship points standings with a one-point lead over second-place Greg Biffle. Dale Earnhardt Jr. swapped positions with Johnson and is fourth with 760 points, 17 out of first, 107 ahead of 11th. Kasey Kahne is in 11th place with 653 points, 124 out of first, 40 out of 10th. Gordon is 15th with 634 points, 143 out of first, 59 out of 10th.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, Aug. 19 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.