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History was on the line for Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday night at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, came into the 29th annual non-points race featuring drivers who have won a race in 2012 or 2013, in addition to All-Star Race winners and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions from the past 10 years, tied with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt for all-time All-Star Race wins with three apiece.
When the checkered flag dropped on the 90-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval, which was broken up into five segments of 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps, it was Johnson on top of that win list all by himself.
Johnson won his fourth All-Star Race in the No. 48 Lowe’s “Patriotic” Chevrolet SS, securing another All-Star Race trophy to go along with the ones he earned in 2003, 2006 and 2012. A cool million dollar payout was also awarded to the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
“To beat Jeff (Gordon) and (Dale) Earnhardt, two guys that I’ve looked up to my whole life and two massive icons of our sport, this means the world to me,” said Johnson from victory lane. “I really didn’t think we had a shot at winning tonight, starting where we did. But we had a great racecar and worked our way through there and got the job done. It’s just dedication and drive from every member of Hendrick Motorsports, and every member on this No. 48 team. We’re very proud of what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished, but we know we’ve got to keep pushing harder and keep pushing one another and we did it again here tonight. I don’t know how we keep doing it. I’m very proud of this race team.”
Joey Logano finished 1.722 seconds behind Johnson in the runner-up spot, while Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five. Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to point-paying racing on May 26 with the 600 miler at Charlotte. The longest race on the Sprint Cup schedule gets underway at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning at 5:30 p.m.