Jimmie Johnson wins at Charlotte; five Chase drivers finish 30th or worse


Jimmie Johnson won Sunday’s rescheduled Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, his third victory this season.

The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion captured his eighth career win at the 1.5-mile oval and his 78th career victory in NASCAR’s premier series.

Johnson will advance to the Round of 8 for the first time since the elimination-style format debuted in 2014.

But Johnson’s victory, which ended a career-long 24 race winless drought, was overshadowed by problems for Chase drivers Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin.

MORE: Click here for full results of Sunday’s Bank of America 500

MORE: Click here to see the Sprint Cup points after Charlotte 

Harvick and Logano both went out on Lap 152. Harvick had an apparent oil pressure problem, and Logano hit the wall twice after tire issues. Harvick’s day was done, placing 38th, but Logano returned and finished 36th.

Dillon’s trouble happened on a Lap 260 restart when he was tapped from behind by Martin Truex Jr., triggering a multicar crash that included six Chase drivers – half of the remaining playoff field: Dillon, Elliott, Truex, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards.

“It sucks,” Dillon said.“We’ll have to work hard the next two weeks to get the points back. I felt like I got into third gear pretty clean. The next thing, I felt contact, and I was spinning through the grass.”

Truex apologized for “pushing too hard” and wrecking Dillon.

HOW JIMMIE JOHNSON WON: The six-time champion had one of the strongest cars in the field. Johnson took the lead from Matt Kenseth on Lap 317 and held on for the final 18 laps to take his third win of the season. Johnson also led a race-high 155 laps.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD DAY: Matt Kenseth started last (40th) due to unapproved adjustments to his car, and finished second. If Kenseth had a better restart on Lap 317, he may have had a chance to hold off Johnson, but could not catch the eventual winner.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Several Chase drivers started out the Round of 12 with significant issues, most notably Kevin Harvick (38th), Joey Logano (36th), Chase Elliott (33rd), Austin Dillon (32nd) and Denny Hamlin (30th). … Alex Bowman had a tire issue on Lap 62 that led to a wreck and collected Casey Mears in the process. Bowman placed 39th.

NOTABLE: Five Chase drivers finished 30th or worse, the worst single-day showing of playoff contestants since Kansas in 2007. … Truex had a strong car and was near the front for much of the race before he suffered clutch issues on the final pit stop. Truex finished 13th.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’re not out by any means. … Things happen. It’s part of racing, but we’re not out.” – Chase driver Joey Logano after tire issues led to a 36th-place finish in the first of three Round of 12 races in the Chase.

WHAT’S NEXT: Hollywood Casino 400, Sunday, Oct. 16 (2:15 p.m. ET) at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.

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