Jimmie Johnson made it two consecutive NASCAR Cup wins, capturing Monday’s weather-delayed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
It was the 82nd career victory for the seven-time and defending Cup champion, who won two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway.
Johnson is one win from tying Cale Yarborough (83 wins, sixth on NASCAR’s all-time wins list) and two away from Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison (tied for fourth with 84 wins each).
“That’s just mind-blowing,” Johnson told Fox Sports. “I wouldn’t be here without (team owner) Mr. (Rick) Hendrick’s support. … It’s been a perfect environment for me.
“(Crew chief) Chad Knaus and this consistent group of guys behind me for all these years has led to the environment to win 82 races, which is just insane. I’m truly humbled, excited to win back-to-back races, excited to win at Bristol, will test the next couple of days at Indianapolis and then try to win again (next weekend) at Richmond.”
It also was just his second victory at Bristol, the previous coming on March 21, 2010.
The race originally was scheduled for Sunday but was washed out during a period of 28 consecutive hours of rain in the area.
Truex’s No. 78 Toyota was found with a right-rear lug nut loose in postrace inspection. Truex also had an unsecured lug nut after the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, resulting in a $10,000 fine for crew chief Cole Pearn.
Larson won Stage 1 and led the most laps in the entire event (202), and Truex won Stage 2.
Among the significant incidents following the first two stages in the final 250-lap sprint to the checkered flag:
* Brad Keselowski’s string of six consecutive top-six finishes came to an end when he took his car to the garage on Lap 313 because of steering problems.
* Kyle Busch once again suffered problems at Bristol, hitting the wall for a second time in the race on Lap 383, ending his day, too. It is Busch’s fourth DNF in his last five starts at Bristol.
HOW JOHNSON WON: Even though he made contact with other drivers a couple of times during the race, Johnson did not sustain much damage. He led a total of 81 laps, taking the lead for good on Lap 479 and sailed on to victory lane.
WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD DAY: Clint Bowyer had a season-best second-place finish. It was his first runner-up since April 27, 2013 at Richmond. Bowyer extended his streak of top-11 finishes in his last seven starts. … Matt Kenseth rallied late to finish fourth.
WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Chris Buescher (contact, finished 39th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (broken oil cooler after wrecking, 38th), Kyle Busch (wreck, 35th) and Danica Patrick (36th) all had early exits. Keselowski suffered mechanical problems that kept him in the garage for 67 laps (finished 34th).
NOTABLE: Johnson paid homage to Alan Kulwicki, doing a reverse victory lap in honor of the 1992 champion, who was killed in a plane crash near Bristol in April 1993. … Johnson averages one race in every seven starts in his Cup career. … Hendrick Motorsports has 11 wins at Bristol and 247 wins overall.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There was a wreck, and I was the lucky winner. … It was one thing after another. I had about 30 laps of hope today.” – Danica Patrick, whose day ended early after making contact with David Ragan.
WHAT’S NEXT: Toyota Owners 400, Sunday, April 30, Richmond International Raceway.