For the last two Cup races, Jimmie Johnson looked more like his old self.
At Bristol, Johnson scored his first top five since October. On Saturday at Richmond, after running off the lead lap for 267 of 400 laps, the seven-time champion used a series of late-race cautions to finish sixth.
It marked Johnson’s first consecutive top 10s since October at Dover and Charlotte.
On NASCAR America, analysts Steve Letarte and Dale Jarrett discussed the No. 48 team’s improvement.
“I think very clearly Jimmie Johnson and (crew chief) Chad Knaus have figured out a way to do more with less,” Letarte said. “The secret of Jimmie Johnson the last 10 years — the fastest race car with the best driver. … That’s how they won at least six of their seven championships, was the best race car. I think when you’re that good for so long … you perhaps don’t build the skill set of running a lap down, you don’t build the skill set of racing a lap down. That’s different than running on the lead lap or pit strategy to win the race.”
Johnson is mired in the longest winless streak of his career at 32 races.
“It’s hard to believe that someone like Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus can learn a new trick, but they’ve learned one,” Letarte said. “Through the summer, as the cars get better, look out. Because if they keep this sort of patience with good cars, I expect Jimmie to win races again and win multiple times in 2018.”
Watch the above video for more on Johnson and his teammate William Byron.
CONCORD, N.C. — Tyler Reddick won Saturday’s Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, earning his second Xfinity Series win of the season.
Reddick led the final 16 laps after he took advantage of Cole Custer spinning his tires on a restart.
Reddick beat Justin Allgaier, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Noah Gragson and Justin Haley.
The Richard Childress Racing driver led 110 of 200 laps on the way to his fifth career Xfinity win. The victory follows his Talladega win last month. Reddick has finished in the top four in the last eight races.
Pole-sitter Christopher Bell finished 31st after he made contact with the wall and cut down his right front tire with two laps to go in Stage 2. He attempted to finish out the stage, but the tire shredded and caused significant damage to his car. It’s his second DNF of the season.
Bell’s teammate, Brandon Jones, also got into the wall and cut a tire within a lap of Bell. Jones opted to pit immediately and was able to continue and finished ninth.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Christopher Bell
STAGE 2 WINNER: Tyler Reddick
WHAT’S NEXT: Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway at 1 p.m. ET on June 1 on FS1
Check back for more
CONCORD, N.C. — Daniel Suarez completed a sweep of Saturday’s two Cup practice sessions by posting the top speed in final practice for the Coca-Cola 600.
Suarez recorded a speed of 180.704 mph around Charlotte Motor Speedway. He made 51 laps in the session.
“I will say one of the best (cars of his Cup career) for sure,” Suarez said. “I feel like this year I’ve had some good race cars with an opportunity to finish in the top five and top 10, but I feel like this car has been pretty solid. It’s fast and it’s not comfortable to drive 100 percent, but I don’t feel like anyone out there is comfortable right now, so it’s been sunny and hot and slick and that makes things a little bit more difficult, but overall my team has been doing a very good job with Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford Performance. We have a good piece and hopefully we can take advantage of it tomorrow.”
The top five was completed by Daniel Hemric (180.686 mph), Denny Hamlin (180.553), Ryan Preece (180.469) and Kyle Busch (180.276).
“I felt pretty good with our practice there,” said Hamlin, who will start 20th Sunday. “It was one of our better practices of the year. We’re going to have to start from deep in the field, which is going to be a challenge with traffic, but we’ve got a long race to get it done. Pretty happy with where we’re at.”
Busch has the best 10-lap average at 179.485 mph
Chase Elliott recorded the most laps in the session with 62. He was 18th on the speed chart.
Click here for the speed chart.
CONCORD, N.C. — Christopher Bell will start first in today’s Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Bell won his third pole of the season with a speed of 184.313 mph. His previous poles were at Texas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway.
The top five is completed by Cole Custer (183.187 mph), Tyler Reddick (182.192), Austin Dillon (181.659) and Brandon Jones (181.610).
Justin Haley will start 35th after an axle broke on his No. 11 Chevrolet in the middle of his qualifying run.
Ross Chastain did not finish his qualifying run after experiencing an electrical problem in the ignition on his No. 4 Chevrolet. He will start 37th out of 38 cars.
The Alsco 300 is scheduled to start at 1:16 p.m. ET on FS1.
Click here for the starting lineup.
Check back for more.
After a two-week break, the Xfinity Series returns to action today for the Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Here’s all the info you need for today’s race.
(All times are Eastern)
START: North Carolina Basketball Legend Phil Ford will give the command to start engines at 1:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 1:16 p.m.
PRERACE: Driver/crew chief meeting is at 10:45 a.m. Driver introductions begin at 12:30 p.m. The invocation will be given at 1 p.m. by Billy Mauldin, CEO and President of Motor Racing Outreach. U. S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Marc Wilka will perform the National Anthem at 1:01 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.
TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. The Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 12:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.
FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 90 degrees and a 20% percent chance of rain for the start of the race.
LAST TIME: Brad Keselowski won this race over Cole Custer and Christopher Bell.
STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.