Concord, NC (Sports Network) - Jimmie Johnson became the first driver to win
the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race four times on Saturday night at Charlotte
Johnson, the five-time Sprint Cup Series champion, passed his Hendrick
Motorsports teammate, Kasey Kahne, after the final restart with 10 laps
remaining. He was untouchable from there, beating his closest competitor, Joey
Logano, to the finish line by 1.7 seconds. Johnson had been tied with Dale
Earnhardt and teammate Jeff Gordon for most wins in the all-star race with
three. His previous victories came in 2003, '06 and last year.
"To beat Jeff and Earnhardt, two guys that I looked up to my whole life and
two massive icons of our sport, this means the world to me," said Johnson, who
collected $1,039,175 for his victory.
Johnson started the race in 18th due to a mishap during his mandatory four-
tire pit stop in Friday's qualifying. He overshot his pit box and then
received a five-second penalty for a loose lug nut.
When the fourth segment had concluded after 80 laps, Johnson was the fourth
driver onto pit road. Johnson's No. 48 team gave him a quick enough stop to
get him out of the pits in second, closely behind Kahne.
"I really didn't think we had a shot at winning tonight, but we had a great
car and worked our way through there and got the job done," he said.
Johnson joined Davey Allison as the only drivers to win the all-star race in
consecutive years. Allison won this event in 1991 and '92.
In addition to his five series titles, Johnson has won the Daytona 500 twice,
including a victory in this year's season-opener. He collected $1,525,275 for
winning the 2013 Daytona 500. Johnson is the current points leader, taking a
44-point advantage into next weekend's 600-mile race at Charlotte.
"Over time, honestly, it's just dedication and drive from every member at
Hendrick Motorsports and every member on this 48 team," he said. "We're very
proud of what we've done and what we've accomplished, but we know we have to
keep pushing harder and keep pushing one another. We did it here again
tonight. I don't know how we keep doing it, but I'm proud of this race team."
Kyle Busch, who led 29 of 90 laps, finished third, while Kahne faded at the
end to place fourth.
"We probably had the best car here tonight but just didn't get the best pit
stop there at the end to get us out on the front row," said Busch, who has
finished no worse than fourth in the past three all-star races. "When you're
back behind cars, you're getting beat up on."
His elder brother, Kurt Busch, also led a total of 29 laps and was the first
driver onto pit road for the mandatory four-tire stop after the conclusion of
the fourth segment. The first four segments were 20 laps each, followed by the
10-lap shootout to the finish. Busch had a slow pit stop that put him back to
fifth for the last restart. He held the lead at the completions of the first
and fourth segments.
Busch, who is in his first full season as driver of the No. 78 car for
Furniture Row Racing, finished fifth. Last weekend at Darlington Raceway, he
started on the pole and led 69 laps in the early part of the Southern 500.
"To win some segments and to be in position with the all-star race the way it
is, it just shows the true strength of this team, even though we're only
running 20 laps at a time, but it still makes you feel proud to race for these
guys," Busch said.
Denny Hamlin finished sixth, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jamie
McMurray, who advanced into the all-star race by placing first in the Sprint
Showdown (40-lap preliminary event). Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, the pole
sitter, completed the top-10.
Danica Patrick was the last driver to finish on the lead lap in 20th. After
finishing ninth in the Showdown, Patrick won the fan vote to give her the 22nd
and final starting position. She became the first female competitor in the 29-
year history of the all-star race.
Her boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., also a rookie in the series this year,
finished 16th in his first appearance in this race. Stenhouse earned a
starting spot based on his second-place finish in the Showdown.
The all-star race was stopped for 41 minutes during the first 20-lap segment
due to rain. It had rained at this 1.5-mile racetrack earlier in the day,
creating a delay in the start of the Showdown.