21 October 2013
McMurray wins as Dillon takes off at 'Dega
"We had a great race car and lead a lot of the race," said Johnson. "At the end there the #1 decided to run the top and took the bulk of cars with him. As that happened the middle lane that I was in quickly became the bottom lane and then quickly didn't exist.
"I dropped like a rock for a while and was able to get in the outside lane and start making some spots back and fortunately missed the big pile up on the back stretch," he added. "13th isn't the best finish, but with what we are trying to do and win a championship we beat the competition today and that is good."
With Kenseth finishing seven positions behind him, and with the help of that most laps led bonus point, Johnson inverts the positions at the top of the Chase standings and exits Talladega with a four point lead over Kenseth; behind the pair, Busch and Harvick share third place 29 points behind the new championship leader.
"It was just an incredibly disappointing day," said Kenseth, although he insisted that losing the points lead was of small importance. "I don't think it will affect my team. I think I have one of the greatest teams out here obviously and I feel like we can go everywhere else, and honestly we can race with anybody when we're at our best. Hopefully, we'll be at our best the next four weeks and we'll give them a run for their money."
"I feel that the races forward now are up to where the competitors go earn it," was Johnson's view. " You don't have this luck issue that can take place at plate tracks.
"I am happy to have the points lead and we went through a lot of work to get there. We were just getting one point at a time and we got a few more than normal today and were able to get the lead," he added. "We just go racing from here and that is the thing I am most excited for. Great race tracks, great race cars and it's just going to be a dogfight to the end."
In other words, Johnson - like everyone else in the Cup field - is mighty relieved that Talladega is in the books and out of the way for another Chase campaign. Perhaps that wariness about the king of superspeedway is why everyone was so cautious this weekend and why so relatively little happened and why the drivers held back until the last minute, preferring to put finishing ahead of a rash bid for glory.
Certainly Jamie McMurray wasn't complaining as he rejoiced at the end of a 109 winless streak in the Cup series, and it came at the end of a great weekend for the extended Ganassi organisation after Scott Dixon had claimed the IZOD IndyCar Series championship title for the squad the night before in California.
"It's important for the whole organization, Chip obviously winning the championship on the IndyCar side," said McMurray. "Winning, it's not just about me, it's about everybody within our whole group. Probably more so the #1 guys because they're the ones that are in victory lane, but it's so cool to see their faces in victory lane and know that when we go to Martinsville, you have confidence, everybody does.
"It's so big for us because Martinsville ‑ to me plate tracks are probably my best tracks, and Martinsville is probably my next best. I love getting to go there." Which he will be in just seven days time, as the seventh race of the Chase gets underway on Sunday afternoon on October 27.
Tagged as: Kyle Busch , Marcos Ambrose , Kasey Kahne , Matt Kenseth , cup , Kevin Harvick , Brad Keselowski , Juan-Pablo Montoya , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Denny Hamlin , David Ragan , Paul Menard , Casey Mears , Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
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