Johnson Gets Hendrick Number 200 at Darlington

Jimmie Johnson Celebrates in Darlington Victory Lane
Photo – Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson gets Rick Hendrick his 200th Sprint Cup Series win Saturday Night at Darlington. 

Holding off battles from Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin as a late caution bunched the field up again, it was Johnson prevailing to take the win. This was his third win at Darlington as he dominated most of the race and led the most laps.

The first green flag run lasted 172 laps, breaking Darlington’s record for the most laps run under green-flag conditions to start a race. Leaders in this record-breaking stretch include; Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Landon Cassill. The green-flag run also featured three rounds of green-flag pit stops.  

The first caution of the night came out on lap 173 for debris and it was Johnson leading the field coming to the restart on lap 180. 

Halfway through the race it was Kyle Busch leading followed by Johnson and Truex Jr. On lap 189 Johnson would take the lead from Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon had his first major issue of the night when he got into the wall with a little assistance from Hamlin. 

Jeff Gordon brought out the next caution with debris from his blown tire as the cause of the yellow flag. Kasey Kahne won the race off pit road, putting him next to Hamlin who did not pit and with fresher tires Kahne quickly over-powered Hamlin. 

After Jeff Gordon blew two more tires, he would go to the garage. Gordon eventually re-entered the race finishing in the 35th position. 

The next round of green-flag pit stops began on lap 279 and as the round of pit stops ended, Truex Jr. would be the leader. 

With just 70 laps to go in the Bojangles’ Southern 500, the caution came out for Bobby Labonte spinning out on the front stretch. Under this same caution, Tony Stewart was having issues with his clutch, but seem to have resolved those issues shortly thereafter. Also, around this time, fuel was becoming a possible concern, but actually never became a factor in the race outcome. 

The next caution came out for Regan Smith who spun while attempting to get on to pit road. Under this caution Truex Jr. pitted, a move that likely cost him the race win. 

With 55 laps to go, Kyle Busch took the lead from Jimmie Johnson. 

On lap 316, Jamie McMurray got loose and slid up into Allmendinger putting them both into the wall and bringing out the caution. 

Five laps after the restart, Jimmie Johnson gained the lead from Kyle Busch. 

With 37 laps to go, Reed Sorenson spun on the back-stretch bringing out the caution once again. On the restart with 33 laps to go, the top five drivers are Johnson, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Stewart and Biffle. 

Until the caution came out with seven laps to go, Johnson and Stewart maintained the same distance between them. This caution was for Kurt Busch cutting a tire down after getting into the wall and eventually spinning out. When drivers went to check-up, Aric Almirola got into the back of Ryan Newman, sending Newman spinning into the backstretch wall, suffering severe damage. 

For the second straight week, the race finishes under the green-white-checker format. 

Drivers lined up with Johnson as the leader, followed by Stewart, Kyle Busch, Hamlin and Kenseth. Johnson got a great restart pulling away, while Hamlin’s attempts to catch Johnson were futile. Johnson went on to win his first race of the season and Mr. Hendrick’s 200th Sprint Cup win. 

After 16 weeks of trying, one of Hendrick Motorsports cars finally pulled into victory lane to get “Mr. H” number 200. In Rick Hendrick’s comments during an interview with FOX, he said, “I can’t believe we’ve won 200 of these things.” 

On a Saturday night in a small town named Darlington in South Carolina, Hendrick Motorsports accomplished a goal few teams will ever achieve, winning 200 Sprint Cup Series races. It took about six and a half months for a Hendrick driver to win, but despite the length of time, this win is special for all of Hendrick Motorsports. 

Next week the Sprint Cup Series will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the much anticipated Sprint All-Star Race.

For more explanation of the Kurt Busch/Newman argument, click this Jayski’s link 

Results and Point Standings via

1 2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s 48/2 368 Running
2 8 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 43/1 368 Running
3 17 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 41/0 368 Running
4 5 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Wrigley’s Doublemint 41/1 368 Running
5 6 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 40/1 368 Running
6 19 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Best Buy 38/0 368 Running
7 7 99 Carl Edwards Ford Ford EcoBoost 37/0 368 Running
8 3 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 37/1 368 Running
9 28 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 35/0 368 Running
10 21 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 34/0 368 Running
11 26 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 33/0 368 Running
12 1 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / O’Reilly Auto Parts 33/1 368 Running
13 14 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Turtle Wax / Menards 31/0 368 Running
14 9 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 30/0 368 Running
15 15 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 29/0 368 Running
16 23 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem 28/0 368 Running
17 24 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew 28/1 368 Running
18 10 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 26/0 368 Running
19 13 43 Aric Almirola Ford Verifone Sail 25/0 368 Running
20 18 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 24/0 368 Running
21 25 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services 23/0 368 Running
22 31 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 22/0 367 Running
23 4 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats 22/1 367 Running
24 27 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target / Kraft 20/0 366 Running
25 36 38 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 19/0 366 Running
26 20 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 19/1 366 Running
27 34 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 17/0 365 Running
28 37 34 David Ragan Ford Front Row Motorsports 16/0 364 Running
29 22 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush’s Baked Beans 15/0 364 Running
30 42 32 Reed Sorenson Ford Southern Pride Trucking 0 363 Running
31 38 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 0 362 Running
32 33 173 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 12/0 362 Running
33 16 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge Shell / Pennzoil-AAA 11/0 357 Running
34 11 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Allstate 10/0 345 Running
35 12 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger / AARP 9/0 339 Running
36 41 93 David Reutimann Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 8/0 314 Running
37 43 249 J.J. Yeley Toyota America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents 7/0 132 Clutch
38 39 74 Cole Whitt Chevrolet Turn One Racing 0 35 Vibration
39 32 30 David Stremme Toyota Stock Car Steel and Aluminum 5/0 32 Overheating
40 40 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota / Pellet & Wood Stoves 0 27 Power Steering
41 35 52 Mike Skinner Toyota CrusaderStaff
0 20 Electrical
42 29 179 Scott Speed Ford Team Kyle / Koma Unwind 2/0 20 Overheating
43 30 26 Josh Wise * Ford Morristown Driver’s Service 1/0 19 Vibration

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