Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

Jimmie Johnson ends his Michigan frustration

BROOKLYN, Mich. — With 68 career Sprint Cup victories heading into Sunday's race, Jimmie Johnson had obviously found many ways to win.

But having earned those wins in 449 starts, he'd also learned many ways to lose, and particularly at Michigan International Speedway where he was 0-for-24.

No longer.

Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus played the pit-strategy game — which has bitten them many times before — to perfection Sunday as Johnson held off Kevin Harvick to win the Quicken Loans 400.

With the win at Michigan, there are only four tracks on the current Cup schedule where the six-time champion has not won: Chicagoland, Homestead, Kentucky and Watkins Glen.

"We have figured out every way to lose this race," said Johnson, who earned his third win of 2014, the most of any driver. "And today we were able to get it done.

"I've been through so much here, I just kind of put my arms up in the air and said, 'Well, if it's going to happen, it's going to happen, there is nothing I can do about it.' "

The 69th victory of Johnson's Sprint Cup career was also his third in the past four races. In a month he has gone from the object of speculation regarding his lack of victories to the top seed in the season-ending Chase for the Championship.

The win was also the fifth consecutive in the series for Hendrick Motorsports.

No one associated with the No. 48 Chevrolet team plans to slow down anytime soon.

"The fact of the matter is I think we've got to be a little bit better," Knaus said. "Last week we were a whisker away from losing that one. This weekend maybe we were one pit call away from not winning this one.

"We've got to continue to improve our product so by the time we get to the Chase we're where we need to be."

It didn't take long for Johnson to be where he needed to be in Sunday's race.

Harvick led the most laps (63), but late in the race he and his team chose to stay out during the seventh caution along with Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth.

A debris caution on Lap 149 disrupted that plan, and after pit stops, Harvick restarted back in 10th on Lap 152 just as Johnson was taking the lead.

Every team still had to pit once more for fuel, but with no other cautions, Johnson recycled back into the lead on Lap 191 and was not seriously challenged.

"I mean, the car was fast, just wound up on the wrong side of all the strategy," a visibly frustrated Harvick said. "We finished second, and that's it."

Brad Keselowski finished third, Paul Menard was fourth and Kasey Kahne, who was involved in an on-track incident on Lap 7, rallied to finish fifth.



Comments
Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

ST. PETERSBURG — For a change, the physically snake-bitten Rays got some vigor, versatility and even a veteran presence back in their lineup  when INF Brad Miller was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.To make room, they DFA'd INF/OF...
Updated: 1 hour ago
LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

The Cavaliers, with an assist from a New York-based designer, made their first big play Friday night just by entering the arena. As they paraded into Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis before Game 3 of their playoff series with the Pacers, the C...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Racing schedules for 2018-19 parimutuel seasons released

OLDSMAR — Eight is not enough at Tampa Bay Downs, at least when the thoroughbred racing facility on Race Track Road opens its 93rd season July 1.The final card of what will be the Downs' sixth annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing will featu...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

SAINT PETERSBURG — When describing the loss of defender David Najem, Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell and the player who will replace Najem chose the same word.Gutted.That settled over the Rowdies last weekend, one that was bad enough based o...
Updated: 3 hours ago
NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

TAMPA — The NFL draft is one big game of Liar's Poker. Deal me out.Even the guys with a seat at the table don't know when someone is bluffing.Bucs general manager Jason Licht knows that the team's No. 7 overall pick this year will be affected b...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, 7:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, 7:10 p.m.

Tonight's Rays lineup against the Twins. Brad Miller back in the lineup following his DL stint (left groin strain). First pitch at 7:10 p.m.LF Denard SpanDH C.J. CronRF Carlos Gomez1B Brad Miller3B Daniel Robertson2B Joey WendleC Wilson RamosCF Malle...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blueline. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by Steve (Yze...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I'm going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years....
Updated: 5 hours ago