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Jimmie Johnson feeling better about Sprint Cup form

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Jimmie Johnson was looking for a glimmer of hope, and he found it in Friday afternoon's NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying session at Michigan International Speedway.

No, Johnson didn't win the pole for today's Pure Michigan 400. That distinction went to Joey Logano. But Johnson ran second in the knockout session, and more important, the six-time series champion and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates outshined the entries from Joe Gibbs Racing, the dominant organization in the series this year.

"I do believe we're showing signs (of improvement)," Johnson said. "And I'm living it, so I guess I'm looking for those little signs and rays of light, and maybe others don't see it. … But I could say in the last couple of months, we have seen some bright spots."

Johnson won twice in the first five events of 2016 but has posted only four top-five finishes since.

IndyCar: Graham Rahal won the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, passing James Hinchcliffe in the final turn in the fifth-closest race in series history. Rahal won by 0.008 seconds in a race that began in June but was halted by rain and resumed Saturday. Tony Kanaan was third after a three-way side-by-side duel in the final several laps on the 11/2-mile oval.

Xfinity: Michael McDowell won the Road America 180 on the road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis., edging Richard Childress Racing teammates Brendan Gaughan in an overtime restart. McDowell beat Gaughan by 0.534 seconds.

Trucks: Brett Moffitt won the Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway, leading only the final lap by passing Timothy Peters and William Byron. Peters was two laps from victory, but Byron nosed ahead with a lap to go, then Moffitt moved to the outside and swept to the victory.

Formula One: As Nico Rosberg earned the pole for today's Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton watched on television with his feet up. Hamilton ran only four qualifying laps because he knew he would start in the back of the 22-car field as a result of penalties for too many engine-part changes.

Sprint Cup points

Through 23 of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Driver Points Back

Kevin Harvick** 762—

Brad Keselowski**** 735 27

Kurt Busch* 692 70

Carl Edwards** 689 73

Joey Logano* 684 78

Kyle Busch**** 674 88

Denny Hamlin** 659 103

Martin Truex* 630 132

Jimmie Johnson** 612 150

Matt Kenseth** 604 158

* Wins

Chase at a glance

The 10-race Chase for the Championship starts Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Clinched spots (in order of seeding)

Four wins: Brad Keselowski (735 points), Kyle Busch (674)

Two wins: Kevin Harvick (762), Carl Edwards (689), Denny Hamlin (659), Jimmie Johnson (612), Matt Kenseth (604)

One win: Kurt Busch (692), Joey Logano (684), Martin Truex (630)

Need to stay in top 30 in points (one win): Tony Stewart (currently 27th, 400), Chris Buescher (30th, 328)

Contenders

In as points stand: Austin Dillon (596), Chase Elliott (588), Jamie McMurray (583), Ryan Newman (576)

Outside looking in: Trevor Bayne (541), Kyle Larson (537), Kasey Kahne (537), AJ Allmendinger (518), Ricky Stenhouse (514), Ryan Blaney (508)

Today

Pure Michigan 400, 2 p.m.,

Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn

TV/radio: NBCSN; 102.5-FM

Jimmie Johnson feeling better about Sprint Cup form 08/27/16 [Last modified: Saturday, August 27, 2016 11:15pm]
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