NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

 
       === Johnson widens points lead over Keselowski with Texas win ===
 
 Fort  Worth, TX (Sports Network) - Jimmie Johnson moved closer to claiming his
 sixth  Sprint  Cup Series  championship by  winning Sunday's  AAA Texas 500 at
 Texas  Motor Speedway  and  increasing  his points  lead  to  seven over  Brad
 Keselowski.
 
 Johnson,  the pole sitter, grabbed the lead from Keselowski with less than two
 laps  remaining and then  held off Keselowski at the finish by 0.8 seconds for
 his  second consecutive win.  He led the most laps with 168, which allowed him
 to collect a total of five bonus points.
 
 Last  week, Johnson scored the victory at Martinsville Speedway after starting
 on  the pole and  leading the most laps, which earned him five bonus points as
 well.  He  entered the 500-mile race  at Texas with a two-point advantage over
 Keselowski.
 
 Just  two races remain in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship -- Phoenix
 (Nov. 11) and Homestead (Nov. 18).
 
 "It  was  an awesome  race," Johnson  said. "It's a  great way  to put it. The
 gloves are off, and it's bare knuckle fighting."
 
 Johnson dominated early in the race by leading 164 of the first 190 laps. Kyle
 Busch and Keselowski took command from there, swapping the lead several times.
 Keselowski  gambled with  a two-tire change only during the final round of pit
 stops  under caution  with 22 laps to  go. He inherited the lead and then held
 off Johnson in a pair of restarts. Johnson took four new tires during his last
 stop.
 
 An  accident involving Mark Martin on the frontstretch in the closing laps set
 up a green-white-checkered finish. After the last restart, Johnson pulled even
 with Keselowski and then made his winning pass on the backstretch.
 
 "I  have a lot of respect for (Keselowski's) No. 2 team," Johnson said. "Those
 guys  are doing  a  great job.  Today,  I  think our  cars  were pretty  equal
 throughout the course of the race, but at the end of the race, we were on four
 (tires) and had to take advantage of it."
 
 Johnson  won his  fifth race  of the  season and  the 60th  of his  Sprint Cup
 career. The Hendrick Motorsports driver also notched his record-extending 22nd
 victory in the Chase. Johnson gave Chevrolet its 700th win in NASCAR's premier
 series as well.
 
 Keselowski,  who started  eighth, had a pit-road mishap in the late going. The
 Penske  Racing driver held the lead when a caution came on lap 275 for debris.
 He  overshot his  pit stall during his stop  and had to back up to get out. It
 dropped  him to  ninth. His second-place run marked his best Sprint Cup finish
 at Texas.
 
 "Obviously,  there  was a  pretty good  fight there, and  Jimmie had some good
 speed,  so  did Kyle," Keselowski said.  "We had a  run there where we got out
 front  and had a shot  at it. The yellow come out, and then I had the issue on
 pit  road. I  just got into the brakes  and couldn't get it slowed down like I
 needed  to  and put  myself in  a bad  position where  the 10 (Danica Patrick)
 blocked me in. It was probably my fault. From there, it was just a dogfight to
 get some track position back."
 
 Busch  finished  third, followed by  Chase drivers Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart,
 Clint  Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle
 completed the top-10.
 
 During  pre-race  activities, the left-side  door panel of Harvick's Chevrolet
 sustained  damage when a parachute jumper's trailing weight hit the car on pit
 road  while  the jumper was  landing. NASCAR  allowed Harvick's No. 29 Richard
 Childress  Racing  team to take  the car back to  the garage to make necessary
 repairs.
 
 Heading  into  the penultimate  race  next  weekend  in Phoenix,  Johnson  and
 Keselowski appeared to be the only legitimate contenders for the championship.
 Bowyer's  sixth-place  finish put him  36 points out  of the lead, while Kasey
 Kahne  fell  58 points behind following  his 25th-place run. Kahne blew a tire
 and  then made  contact with the wall late  in the race, which put him one lap
 down.
 
 11/04 20:55:18 ET

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