Why Jimmie Johnson won: Because it’s Texas and that’s what he does. Johnson has owned the Texas races, and has now won the last three Cup races at TMS. Sunday might have been his most impressive, though, considering Brad Keselowski led a track-record 312 laps.
1 Truex wanted more. Martin Truex Jr. had a solid day by most accounts. He led a lap and had a good enough finish (eighth) that he would be in the championship if it started today. But he felt he left a little on the track. Said Truex Jr.: “We should have run top-three and should have had a shot at winning. All in all, we didn’t beat ourselves. We’re still in it.”
2 Edwards pleased. Carl Edwards stayed in the championship mix, and couldn’t have been happier to see Jimmie Johnson overtake Brad Keselowski for the win. Said Edwards: “My guys never cheered so hard for Jimmie. We needed that for the points going to Homestead.”
3 Harvick in good shape. Kevin Harvick had a third-place run, and seems like a virtual lock to have a chance to defend his championship in two weeks at Homestead. He is in solid points shape, plus he’s to Phoenix what Jimmie Johnson is to Texas. Harvick has won the last four races at Phoenix, and five of the past six. Said Kyle Busch: “I do not think [Phoenix] is a winnable race until Kevin Harvick gets beat. He’s shown that he’s certainly got the stranglehold on the Phoenix racetrack.”
4 Busch’s uphill battle. Kurt Busch knows he has to win his way into the championship round, which makes anything short of that a disappointing finish. That goes for his seventh-place run Sunday at Texas where he simply never threatened the leaders. Said Busch: “It just wasn’t the winning car we needed to try to advance.”
5 Impressive fill-in work. NASCAR laid the hammer down on Matt Kenseth for intentionally wrecking Joey Logano last week, handing him a two-race suspension. That left 19-year-old Erik Jones to fill in for Kenseth on Sunday, and Jones did well. He had a 12th-place run in his second career start, a big improvement after finishing 40th in his first Cup start earlier this year at Kansas. Said Jones: “I wish we could have been a little stronger there at the end [for a top-10 finish]. To still come home 12th is a good day for us.”
Winning car. I slapped the wall with it. My mistake. I own it. Guys did a good job fixing it. Amazed me at how well they fixed it. Beer me.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. post on his Twitter account, @DaleJr