A one-year losing streak is too long for Jimmie Johnson.
The 2012 TUMS Fast Relief 500 resulted in the five-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion taking a huge step towards ending that streak on Sunday. He crossed the finish line first at Martinsville, and as a result, he leapfrogged Brad Keselowski in the Sprint Cup Standings.
In the pole position, Johnson started ahead of the pack and he took full advantage of it. According to the Associated Press, he said prior to the competition (via ESPN):
I'd much rather race towards the front rather than qualify towards the front if I had to pick between the two. I feel like we'll be capable of pulling that off once the race gets started. Just ready to keep going, you know, feeling the season wind down and really feel good about our opportunities in front of us.
Johnson and Clint Bowyer controlled the majority of the race. Johnson led a whopping 191 of the 500 laps, while Bowyer led 154. At the end of the final lap, though, it was Johnson in the lead while Bowyer was forced to settle for fifth.
Right behind Bowyer was Keselowski, who now stands two points behind Johnson in the Race for the Cup. He had held the lead for the past couple of weeks, but his performance on Sunday afternoon wasn’t strong enough to hold it once again.
Johnson, who had no trouble holding the Sprint Cup lead in the past, didn’t sound intimidated by being chased prior to Sunday’s action. He said (via ESPN): “There's this friend of mine that has this joke that there's two types of pressures: pressure applied and pressure felt. And there might be pressure applied, but I don't feel it, how about that.”
Here are the race results and updated Chase for the Cup leaderboard.
TUMS Fast Relief 500 Results
|5||Clint Bowyer ||15||Toyota|
|13||Sam Hornish, Jr.||22||Dodge|
|20||Juan Pablo Montoya||42||Chevrolet|
Chase for the Cup Standings
|1||Jimmie Johnson ||---|
|4||Kasey Kahne ||-29|
|5||Denny Hamlin ||-49|
|6||Jeff Gordon ||-54|
|7||Martin Truex, Jr. ||-63|
|8||Matt Kenseth ||-66|
|9||Greg Biffle ||-69|
|10||Tony Stewart ||-71|
|11||Kevin Harvick ||-88|
|12||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||-140|
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.