NASCAR at Texas 500 2013 Leaderboard: Results and Updated Sprint Cup Standings

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVNovember 3, 2013

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 03:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

A co-leader for the Chase lead entering Sunday, Jimmie Johnson took a firm grasp on the campaign for his sixth Sprint Cup championship with a victory at NASCAR's AAA Texas 500.     

In the win, Johnson distanced himself from Matt Kenseth, who stayed on his heels throughout the race and finished in fourth. NASCAR summed up the finish:

Johnson leads Kenseth by seven points, and the heat is certainly on with two races left:

With his sixth win of the season, Johnson is in control and will decide his own fate down the stretch.

Texas 500 Results
1Jimmie Johnson
2Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
3Joey Logano
4Matt Kenseth
5Kasey Kahne
6Brad Keselowski
7Denny Hamlin
8Kevin Harvick
9Ryan Newman
10Clint Bowyer
11Mark Martin
12Greg Biffle
13Kyle Busch
14Martin Truex, Jr.
15Paul Menard
16Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
17Kurt Busch
18Parker Kligerman
19Elliott Sadler
20Juan Pablo Montoya
21Marcos Ambrose
22Austin Dillon
23Kyle Larson
24Jeff Burton
25Danica Patrick
26David Gilliland
27Aric Almirola
28David Reutimann
29Trevor Bayne
30J.J. Yeley
31Jamie McMurray
32Travis Kvapil
33Casey Mears
34Landon Cassill
35Dave Blaney
36Joe Nemechek
37Carl Edwards
38Jeff Gordon
39Josh Wise
40Bobby Labonte
41Timmy Hill
42David Ragan
43Michael McDowell
Chase for Sprint Cup Standings
1Jimmie Johnson2342-
2Matt Kenseth2335-7
3Kevin Harvick2302-40
4Kyle Busch2290-52
5Dale Earnhardt Jr.2280-62
6Jeff Gordon2273-69
7Clint Bowyer2273-69
8Greg Biffle2269-73
9Joey Logano2251-91
10Kurt Busch2246-96
11Carl Edwards2226-116
12Ryan Newman2224-118

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 03:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jared C. Ti
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Starting in third place, Johnson hung around the front of the pack all race long, but he trailed pole-sitter Carl Edwards—who led 38 laps—in the early goings. 

The showdown between Johnson and Matt Kenseth—the co-leaders in the Chase standings—was hyped ad nauseam heading into Sunday and unfolded on the Texas track.

Kenseth didn't enjoy the same sort of success as Johnson early. He was penalized for pit-road speeding just about midway through the race, as ESPN's Ryan McGee noted:

Edwards then ran into some trouble with a busted engine and found his way to the garage. He would not return—the latest of many disappointing finishes for Edwards in the Chase. 

The pit from Edwards' engine issues served as a springboard for Kenseth. ESPN NASCAR summed up how it allowed him into 12th, and he would soon make a further push inside the top 10:

The penalty dropped Kenseth down as far as 18th, but he gained a head of steam and got right back into the thick of things. Not long after, he was threatening inside the first five slots.

But it was Johnson who controlled down the stretch, even through his pit stop that dropped him out of the leading spot for a few laps before getting right back to his rightful spot. 

The next and final time he pitted, he was firmly in the lead:

From start to finish, Sunday was one of Johnson's most dominant performances in recent memory. Leading 255 laps on the afternoon, it's hard to remember a more impressive day from any driver. 

With the event at Texas Motor Speedway determining who would get a leg up in the final two races, Johnson showed his clutch gene in a major way. 

Kenseth competed about as hard as he possibly could have on Sunday, but even his best was no match for Johnson's car, which was much quicker than the rest of the field in Fort Worth. 

Two races are left, and Kenseth is still very alive in the Chase. Whatever happens, the postseason finale is sure to be an exciting one.