Jimmie Johnson captured the victory in the fifth annual SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at the Kansas Speedway on Saturday. Johnson led just 10 laps of the evening to score his 73rd career victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He also captured his third career victory and his eighth top 10 finish at the Kansas Speedway.
Johnson talked about keeping his head in the game after a 19th-place qualifying effort on Friday.
“I think experience helps. You just shrug it off. We are trying so hard to get our qualifying under control," said Johnson after the race. "We put a huge effort into it again. To be 19th was just … really stunk it wasn’t any fun. These guys just work so hard. I’m so proud of everybody at Lowe’s, KOBALT, Chevrolet, Valvoline, Gatorade, the fans, Sprint for this great series. Just a long hard night of racing and fighting for track position, once we got up front we were able to hang on the final eight or nine laps.”
Kevin Harvick came a little short as he finished in the runner-up position when the race ended. Harvick led two different times throughout the night for 53 total laps. In 19 races at the Kansas Speedway, Harvick brought home his ninth top 10 finish there and his 10th of the season.
“Yeah, just really proud of our Jimmy John’s guys they did a great job tonight. We made some huge adjustments on this thing under that last green flag pit stop. And we were able to make the car a lot better. Just in a bad spot leading the race there" said Harvick after the race. "I mean the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) those guys didn’t have anything for us on speed. They were just doing what they had to do on track position wise. And then move all over the racetrack to try to get the air off your car. The good news is we have a lot of speed in our car. We took an ill handling racecar and made it into a good car. I’m just really proud of all my guys.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was last weekend’s winner at the Talladega Superspeedway, took his No. 88 Chevrolet to a third-place finish. Earnhardt posted his ninth top 10 finish at the Kansas Speedway after 18 starts there.
Martin Truex Jr. had the strongest car all evening by leading five different times for a total of 95 laps. Truex, after starting the event from fourth, crossed the line in ninth as the race ended.
“Well, if we got two tires we would have come out sixth," said Truex after the race. "That would have been a pretty good spot to be in. But you never know how these things are going to play out. I hate fuel mileage racing because of that. I have never ever once in my career come out on the right side of one of these deals with fuel mileage. Just proud of my team and proud of my guys for bringing a fast racecar. Yeah, it is disappointing to run that good all night and finish wherever we did, but at the same time it is nice to run like that."
Kevin Harvick continues to lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points standings by 46 over Martin Truex Jr. Johnson sits two points behind Truex in third. Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. round out the top five.
The next race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be All-Star weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The next points paying race for the series will be in two weeks also at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600.