Johnson takes it to the bank

[media-credit name=”Brad Keppel” align=”alignright” width=”229″][/media-credit]Charlotte NC – The sheriff’s back in town and he goes by the name of Jimmie Johnson, ‘old five-time.’ Sheriff Johnson ran down the Beast of the Southeast to conquer the ‘D’ Shaped Oval and pocket his one million dollar paycheck for his third All-Star win.

Last week’s Darlington winner celebrated in style after another flawless performance by the No. 48 Lowe’s team at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He took his boss, Rick Hendrick, for a ride sitting inside the driver’s side window, down the front stretch, to celebrate another milestone. Johnson joins only two other drivers as a three-time winner in the All-Star event, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. and his teammate Jeff Gordon.

Johnson and Crew Chief Chad Knaus dominated at this facility when it was appropriately named Lowe’s Motor Speedway, so it was no surprise to find Johnson leading after the first 20-lap caution free segment in the 28th All Star Race event. The team had a great strategy to keep Johnson out of trouble while waiting for the final 10-lap shootout for all the marbles. His marbles added up to a total bank roll of $1,071,340.

Johnson’s win is a culmination of an amazing week, kicked off by Hendrick Motorsports 200th win. The momentum continued for the Lowe’s No. 48 team when they earned top honors in the Pit Crew Challenge and the ability to choose their pit box location. Johnson’s All-Star win is the seventh win for HMS in this event.

“I was doing all I could to get by, but it wasn’t meant to be, “said Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. Keselowski finished second but was still smiling after the fireworks given the outcome of the race. Matt Kenseth, the third place finisher was cutting jokes with Keselowski as they discussed the race format, side skirting on the cars and the strategic run that placed their cars in the rear of the field while the final segment was decided. Kenseth credited that time as a possible savior on his engine package, his teammates were not as fortunate.

Reigning All Star Race Champion Carl Edwards exited stage left when his No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion broke down. The machine ignited a fire underneath. “It’s insane back there in traffic,” said Edwards. “I don’t know what the front of the race is like, but where I’m at its insane.

Edwards took a different approach and while he was saddened to leave the race early, Edwards was pleased to join the commentators in the television booth. “You might have lost a driver out of this race,” Edwards commented after exiting the race on lap 27. “But you gained a fan,” he said.

Lap 67 saw a similar display of despair for Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing teammate. Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M machine went up in smoke and had to quickly evacuate his flaming ride. The car put down a trail of fluid stretching from turn four to the backstretch.

The four 20-lap segments paid $50,000 to win and gave the driver an early entry to pit lane in preparation for the 10-lap shootout. Johnson took the caution free first segment. The second segment was banked by Kenseth in his Fifth Third themed race car. The third segment went to Keselowski by a bumper over Kasey Kahne who started the race in a backup car after a qualifying accident on Friday. The Sprint Showdown winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. secured his spot with a takedown in the fourth segment.

Rounding out the top five in the final shootout were fourth place Kyle Busch, the polesitter, and Earnhardt. Kevin Harvick, Marcos Ambrose, Kurt Busch, Kahne and Ryan Newman rounded out the top ten. Twenty-one cars finished the race. Fan vote in Bobby Labonte ended up in 19th.

Unofficial Race Results : Sprint All-Star Race
Sprint All-Star Race – May 19, 2012 – Exhibition

Pos. No. Driver Make Speed Time Bnd
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 0 90 Running
2 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 0 90 Running
3 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 0 90 Running
4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 0 90 Running
5 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 0 90 Running
6 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 0 90 Running
7 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 0 90 Running
8 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 0 90 Running
9 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 0 90 Running
10 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 0 90 Running
11 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge 0 90 Running
12 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 0 90 Running
13 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 0 90 Running
14 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 0 90 Running
15 21 Trevor Bayne Ford 0 90 Running
16 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 0 90 Running
17 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 0 90 Running
18 34 David Ragan Ford 0 90 Running
19 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 0 90 Running
20 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 0 90 Running
21 55 Mark Martin Toyota 0 90 Running
22 16 Greg Biffle Ford 0 67 Out of Race
23 99 Carl Edwards Ford 0 25 Out of Race

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tammyrae Benscoter
Tammyrae Benscoter
For the past few years I have been shooting photos at Pocono International Raceway and Dover International. I have also had the opportunity to shoot the Nextel All Star Challenge, Brickyard 400, and at Nazareth Speedway. In 2008, I brought photos of the Hendrick Motorsports Museum, Dover Celebrity Billiards Tournament and Elliott Sadler's Barn Party to the SpeedwayMedia website. I am a graduate of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in the Mass Communications field. To begin my career, I worked at a small newspaper where I covered NASCAR and local dirt track racing. My passion for competitive motorsports developed into a Public Relations position with a local midget racing organization. I left the dirt track scene in 2004 with one goal. My career goal is to work full-time in the stock car racing field. Through SpeedwayMedia I have been able to begin fulfilling my dreams.

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