Cross another milestone off Jimmie Johnson’s list. He stands alone in All-Star history.
“Five-time” became the first four-time winner of NASCAR’s annual All-Star race, breaking a tie with the late Dale Earnhardt and teammate Jeff Gordon on Saturday night in Concord, N.C.
“To beat Jeff and Earnhardt, two guys that I have looked up to my whole life, two massive icons of our sport, this means the world to me,” Johnson said.
It was fitting that he did it at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the track Johnson, the five-time NASCAR champion, has dominated since his 2002 rookie season.
This win in the $1 million Sprint All-Star Race was his second straight and fourth in 12 years. He also won in 2003 and 2006.
“The only four-time All-Star champion — I am very proud of you,” crew chief Chad Knaus radioed after Johnson took the checkered flag.
A day after Johnson overshot his pit stall during qualifying to earn a poor starting spot, his Hendrick Motorsports crew changed four tires in 11 seconds on the mandatory final spot to send Johnson back onto the track in second place for the final restart.
He lined up inside of teammate Kasey Kahne for the final 10-lap sprint to the cash, and the two battled side-by-side for a little more than a lap before Johnson cleared Kahne completely. He then sailed away to an easy victory. Kahne, from Enumclaw, faded to fourth.
Joey Logano ended up second, and Kyle Busch, who won two of the first four segments, was third. Neither had a shot at running down Johnson once he got his No. 48 Chevrolet out front.
CARPENTER ON INDY POLE
Ed Carpenter, the stepson of IndyCar founder Tony George, became the first member of the Hulman family to win the biggest pre-race event in the series — the Indianapolis 500 pole.
Carpenter produced a stunning finish to the day with his four-lap average of 228.762 mph that was quick enough to break up what appeared to be a Team Penske-Andretti Autosport lock on the front three rows in the nine-car shootout for the pole.
Carpenter was followed by three of Michael Andretti’s five drivers — rookie Carlos Munoz of Colombia, Marco Andretti and Venezuelan E.J. Viso took the next three spots. Munoz’s average of 228.342 was just a tick better than Marco Andretti’s 228.261.
FORCE RUNS RECORD
John Force ended a 19-race No. 1 qualifying slump with a track-record Funny Car run Saturday in the NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka.
Force, 64, earned the 141st No. 1 qualifying position of his career and his 11th at Heartland Park Topeka with a pass of 4.043 seconds at 313.22 mph in a Ford Mustang. The 15-time NHRA season champion will meet former teammate Tony Pedregon on Sunday in the first round of eliminations.
Nine of Force’s NHRA-record 134 victories have come at Heartland Park Topeka.
Shawn Langdon led the Top Fuel field (3.767 seconds, 322.50 mph), and Mike Edwards topped the Pro Stock class (6.618 at 208.55).