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Chris Graythen

Johnson wins Duck Commander 500

Profile image for By Matt Crider
By Matt Crider

FORT WORTH — Kevin Harvick knocked Joey Logano out of the way and thought he was about to pass Jamie McMurray for the lead with 15 laps to go, but Jimmie Johnson ducked underneath both of them and pulled away to win the Duck Commander 500 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

Harvick was in fourth place on a restart with 20 laps remaining and Johnson was seventh. The three cars in front of Harvick had changed just two tires, while the rest of the leaders took four. Logano muscled his way inside to pass Martin Truex Jr. and emerged in a side-by-side battle with Harvick for third.

Logano pulled in front of Harvick after one lap, but Harvick bumped Logano entering Turn 1. When Logano tried to get back down into the spot, Harvick sent him up the track. Logano kept his No. 22 Ford off the wall but faded to eighth place.

“You knock them out of the way,” Harvick said. “That’s the chance you take when you block.”

All night long, Harvick had used the high lane to gain momentum and shoot past cars on the way out of the turns. As he put the move on McMurray, Johnson went low and charged into the lead.

Harvick finished second after he and Dale Earnhardt Jr. tried to chase down Johnson. Harvick got loose twice and hit the wall at least once in the last eight laps but beat Earnhardt to the line.

“Just lost a little bit of time and tried to make too much of it up in too many chunks, and about spun out and got in the fence trying to make up ground,” Harvick said. “It was a lot of fun — fun to race that way.”

Johnson’s second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the year clinches a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff. The 72nd win of his career is his fifth at TMS but his first in the Duck Commander 500. He’s won the fall race the past three seasons.

“We’ve got a full-court press on right now to get our performance where we feel like it needs to be,” said Chad Knaus, Johnson’s crew chief.

Johnson led a race-high 128 laps in the No. 48 Chevrolet and Harvick led 96.

Harvick extended his series lead to 26 points over Logano, who rebounded to finish fourth. Johnson moved from 10th in the standings to sixth.

Brad Keselowski finished fifth and was followed by McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Truex and Carl Edwards.

Prosper’s Chris Buescher finished 30th in his third career start. Michael Annett, whose team includes shock specialist Marcos Castro, a Ryan graduate, finished 40th.

Annett hit the wall in Turn 2 on lap 250. The crew looked at the damaged right side of the No. 46 Chevrolet on pit road and decided to take the car to the garage. Ten laps later, teammate Justin Allgaier slammed the wall in Turn 4 and went straight to the garage with even worse damage. Neither HScott Motorsports car returned to the race.

MATT CRIDER can be reached at 940-566-6906.