Jimmie Johnson may not have won the Daytona 500, but he’s won 2 of the first 3 NASCAR races so far. Sunday Jimmie Johnson added another trophy to the case by taking the checkered flag at the Shelby American at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. How did he do it? Easy. His crew chief made a decision to take 4 tires on the final pit stop. The leader at the time, Jeff Gordon, only took 2 tires.
“I knew we were a sitting duck,” Gordon told reporters at the track.
Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, downplayed the decision by Gordon’s crew chief, Steve Letarte, to take 2 tires.
“I didn’t outsmart him,” Knaus acknowledged. “He did not make the wrong call. There wasn’t a wrong call to make. They came in first. They wanted to maintain track position because track position is so critical. Only way for us to beat them was to do something different.”
And beat them they did. With 15 laps to go, Jimmie Johnson passed Jeff Gordon and held off a hard charging Kevin Harvick to win his 49th career race in 294 starts. Is he the best NASCAR driver ever? If he wins the Sprint Cup Championship again this year it would be hard to argue.