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2013:

Johnson Returns to Form

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Article Contents

North Carolina Moonshine and Motorsports Trail

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By Ben White

Driving the familiar No. 48 Chevrolet fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, California native Jimmie Johnson won six times and posted 24 top-10 finishes on the way to his sixth NASCAR Cup Series title in 2013.

After two seasons that ended with points finishes of sixth (2011) and third (2012), Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus were able to put together another championship run in NASCAR’s premier series.

Opening the season on a high note, Johnson beat his Daytona 500 jinx and held off a last-lap charge from Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin to win his second Daytona 500. It was the first time he had finished better than 27th in The Great American Race since winning the prestigious race for the first time in 2006.

Five races later, Johnson led 346 of 500 laps at Martinsville en route to winning his eighth race at the Virginia short track, and he assumed the points lead, which he held for the remainder of the regular season.

Johnson’s consistency was such that there were periods during the summer where he was more than two-race wins worth of points ahead of Carl Edwards or Clint Bowyer. 

Three top-5 finishes over a span of seven races led to a win at Pocono, which increased Jonson’s points lead to 51 over Edwards. This also snapped a nine-year winless streak for Johnson at Pocono. A fourth win of the year came at Daytona on July 6.

Victories at Dover and Texas sealed Johnson’s championship hopes by 19 points over Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

2013

PRESIDENT: BARACK OBAMA

NO. 1 AT THE BOX OFFICE: IRON MAN 3

MOVIES TO WATCH: MAN OF STEEL AND FROZEN

NO. 1 SONG: “THRIFT SHOP” BY MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FEATURING WANZ

GALLON OF GAS: $3.49

POP CULTURE: ON APRIL 15, TWO PRESSURE COOKER BOMBS EXPLODED NEAR THE FINISH LINE DURING THE BOSTON MARATHON. THREE PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND ANOTHER 264 WERE INJURED.

BEST DRIVER

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, collected seven wins and 20 top-10 finishes in 36 starts. Victories at Las Vegas, Kansas, Darlington, Kentucky, Bristol, Chicago and New Hampshire rewarded the Cambridge, Wisconsin, native with an awesome season. However, three DNFs served as the foundation for him ending up second in the championship. Kenseth’s average finish of 12.7 kept him in the hunt, but he simply couldn’t overcome Johnson’s lead.

BEST RACE

On May 5, David Ragan, driving the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, led four of 192 laps en route to victory in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Ragan led at various times, placing himself within the top 10 throughout the 3 hour and 26 minute battle. The Unadilla, Georgia, native made it through a 12-car crash with two laps remaining and held off teammate David Gilliland at the finish by .212 seconds.

TOP CARS

Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Lowe’s Chevrolet earned six wins, 24 top-10 finishes and three pole positions in 36 starts. 

The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing DeWalt Tools Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth won seven times with 20 top-10 results.

2013 Season Recap

DATE | LOCATION | WINNER

Feb. 24 | Daytona International Speedway | Jimmie Johnson

March 3 | Phoenix Raceway | Carl Edwards

March 10 | Las Vegas Motor Speedway | Matt Kenseth

March 17 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Kasey Kahne

March 24 | Auto Club Speedway | Kyle Busch

April 7 | Martinsville Speedway | Jimmie Johnson

April 13 | Texas Motor Speedway | Kyle Busch

April 21 | Kansas Speedway | Matt Kenseth

April 27 | Richmond Raceway | Kevin Harvick

May 5 | Talladega Superspeedway | David Ragan

May 11 | Darlington Raceway | Matt Kenseth

May 26 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Kevin Harvick

June 2 | Dover Motor Speedway | Tony Stewart

June 9 | Pocono Raceway | Jimmie Johnson

June 16 | Michigan International Speedway | Greg Biffle

June 23 | Sonoma Raceway | Martin Truex Jr. 

June 30 | Kentucky Speedway | Matt Kenseth

July 6 | Daytona International Speedway | Jimmie Johnson

July 14 || New Hampshire Motor Speedway | Brian Vickers

July 28 | Indianapolis Motor Speedway | Ryan Newman

Aug. 4 | Pocono Raceway | Kasey Kahne

Aug. 11 | Watkins Glen International | Kyle Busch

Aug. 18 | Michigan International Speedway | Joey Logano

Aug. 24 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Matt Kenseth

Sept. 1 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Kyle Busch

Sept. 7 | Richmond Raceway | Carl Edwards

Sept. 15 | Chicago land Speedway | Matt Kenseth

Sept. 22 | New Hampshire Motor Speedway | Matt Kenseth

Sept. 29 | Dover Motor Speedway | Jimmie Johnson

Oct. 6 | Kansas Speedway | Kevin Harvick

Oct. 12 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Brad Keselowski

Oct. 20 | Talladega Superspeedway | Jamie McMurray

Oct. 27 | Martinsville Speedway | Jeff Gordon

Nov. 3 | Texas Motor Speedway | Jimmie Johnson

Nov. 10 | Phoenix Raceway | Kevin Harvick

Nov. 17 | Homestead-Miami Speedway | Denny Hamlin

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