Posted: 5:00 a.m. Sunday, May 12, 2013
Jimmie Johnson scored yet another top-five, his sixth this season (and eighth top-10) to extend his championship points lead to 44 over second-place Carl Edwards.
Johnson was actually somewhat disappointed to finish fourth on Saturday night at Darlington as the five-time Series champion actually contended for the lead for much of the race. Ultimately, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus couldn't stay on top of all the track changes and had to settle for fourth.
"There is nothing easy about this race track," Johnson said. "It keeps you on your toes all night long. We had a great car. We lost a little tack position at the end. But we still got back into the Top-5; but I kind of ran second and third all night long; wish I was a little bit better...We had fun. I love this place. I wish we could race here three or four times a year."
By virtue of his victory on Saturday night, Matt Kenseth gained a spot to third at the detriment of Dale Earnhardt Jr. who finished in ninth. They are 59 and 64 markers out of the lead respectively.
Jeff Gordon moved into a provisional Chase spot after finishing third with Greg Biffle dropping out of the top-12 entirely.
Several big names remain outside of the top-20 including three-time Series champion Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin. The latter competed in his first full-race since breaking his back in Fontana and could only move up to 26th despite a runner-up finish.
Hamlin is looking for wins and a spot in the top-20 as his only opportunity to make the Chase for the Championship. Hamlin is 61 points out of the top-20 and still looking for his first win.
The complete championship standings after Darlington can be viewed below.