Two forces aligned this past weekend in Fontana, CA, as NASCAR and Warner Bros. studios teamed up to promote the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. So Superman capturing a heroic, late race win in the Auto Club 400 held at Auto Club Speedway, made an appropriate “Hollywood” ending for Jimmy Johnson and his NO. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
“I told everybody Superman kicked Batman’s butt and it happened”, said Johnson.
The win marked a record 6th overall in the Sprint Cup series for the Southern California native.
“Man, it’s hard to believe. I grew up out in the desert as a desert rat having fun and going to the river a little bit and having some fun over there too,” said Johnson, who resided in El Cajon before shifting East to North Carolina. “To have those early childhood memories kind of shape me into the racer I am today, and to be here in Victory Lane, is pretty awesome.”
Johnson only led 26 laps on Sunday as Kevin Harvick looked to steal the day with a dominating car and by leading 142 of the 205 laps. It was during those 5 overtime laps that things fell apart for the driver of the NO. 4 Jimmy John’s sponsored ride.
Kyle Busch had a tire explode on lap 198 which caused a late caution and resulted in the overtime. In OT, Denny Hamlin led laps 201-202 before Harvick went back out front a lap later. Johnson took the point on lap 204 and soared to victory in heroic fashion.
His Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., drove the Batman themed car, but his weekend was less than spectacular. The NO. 88 team struggled most of the weekend trying to get the car comfortable for Dale Jr. He would finish the race in 11th place.
Race Top 10 Results:
1. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
2. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
3. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
4. Joey Logano Team Penske Ford
5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford
6. Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
7. Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
8. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
9. Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
10. Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Photos: all photos by Kevin C Cox