Seems as if it couldn’t have been more than a month ago that the loudest talk around NASCAR circles was Jimmie Johnson’s supposed “slump.” When was he going to win? What’s wrong with him? Maybe that’s because it was only about a month or so ago that Johnson was still in search of his first win of the season after, by Johnson standards, a long way into the season to still be winless.
But in the time since, Johnson’s more than silenced those critics. Not only did he finally get to victory lane, he went on a winning streak that has seen him win three of the final four races. The sixth time and reigning Sprint Cup champion went from among the winless ranks to leading the Sprint Cup Series in wins, on the year, with three trips to victory lane. He claimed that third win on Sunday in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.
The most recent win also moved Johnson up to second in the championship points standings, not that it really matters at this point, given his three wins. Also on the move, points-wise, is Kevin Harvick, a two-time winner this season. Harvick moved into the top-10 of the standings after Michigan to ninth.
There are two winless drivers in the top-10 of the standings — Matt Kenseth in fourth and series rookie Kyle Larson, who is tied with two-time winner Joey Logano for seventh.
The top-three positions in the standings are occupied by Hendrick Motorsports drivers, which is not surprise, since HMS drivers have combined to win the last five races. Jeff Gordon leads the way, while two-race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. sits third.
Here’s a look at the standings after 15 races (race wins notated by *):
1. *Jeff Gordon, leader
2. ***Jimmie Johnson, -15
3. **Dale Earnhardt Jr., -23
4. Matt Kenseth, -24
5. *Brad Keselowski, -47
6. *Carl Edwards, -75
7. **Joey Logano, -83
7. Kyle Larson, -83
9. **Kevin Harvick, -90
10. *Kyle Busch, -91
12. *Denny Hamlin, -102
26. *Kurt Busch, -222