Fort Worth, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Jimmie Johnson won a Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway for a record-extending fifth time after he held off Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the closing laps of Saturday night's Duck Commander 500.
It had been a battle between Johnson, the six-time Sprint Cup titleholder, and Harvick, the defending series champion, throughout the race, as Johnson led the most laps with 128 and Harvick in front for 96 laps.
During the eighth and final caution, Johnson and Harvick made a four-tire change, while several other drivers took two tires only. Jamie McMurray, who opted for two tires, led the way for the final restart with 21 laps remaining. Johnson restarted in seventh.
Johnson quickly charged through the field, as he passed Harvick for second and then McMurray for the lead with 14 laps to go. He beat Harvick to the finish line by 1.1 seconds.
"On that last pit stop, we made the right adjustment," Johnson said. "I caught the No. 4 (Harvick) racing with the No. 1 (McMurray). I was able to get by both of those guys and check out. It was an exciting race."
Johnson's first four wins at Texas occurred in the fall race, which is part of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He won the last race here in November.
"The spring race (at Texas) has always been tough results-wise, but we've had fast cars, and in the fall, we come here and get the finish we hope for," he said. "It's nice to get one done in the spring."
Johnson claimed his second victory of the season and the 72nd of his Sprint Cup career. He won the March 1 race at Atlanta, a 1.5-mile track similar to Texas. Johnson and Harvick have combined for four wins in the first seven races this season. Harvick had back-to-back victories at Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Harvick passed Earnhardt for second coming out of the final turn of the last lap and then beat him to the line by only 0.038 seconds. Harvick made slight contact with the wall while he was battling Earnhardt for the position with three laps to go.
"I just got behind there, and Jimmie was fast for those last couple laps and got around me," Harvick said. "I got loose coming off (turn) four, and I got in the wall and just was trying to hang on to where I needed to be."
Harvick had finished either first or second in eight consecutive races before his streak came to an end with an eighth-place run at Martinsville two weeks ago. Sprint Cup took its first break of the season last weekend.
Earnhardt, who is Johnson's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, has now finished third three times this season -- his best result for the year. He did not lead a lap in this race.
"We weren't as good as the 48 (Johnson) or the 4 (Harvick) early in the race, but we definitely improved it," Earnhardt said. "(crew chief) Greg (Ives) and the team did a great job in getting it better."
Joey Logano, who won this race one year ago, finished fourth, while his Team Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski, placed fifth. McMurray wound up in sixth.
Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards were seventh through 10th, respectively.
Harvick holds a 26-point lead over second-place Logano in the drivers' standings, while Truex is 40 points behind. Those three drivers have finished in the top-10 in all seven races.