Last week's Martinsville winner and current point leader Jimmie Johnson was 1/10 of a second quicker than anyone else in qualifying and he claimed the pole. Fellow Chaser Greg Biffle was second quickest to share the front row.
Kyle Busch breaks up the Chasers in the top five with his third place qualifying effort.
Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. round out the top five to complete the domination by Chase contenders during qualifying.
Drop Of The Green
Jimmie Johnson wasted no time in taking the lead into turn one. The inside lane was the place to be as Greg Biffle battled with Kyle Busch for second place. Biffle couldn't make his car stick on the top and he fell back to third before he could get in line.
The leaders got strung out pretty quickly and there was little excitement in the early laps as everyone seemed content to put some laps on the board and feel out their cars.
And then there were two....
Coming into Texas I was willing to accept that third and fourth place Chasers Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne were still within reach.
This week Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski once again padded their points advantage. Kahne is now 58 points behind with two races to go while Bowyer fell to 36 points back. The 2012 Chase for the Cup is now a two-horse race for sure.
Jimmie Johnson's second consecutive Chase win shows that his team is clicking once again but Brad Keselowski isn't giving up any more points than he has to. With two races remaining in the 2012 Chase we've got another great points battle brewing.
Chasing The Checkers
Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski were the class of the field for most of the day. As the laps were winding down it was clear that this one would be settled among those three.
Brad Keselowski was leading late when the green flag flew with eight laps to go. Keselowski and Johnson battled hard for the lead, including some contact between the two, before Keselowski got the lead.
It was a short-lived victory though because another caution set up a green-white-checkers dash for cash and another chance for Johnson and Keselowski to battle for the win.
Point leaders Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson made up the front row for the restart with Keselowski on the inside and Jimmie Johnson on the outside when the green flag flew for the final time. Kyle Busch lined up third.
They stayed side-by-side through turn one before Johnson got a huge run in turn two and was able to pull down in front of Keselowski. As soon as Johnson was free he set sail while Kyle Busch and Keselowski battled for second.
Jimmie picks up his fifth win of 2012 and his second in a row to extend his Chase lead.
- Jimmie Johnson
- Brad Keselowski
- Kyle Busch
- Matt Kenseth
- Tony Stewart
- Clint Bowyer
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Kurt Busch
- Kevin Harvick
- Greg Biffle
Jimmie Johnson won and lead the most laps in Texas to maximize his points. Keselowski was right on his tail in the closing laps to finish second and limit the damage in the Chase standings.
Johnson did stretch his lead a little but with two races remaining in the 2012 Chase for the Cup Keselowski's seven point deficit is still easily within reach.
At this point the 2012 Chase for the Cup is finally a two-man race. When the checkered flag falls in Homestead two weeks from now either Jimmie Johnson or Brad Keselowski will be the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion.
The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings: