Jimmie Johnson philosophical about third-place run

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 21, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — How disappointed was Jimmie Johnson not to secure the 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup victory for team owner Rick Hendrick?

In fact, his disappointment didn’t move the needle at all — because Johnson didn’t think he had a race-winning car in Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.

True, the five-time champion finished third behind Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., and Johnson was able to challenge Truex for the lead after the midpoint of the 267-lap event. But Johnson couldn’t make the pass for the top spot and resigned himself to the third-place run.

That was a far cry from the previous two races, at Martinsville and Texas, where Johnson felt opportunities to deliver the 200th win to his boss slipped away.

“This week, it doesn’t register,” Johnson said. “To me, last week at Texas . . . or to lead a lot of laps at Martinsville and have our cars (running) 1-2-3 (late in the race) and not get the victory — to get near the end and not close the deal does sting.

“Today we ran well, but we weren’t a dominant car and kind of finished where we should have. Today doesn’t bother me. Sure, I’d love to do it, but the 56 (Truex) and the 11 (Hamlin) at the end had more pace than we did.”

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