Knaus' two-tire pit stop put Johnson out front to win the race
Jimmie Johnson has won plenty of races in his career thanks to his crew, but none more so than at Atlanta on Sunday, writes Rupen Fofaria.
Jimmie Johnson repeatedly said he didn't have the fastest car on Sunday. It was evident at times when he was battling mid-pack. Still, as he has managed for several weeks now, he came home with a great result.
CREW CALL MOTION
KEY STAT8: While Kurt Busch lost position coming off pit road, he was passed under green-flag racing only eight times. That was least among the 43 competitors on Sunday.
PODCASTPat Patterson recaps Jimmie Johnson's big victory and all the weekend action from Atlanta.
THE BADThe Busch brothers' teams share the honor. For Kyle Busch, it was on account of one bad stop. For Kurt Busch, it was a miserable day of trying to make up ground on the track that was taken off of it."We had trouble on the pit stop, we didn't get the right side jacked up enough and had a bad pit stop," said Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Kyle Busch.Gustafson said there are too many unknowns to predict where the team would have finished had the stop gone smoother. For one thing, there was a wreck right afterward when Denny Hamlin had fuel trouble and Busch was taken out in a crash, finishing 20th. For another, there was little time left in the race. "I think Matt [Kenseth] came out seventh and we should have been right there with him," Gustafson said. "If we had come out sixth, the way it went on, we wouldn't have won the race because there wasn't enough time. I hate it for my guys, they really deserve it. Kyle drove a great race. This is a very humbling sport." Kurt Busch ended up finishing eighth after starting second. On paper, it didn't look like a bad day -- especially given his misfortunes during this Chase. However, Busch is certain he could have finished higher with better pit work. "We had pit stops where we would come in first, second or third and go out 12th," he said. "We did that twice today. ... I'm scared to come down pit road because our crew isn't quite hitting on all eight cylinders or that we just didn't make the right decisions on pit calls." Indeed, while Johnson's two-tire call won him the race, Kurt Busch and Co. went with four tires and came out farther back.
Rupen Fofaria is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.
He can be reached at email@example.com.