FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Jimmie Johnson still knows how to get to Victory Lane at Texas, even from the back of the field on a track that had changed significantly since his first six wins there.
And also while cramping because of dehydration late in the race that he won Sunday after charging under Joey Logano with 16 laps left .
"When I caught Joey and was racing with Joey, I started cramping pretty good on my left side — my chest, and my bicep, my forearm," Johnson said. "I knew I was real low on fluids."
Johnson discovered right after the start of the 334-lap race that there was a problem with the fluid delivery system in his car. But that and the track changes didn't keep him from his first win this season , and the 81st in the career of the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion.
"I didn't really say much about it," he said. "I was so happy the car was running good, and we weren't making mistakes, I kind of overlooked it all."
Until he caught up with Logano after the final restart, and then got to Victory Lane.
While hot, Johnson said he initially felt better after getting out of the No. 48 Chevrolet. But when his back, chest and arms started to lock up while doing an interview, he went to the infield care center and got three bags of IV fluids.
When Johnson finally made it to the infield media center for his postrace interview about two hours after the checkered flag, he said he was feeling much better. He was also looking forward to his planned off-week trip to Mexico that he said would include a sunburn, margaritas, chips and guacamole.
Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus said they weren't sure what caused the problem with the fluid system.
This was the first Cup race in Texas since the 1 1/2-mile facility was completely repaved and changes made to Turns 1 and 2 earlier this year. It was Johnson's seventh victory at Texas, six in the last 10 races there.
Kyle Larson, the season points leader, finished second for the fourth time this year, but also won at California. Logano, polesitter Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top five.
Earnhardt also said he was hot after the race, because of a problem with the unit that is supposed to pump cool air through his helmet. Earnhardt, Johnson's teammate with Hendrick Motorsports, needed no special treatment.
Johnson had to start at the back of the 40-car field because of a tire change after a spin in qualifying. He had qualified 24th.
"I guess I remembered how to drive; and I guess this team remembered how to do it," Johnson said.