NEWTON, Iowa – Jimmie Johnson has grown accustomed to having “given way” to his teammates but declined to yield Sunday en route to a career-best IndyCar finish – even with a championship at stake.
After battling with Marcus Ericsson tooth and nail for more than 50 laps around Iowa Speedway, Johnson finally nosed ahead of his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate – and the IndyCar points leader – for fifth place.
Though it was “a really special day” for the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Johnson said he was motivated to earn his first top five because he felt he should have passed another teammate earlier on the way to a breakthrough podium finish.
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“I’ve raced my teammates with the most respect that I possibly can,” Johnson told NBC Sports. “Every race I’ve been in, I’ve just given way, and that was really the first time I fought for position, and it was because I felt like I should have been up there passing (Scott Dixon, who finished fourth). I made a mistake and got up in the marbles, and I really felt a podium was in our reach, but today, I had