Added Johnson: “If he was taking me out, you can count on the fact that I would have been in the gas and trying to take him with me.”
Johnson benefitted from being on four new tires from a pit stop with 26 laps to go, while Keselowski's team decided to take only right-side tires. But with two more cautions after that, the benefit of the tires was minimized.
The late restarts were highly debated, with speculation that both drivers skirted the rules at times. It looked like Keselowski accelerated too early on one restart, and Johnson failed to let Keselowski — in first place at the time — lead to the start-finish line.
Johnson said he was within the rules because he allowed Keselowski back in front “either right at the line or just past it.”
Regardless, the intensity of the Chase is clearly building as it heads into the final two weeks.
“It's a small amount of control, but we're definitely in control,” Johnson said. “Seven points is nothing to feel comfortable about or relax on.
“We're still going into Phoenix and act as if we're behind and go in there to try to sit on the pole and win the race again.”