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Jimmie Johnson demoralizes rest of Chase field again

Wins 3rd Sprint Cup Chase race in 5
Sunday, October 18, 2009

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Jimmie Johnson celebrates
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Jimmie Johnson has done it again. He won the NASCAR Banking 500 Saturday night, extending his lead over teammate Mark Martin to 90 points in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

Johnson drove away from the field after dicing with teammate Jeff Gordon in the closing laps of the 334-lap race.

It was Johnson's sixth win at Lowe's Motor Speedway and put him another step closer to a fourth consecutive championship, which would be a first in NASCAR history.

Trailing Johnson at the finish line were Matt Kenseth, with his best finish since winning at Auto Club Speedway in February, Kasey Kahne, Gordon, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex and Kurt Busch. 

Martin had his worst night of the Chase thus far after accidentally hitting the rear of Juan Pablo Montoya's car on a restart. The accident ended Montoya's streak of top-five finishes at four, and relegated Martin to a 17th-place finish. Montoya didn't fare so well. He wound up 35th.

It was not a good night for other Chase drivers as well. Denny Hamlin ran with the leaders before losing an engine. Carl Edwards was the victim of an accident and his damaged car lost an engine when he returned to the track in an attempt to get as many points as possible. Edwards was 39th. Brian Vickers had another terrible run, finishing 34th.

Other drivers in the Chase wound up better with Ryan Newman finishing 11th; Tony Stewart 13th and Greg Biffle 16th.

The race was delayed several minutes by a cold, spitting rain but it stopped and Johnson took off from the pole in quest of another win at LMS, a track he owns in recent statistics.

Sam Hornish Jr. brought out a caution on Lap 3 when he spun and barely glazed the second Turn 2 wall. The race was back underway at Lap 7 and Hornish spun again, this time off the fourth turn. Once again, the former Indy 500 winner escaped with no serious damage to his car.

When the race resumed on Lap 13, it was Johnson out front, followed by Martin, Kyle Busch, Newman, Kahne, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Montoya, Kenseth and Hamlin. Montoya had gained 10 spots in just a few laps from his 18th starting position. 

Rain prompted NASCAR officials to throw a caution again on Lap 35. Following pit stops, Kenseth was the leader on the 42nd lap restart with Johnson and Kyle Busch right behind him. Rounding out the top 10 were Hamlin, Biffle, Kahne, Montoya, Gordon and Newman.

Johnson eventually regained the lead with Hamlin in second and Kenseth third. By Lap 70, Johnson had built nearly a full-second lead, showing everyone why he has been so successful at this 1.5-mile hometown track.

However, just a few laps later, Hamlin zoomed to the front in his FedEx Toyota owned by Joe Gibbs.
   
All of the frontrunners pitted under green between Laps 93 and 96 and when the smoke cleared, it was Kenseth in front briefly before Hamlin took back over, followed by Kyle Busch, Johnson, Montoya, Mears, Martin, Bowyer, Kahne and David Reutimann. 

Kyle Busch spun in Turn 4 at 120 laps to bring out another caution. Gordon was the leader on the 124th lap restart with Biffle, Newman and Hamlin in tow.

Martin got into the back of Montoya on the restart, causing considerable damage to Montoya's Chevrolet. Montoya dropped well back in the pack due to the accident because his right rear fender was bent outwards, acting like a parachute catching the wind.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. pulled into the garage shortly after the restart with transmission problems.

At the halfway mark (162 laps), the top 10 were Gordon, Hamlin, Johnson, Kahne, Kenseth, Biffle, Newman, Bowyer and Bill Elliott.

Montoya brought out a caution when his ill-handling car spun shortly before the halfway point. He lost two laps while his crew made repairs.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 195/10 334 Running
2 4 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Carhartt 175/5 334 Running
3 3 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 170/5 334 Running
4 9 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen / DuPont 165/5 334 Running
5 12 20 Joey Logano * Toyota The Home Depot 155/0 334 Running
6 11 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Scary Fast Count Chocula 150/0 334 Running
7 42 07 Casey Mears Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 146/0 334 Running
8 10 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's / Susan G Komen for the Cure 142/0 334 Running
9 25 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet DJ Hero 138/0 334 Running
10 15 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 139/5 334 Running
11 6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen / U.S. Army 130/0 334 Running
12 8 25 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 127/0 334 Running
13 5 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Old Spice / Office Depot 124/0 334 Running
14 34 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 121/0 334 Running
15 21 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 118/0 334 Running
16 23 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / Industrial Distribution Group 115/0 334 Running
17 2 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Pop-Tarts / Carquest 117/5 334 Running
18 32 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 109/0 334 Running
19 27 12 David Stremme Dodge Penske Racing 106/0 334 Running
20 29 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 103/0 334 Running
21 37 43 Reed Sorenson Dodge Super 8 100/0 334 Running
22 13 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Clorox / Kingsford / Bush's Beans 97/0 334 Running
23 26 44 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Best Buy 94/0 334 Running
24 7 171 Mike Bliss Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 91/0 334 Running
25 14 202 David Gilliland Toyota Farm Bureau Insurance 88/0 334 Running
26 38 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Stanley / Susan G Komen for the Cure 85/0 332 Running
27 31 98 Paul Menard Ford Johns Manville / Menards 82/0 332 Running
28 16 82 Scott Speed * Toyota Red Bull 79/0 332 Running
29 36 21 Bill Elliott Ford Warriors in Pink Powered by Ford 76/0 332 Running
30 19 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Freightliner Trucks 73/0 332 Running
31 24 96 Bobby Labonte Ford Ask.com / Search for the Cure 70/0 331 Running
32 33 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA / Susan G Komen for the Cure 72/5 331 Running
33 20 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea Vodka 64/0 331 Running
34 30 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 61/0 330 Running
35 18 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Lysol 58/0 330 Running
36 41 34 John Andretti Chevrolet Taco Bell 55/0 330 Running
37 43 08 Terry Labonte Toyota Carter / Simo Racing 57/5 329 Running
38 39 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 49/0 304 Running
39 28 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 46/0 301 Out of Race
40 22 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 43/0 298 Running
41 40 113 Max Papis * Toyota GEICO 40/0 286 In Pit
42 17 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 42/5 192 Out of Race
43 35 187 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 34/0 26 In Pit

* Denotes Rookie

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