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Johnson rebounds, wins Dover going away

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Sunday, September 26, 2010

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Race winner Jimmie Johnson downs the bubbly
Jim Garrahan/AR1.com
The leading rebounder in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series solidified his status in Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

Lest any of his competitors happened to forget that Jimmie Johnson will be a factor in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Johnson gave them a smoky reminder Sunday afternoon as he rallied from last week’s rocky start to the Chase at New Hampshire.

Moments after beating Jeff Burton to the checkered flag by a convincing 2.637 seconds on the 1-mile concrete oval, Johnson stirred up a cloud of smoke with a burnout on the Monster Mile’s asphalt apron near the entrance to the garage.

As the drivers he beat rolled through the gate to the garage area, they had to pass through Johnson’s smoky celebration. It wasn’t exactly a case of “eat my dust,” but it was close.

“Man, you are rubbing it into all these guys’ faces here,” crew chief Chad Knaus radioed to the driver, after Johnson completed the best-case rally from last week’s 25th-place run.

Indeed. Johnson won the pole, led the most laps (191) and scored maximum points (195) as he vaulted four positions to second in the Chase standings, 35 points behind ninth-place finisher Denny Hamlin, who posted a respectable result at a track that has plagued him in past Chases.

“It’s a huge weight off my shoulders that we were able to come here and win a race in the Chase, rebound from last week,” said Johnson, who won for the sixth time this season, the sixth time at Dover and the third time in the past four races at the Monster Mile.

With 53 Cup victories, Johnson is 10th all time, one behind Lee Petty and two behind Rusty Wallace.

Johnson regained the lead from Carl Edwards on Lap 366 of 400, when Edwards brought his No. 99 Ford to pit road during a cycle of green-flag stops. Johnson pulled away from Burton over the final 35 laps.

“Today is a great day for us, because it shows us what we are capable of and the fact that we can win races and be competitive in this Chase,” Johnson said. “This summer was hard on us—there’s no way around that. We had bad races and finished bad. We had good races and finished bad. So it’s nice today to do things start-to-finish all weekend long on the right foot.”

Joey Logano—the only non-Chase driver in the top six—finished third. Kurt Busch ran fourth, Edwards fifth and Kyle Busch sixth. Kyle Busch remained third in the standings and trails Hamlin by 45 points.

Burton hadn’t written off Johnson’s No. 48 team after New Hampshire—far from it.

“Well, they’re good,” he said before correcting himself. “They’re not good—they’re great. That word is not being overused when I say that. They’ve won four (championships) in a row. You’re not good doing that. You have to be great to do that.

“They’ve been in the hunt. They’ve been in the mix. I think they’re as seasoned as you can possibly be together. They fought the fights together. They haven’t won every championship together. They’ve lost some, too. Through losing some, you gain wisdom. Through winning some, you gain wisdom. They perform. That’s what they did.

“I expected them to come here and perform. This is one of their best race tracks. It didn’t surprise me to see them run as well as they did.”

Notes: A problem on the final green-flag pit stop dropped Jeff Gordon to 11th at the finish. He lost four spots in the standings to eighth, 83 points behind Hamlin. … Hamlin’s 35-point lead is the largest in Chase history after two races, but no driver who has led the standings after two races has gone on to win the title. … Clint Bowyer finished 25th, three laps down, and trails Hamlin by 235 points pending the result of Wednesday’s appeal of a 150-point penalty NASCAR levied against Bowyer when his race-winning car at New Hampshire failed inspection. … Tony Stewart went a lap down early and ultimately came home 21st, two laps down. After running out of fuel and finishing 24th at Loudon, Stewart is 10th in the standings, 162 points behind Hamlin.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 195/10 400 Running
2 27 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 170/0 400 Running
3 19 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 170/5 400 Running
4 8 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 165/5 400 Running
5 10 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 160/5 400 Running
6 11 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 155/5 400 Running
7 9 98 Paul Menard Ford Sylvania / Menards 146/0 400 Running
8 13 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Haas Automation 142/0 400 Running
9 4 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 138/0 400 Running
10 2 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Insignia HDTV / Best Buy 139/5 400 Running
11 15 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont / Law Enforcement Museum 130/0 400 Running
12 42 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Delphi / Go Daddy.com 127/0 400 Running
13 7 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's 124/0 400 Running
14 5 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 121/0 400 Running
15 33 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 118/0 400 Running
16 12 83 Reed Sorenson Toyota Red Bull 120/5 400 Running
17 22 19 Elliott Sadler Ford U.S. Air Force 112/0 399 Running
18 14 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal 109/0 399 Running
19 6 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 106/0 399 Running
20 23 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Bush's Baked Beans / Scott Branded Products 103/0 399 Running
21 25 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 100/0 398 Running
22 31 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge Penske Racing 97/0 398 Running
23 32 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy 94/0 397 Running
24 29 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 91/0 397 Running
25 24 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 88/0 397 Running
26 18 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 85/0 397 Running
27 34 09 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 87/5 397 Running
28 16 9 Kasey Kahne Ford Budweiser / Stanley 79/0 396 Running
29 26 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 76/0 395 Running
30 35 38 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 78/5 395 Running
31 41 37 Tony Raines Ford A&W All American Food 70/0 394 Running
32 20 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 67/0 393 Running
33 30 34 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 64/0 388 Running
34 3 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 66/5 383 Running
35 17 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 58/0 373 Running
36 21 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 55/0 349 Electrical
37 40 7 Kevin Conway * Toyota Extenze 52/0 129 Fuel Pump
38 39 71 Landon Cassill Chevrolet TRG Mtrsprts / TaxSlayer.com 49/0 126 Clutch
39 43 46 Michael McDowell Dodge Whitney Motorsports 46/0 71 Brakes
40 38 55 Mike Bliss Toyota Prism Motorsports 43/0 60 Transmission
41 28 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota FrontRowJoe.com 40/0 58 Brakes
42 36 81 J.J. Yeley Dodge Whitney Motorsports 37/0 43 Transmission
43 37 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 34/0 29 Electrical
* Denotes Rookie

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