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Johnson nips Bowyer at line to win Talladega 500

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Sunday, April 17, 2011

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Jimmie Johnson on the inside gets Bowyer at the line
CIA Stock Photo
In a wild, three-wide, six-car finish at Talladega Superspeedway, Jimmie Johnson nipped Clint Bowyer by a record-tying 0.002 seconds to win Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 race.

With a push from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., Johnson surged past Bowyer about six inches from the finish line. The finish tied Ricky Craven’s victory over Kurt Busch at Darlington in 2003 for the closest since the introduction of electronic timing and scoring in 1993.

The victory was Johnson’s first of the season and the 54th of his career. Jeff Gordon ran third and Earnhardt was fourth.

Kevin Harvick, who was pushing Richard Childress Racing teammate Bowyer, finished fifth. Roush Fenway Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle finished sixth and seventh, and Mark Martin, who spent the afternoon in tandem with Hendrick teammate Gordon, finished eighth.

A wreck on Lap 140 wiped out two of the top championship contenders, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch. Contact between Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Joey Logano and Busch triggered the incident. Pushed by Logano, Busch spun to the inside and wiped out Kenseth in the process.

The cars of AJ Allmendinger and Denny Hamlin also sustained damage but were able to continue.

“I was just going straight on the bottom following Kurt (Busch) and got hit in the right-rear and put me straight in the wall,” Kenseth said. “I don’t really know what happened to cause that.  Obviously, something happened beside me that got somebody into my right rear.  I didn’t even know it was coming, just driving straight hoping to miss the rest of the bullets and get to the end and just got in a wreck.”

As the lead pack of cars headed into Turn 3 on Lap 90, fire erupted beneath David Ragan’s No. 6 Ford. As the field began to slow, contact from Kurt Busch’s No. 22 Dodge sent the No. 2 of Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski hard into the outside wall.

Jimmie Johnson on the inside gets Bowyer at the line
Getty Images for NASCAR
The Toyota of Kasey Kahne and the Fords of Marcos Ambrose and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne were collected in the melee.

“That was one of the harder hits I’ve taken, just because it was so much of a frontal impact across the track, off the apron, all the way to the wall,” Bayne said. “I don’t know who got us.  I saw the 6 blowing up in front of us, so I keyed up the mic. I’m like, ‘It’s getting crazy in front of me, Greg’—I was on Greg Biffle’s radio at the time. As soon as I said that they blew up, Greg got off of me because I yelled, ‘Blowing up, blowing up.’

“He got off of me and at the same time the 2 car got hooked somehow. I don’t know that they triggered each other; I just saw the 2 get hooked at the same time the 6 was on fire. He (Keselowski) goes across the track, I saw him hit the outside wall, but then I don’t know who caught us in the right rear and sent us. But I thought we were safe. I was like, ‘Man, that was close,’ and about the time I said that I was headed toward the outside wall. So not a fun ride.”

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 47/1 188 Running
2 10 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 44/2 188 Running
3 1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 42/1 188 Running
4 4 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy 41/1 188 Running
5 38 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 40/1 188 Running
6 20 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 39/1 188 Running
7 17 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M Scotch-Blue Painter's Tape 38/1 188 Running
8 3 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / GoDaddy.com 37/1 188 Running
9 39 34 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 35/0 188 Running
10 36 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 35/1 188 Running
11 16 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Best Buy 33/0 188 Running
12 5 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Schrock Cabinetry / Menards 33/1 188 Running
13 26 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 32/1 188 Running
14 14 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 30/0 188 Running
15 18 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 30/1 188 Running
16 27 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Cat Financial 29/1 188 Running
17 30 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 27/0 188 Running
18 8 22 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil-AAA 27/1 188 Running
19 37 71 Andy Lally * Ford Interstate Moving Services 25/0 188 Running
20 - 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Fast Five / Speed Energy 24/0 188 Running
21 21 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 24/1 188 Running
22 40 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 23/1 188 Running
23 29 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 21/0 188 Running
24 15 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush's Baked Beans 21/1 188 Running
25 23 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Haas Automation 20/1 188 Running
26 43 46 Bill Elliott Chevrolet Red Line Oil 18/0 188 Running
27 35 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Golden Corral 18/1 188 Running
28 12 115 Michael Waltrip Toyota Aaron's / Auburn National Champions 16/0 187 Running
29 28 38 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's / TMone 0 184 Running
30 13 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 14/0 177 Running
31 6 09 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Thank A Teacher Today / Security Benefit 0 170 Running
32 24 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Dewalt 13/1 157 Running
33 19 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 12/1 154 Running
34 41 32 Terry Labonte Ford C&J Energy 10/0 152 Engine
35 34 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's Pretzel 10/1 144 Accident
36 25 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal Black 9/1 139 Accident
37 31 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 8/1 139 Running
38 9 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 6/0 115 Running
39 7 6 David Ragan Ford UPS "We Love Logistics" 6/1 89 Accident
40 11 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Good Sam Club / Camping World 0 89 Accident
41 22 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 0 5 Vibration
42 33 135 Steve Park Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 0 4 Electrical
43 32 97 Kevin Conway Toyota Extenze 0 1 Electrical

* Denotes Rookie

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