NASCAR »

Johnson wins at Talladega - by 0.002s

"I just chilled out and sat in their draft and as we came off of [turn] 4. Those two groups were occupied trying to side-draft each other and racing each other at the top ... We started rolling up on them, I shot down to the bottom, and we were able to surge by out of the tri-oval coming out of the bottom because they kind of left it open there. Just worked out."

With Talladega being one of those NASCAR tracks where crossing the bottom yellow line is forbidden, there was a brief question of whether Johnson's move to the bottom had gone too low and that his left wheels had dipped below the permissible track limit, but NASCAR reviewed it and found no transgression. It just left the small matter of who, exactly, had crossed the finish line first.

A photofinish coupled with electronic timing gave the win to Johnson, but he credited Dale with an equal role in the victory and tried to give him the chequered flag from the race, which Junior declined. The two had experimented early on in the race as to who would be in the lead to the finish: "After the last pit stop I was pushing him for while and we were getting disconnected pretty easily," Johnson explained. "And at that point, he [Dale] just said, hey, you need to lead, it works better with you leading. Chad and Stevie confirmed that our lap times were faster with the #48 in front of the #88 and we made a swap going into turn 1 and just kind of stayed that way from there on out."

Earnhardt was at peace with how it worked out: "If I couldn't win the race, I wanted Jimmie to win the race, because I had worked with him all day, and he's my teammate and I'm proud to be driving for Hendrick Motorsports," he said after being confirmed as finishing in fourth place.

Bowyer was gutted to have been beaten at the last after spending so much of the race up at the sharp end fighting for the lead. "The only thing that bums me out about that is those guys lagged back all day long," he said afterwards. "That's what makes it tough, losing to somebody that did that. We were up front for our sponsors and our team, digging all day long. When you get it taken from you at the end by somebody who lagged back all day, it's hard to take."

In fact, although they had preferred to run out of harm's way toward the rear of the field for most of the second half the race, Johnson had led 14 laps and Earnhardt 11. Their Hendricks team mates Gordon and Martin had opted for a consistent "6-10s behind the leaders" lag-behind strategy, and Gordon insisted that "It's not as easy as you think it is to manage that and to figure it out," explaining: "But let's be honest: in my opinion, Talladega has always been about a 15-, 25-lap race, and the rest is just trying to get to the end. And that's basically what we have now."

The number of lead changes in the end was 88, tying the record, while the margin of victory - 0.002s - equals Sprint Cup's closest-ever margin since electronic timing was introduced, the last time things were this close being when Ricky Craven beat Kurt Busch at Darlington in 2003. Talladega is renowned for its close finishes - all 29 green flag finishes here since 1993 have had a margin of victory of under 0.4s - but even more eye-catching was how the top eight cars were covered by an interval of just 0.145s.

The win is Johnson's 54th Sprint Cup career victory and his second time in victory lane at Talladega, but only his first in the 2011 season after a 15-race winless streak (the second longest in his championship history). He's the seventh winner in the eight races so far this year - only Harvick has won more than once - and his win means that the last eight races at Talladega have all had different winners.

The win moves Johnson up two positions to second behind Carl Edwards in the Sprint Cup championship standings, just ahead of his Talladega drafting partner Dale Earnhardt Jr. who moves up three spots to third. The biggest losers were Kyle Busch (down four spots to sixth) and Matt Kenseth (down five to eighth) after their mutual exits in the wreck on lap 140.

The next race is the Hansen 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 30 in two weeks time, after a weekend off for Easter.

Race results

1. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 188 laps Leader (47/1 pts)
2. #33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 188 laps + 0.002s (44/2 pts)
3. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 188 laps + 0.039s (42/1 pts)
4. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 188 laps + 0.058s (41/1 pts)
5. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 188 laps + 0.064s (40/1 pts)
6. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 188 laps + 0.074s (39/1 pts)
7. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 188 laps + 0.130s (38/1 pts)
8. #5 Mark Martin Chevrolet 188 laps + 0.145s (37/1 pts)
9. #34 David Gilliland Ford 188 laps + 1.066s (35/0 pts)
10. #20 Joey Logano Toyota 188 laps + 1.123s (35/1 pts)
11. #43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford 188 laps + 1.274s (33/0 pts)
12. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 188 laps + 1.314s (33/1 pts)
13. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 188 laps + 1.376s (32/1 pts)
14. #00 David Reutimann Toyota 188 laps + 1.434s (30/0 pts)
15. #78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 188 laps + 1.449s (30/1 pts)
16. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 188 laps + 1.570s (29/1 pts)
17. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 188 laps + 2.103s (27/0 pts)
18. #22 Kurt Busch Dodge 188 laps + 2.116s (27/1 pts)
19. #71 Andy Lally * Ford 188 laps + 5.212s (25/0 pts)
20. #7 Robby Gordon Dodge 188 laps + 5.239s (24/0 pts)
21. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 188 laps + 5.269s (24/1 pts)
22. #13 Casey Mears Toyota 188 laps + 5.297s (23/1 pts)
23. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 188 laps + 9.033s (21/0 pts)
24. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 188 laps + 11.392s (21/1 pts)
25. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 188 laps + 11.422s (20/1 pts)
26. #46 Bill Elliott Chevrolet 188 laps + 15.448s (18/0 pts)
27. #36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 188 laps + 22.294s (18/1 pts)
28. #115 Michael Waltrip Toyota 187 laps + 1 lap (16/0 pts)lap
29. #38 Travis Kvapil Ford 184 laps + 4 laps (0pts)laps
30. #42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 177 laps + 11 laps (14/0 pts)laps
31. #09 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 170 laps + 18 laps (0pts)laps
32. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 157 laps + 31 laps (13/1 pts)laps
33. #2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 154 laps + 34 laps (12/1 pts)laps
34. #32 Terry Labonte Ford 152 laps Engine (10/0 pts)
35. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 144 laps Accident (10/1 pts)
36. #17 Matt Kenseth Ford 139 laps Accident (9/1 pts)
37. #4 Kasey Kahne Toyota 139 laps Running (8/1 pts)
38. #83 Brian Vickers Toyota 115 laps Running (6/0 pts)
39. #6 David Ragan Ford 89 laps Accident (6/1 pts)
40. #21 Trevor Bayne Ford 89 laps Accident (0pts)
41. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 5 laps Vibration (0pts)
42. #135 Steve Park Chevrolet 4 laps Electrical (0pts)
43. #97 Kevin Conway Toyota 1 laps Electrical (0pts)




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jimmie Johnson - Lowe`s/Kobalt Chevrolet   [pic credit: NASCAR/Getty]
The #24 Axalta Chevrolet crew celebrates in pit lane after driver Jeff Godron`s victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, salutes the fans after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars into the pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Resers Toyota, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, qualifies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualified 2nd fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Next to him on the front row will be pole winner Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, was the fastest qualifier Saturday, July 26, 2014 to capture the pole position for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents, the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr. , driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, does a burnout after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart presents Darrell Wallace Jr. , driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, with the trophy after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, wins the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cars race after a restart lead by Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet (L), Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Cartwheel by Target Chevrolet (R) during the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.