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McMurray wins as Dillon takes off at 'Dega

"We had a great race car and lead a lot of the race," said Johnson. "At the end there the #1 decided to run the top and took the bulk of cars with him. As that happened the middle lane that I was in quickly became the bottom lane and then quickly didn't exist.

"I dropped like a rock for a while and was able to get in the outside lane and start making some spots back and fortunately missed the big pile up on the back stretch," he added. "13th isn't the best finish, but with what we are trying to do and win a championship we beat the competition today and that is good."

With Kenseth finishing seven positions behind him, and with the help of that most laps led bonus point, Johnson inverts the positions at the top of the Chase standings and exits Talladega with a four point lead over Kenseth; behind the pair, Busch and Harvick share third place 29 points behind the new championship leader.

"It was just an incredibly disappointing day," said Kenseth, although he insisted that losing the points lead was of small importance. "I don't think it will affect my team. I think I have one of the greatest teams out here obviously and I feel like we can go everywhere else, and honestly we can race with anybody when we're at our best. Hopefully, we'll be at our best the next four weeks and we'll give them a run for their money."

"I feel that the races forward now are up to where the competitors go earn it," was Johnson's view. " You don't have this luck issue that can take place at plate tracks.

"I am happy to have the points lead and we went through a lot of work to get there. We were just getting one point at a time and we got a few more than normal today and were able to get the lead," he added. "We just go racing from here and that is the thing I am most excited for. Great race tracks, great race cars and it's just going to be a dogfight to the end."

In other words, Johnson - like everyone else in the Cup field - is mighty relieved that Talladega is in the books and out of the way for another Chase campaign. Perhaps that wariness about the king of superspeedway is why everyone was so cautious this weekend and why so relatively little happened and why the drivers held back until the last minute, preferring to put finishing ahead of a rash bid for glory.

Certainly Jamie McMurray wasn't complaining as he rejoiced at the end of a 109 winless streak in the Cup series, and it came at the end of a great weekend for the extended Ganassi organisation after Scott Dixon had claimed the IZOD IndyCar Series championship title for the squad the night before in California.

"It's important for the whole organization, Chip obviously winning the championship on the IndyCar side," said McMurray. "Winning, it's not just about me, it's about everybody within our whole group. Probably more so the #1 guys because they're the ones that are in victory lane, but it's so cool to see their faces in victory lane and know that when we go to Martinsville, you have confidence, everybody does.

"It's so big for us because Martinsville ‑ to me plate tracks are probably my best tracks, and Martinsville is probably my next best. I love getting to go there." Which he will be in just seven days time, as the seventh race of the Chase gets underway on Sunday afternoon on October 27.



Related Pictures

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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finished 13th Sunday, October 20, 2013 in the Camping World RV Sales 500 race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Johnson moved to 1st place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #1 Cessna Chevrolet SS finished in 1st place and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #88 Mountain Dew/Xbox One Chevrolet SS finished 2nd Sunday, October 20, 2013 in the Camping World RV Sales 500 race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Earnhardt Jr. is 6th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #1 Cessna Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, October 20, 2013 in the Camping World RV Sales 500 race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and Casey Mears, driver of the #13 GEICO Ford, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 20, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 20, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart at Dover International Speedway on May 30 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR Media)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS, finished ninth and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Great Stuff Chevrolet SS, finished 28th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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