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Johnson's Vegas jackpot.

Friday's Bud Pole winner Newman seemed the man most likely to mount a late charge on Johnson, the #12 Penske Racing Dodge driver leading more than 40 laps during the mid and late portion of the race. However after several late skirmishes with Jeff Gordon, Newman slid down the order in the closing laps.

Newman's turn one tangle with Gordon with a little over 30 laps remaining gifted second spot to the younger of the two Busch brothers, who gladly accepted his best career Nextel Cup to date after a strong, mature run all day.

Although the younger Busch didn't lead a lap, he did more than enough to hold off older brother and defending Nextel Cup Champion Kurt, who was also able to sneak underneath the squabbling Newman and Gordon.

Gordon, who eventually got the better of his foe, not before a slight love tap of reciprocation, fought back to take fifth place on a day where he could easily have played his part in a Hendrick 1-2-3.

Sixth across the line was Kevin Harvick, the driver of the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet going some way towards redeeming his team following their fuel cell issues in qualifying that resulted in Harvick starting from the back of the field.

Fontana winner Greg Biffle outpaced poleman Newman to lead lap one and was amongst the leaders for much of the day but could do no better than sixth at the end, heading Casey Mears, defending Las Vegas winner Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and a grip-less Newman home.

Outside of the top ten, Bobby Hamilton Jr put in his best showing since taking the wheel of the #32 PPI Motorsport Chevrolet to finish eleventh while Joe Nemechek, rookie Travis Kvapil and Elliott Sadler all ran in the top ten until a wrong air pressure adjustment (or a faulty jack in Nemechek's case) dropped them down the order at the end. Nemechek finished 19th, Kvapil 26th after leading nine laps and Sadler 29th after fighting back from a spin and the loss of a lap.

Dale Earnhardt Jr's legion of fans were to be disappointed early, as their man punted Brain Vickers into a race ending spin on lap 12, leaving him 42nd. Also falling foul of the concrete were Bobby Labonte (in the aftermath of the Earnhardt/Vickers tangle), Kasey Kahne, Hermie Sadler, Sterling Marlin and Ken Schrader, although the latter two were able to continue.

In the points table, Johnson's win, combined with a second place showing in Fontana, hoists him 15 points clear of Kurt Busch with Greg Biffle now the only other driver within 100 points of the leader.






Related Pictures

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Johnson`s Darlington win keeps him in the title battle going to the finale (Photo: GM Media).
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series #5 Kellogg`s Chevrolet driver Kyle Busch at Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL-2/20/05 ┬ęDorsey Patrick
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS races to victory Sunday, March 1, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, March 1, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory Sunday, March 1, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet, spins out after an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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