Jimmie Johnson didn't mind waiting an extra day to run the Aaron's 499 as he drove to victory in a typically thrilling race at the Talladega Superspeedway.

Johnson made it two for two at restrictor plate tracks this year with a dramatic last lap lunge on his Hendrick teammate Brian Vickers although the driver of the #48 Chevrolet had to duck and weave his way down the final straight as Tony Stewart made a last gasp bid for glory.

Amazingly the massive Talladega grandstands and camping areas were still nearly full to bursting for Monday's postponed race and while the Dale Earnhardt Jr fans may have been left disappointed by their man's retirement through engine failure, everyone was on their feet for a pulsating final nine lap dash to the chequered flag.

No less than 20 of the 43 starters remained in the lead draft for the final sprint home with Hendrick teammates Johnson, Vickers and Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Roush Racing duo Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray and polesitter Elliott Sadler all featuring strongly.

Somehow Gordon and Sadler, arguably the two strongest contenders of all, were shuffled to the back of the pack leaving Vickers to hold the lead for four of the final five laps before Johnson swung underneath his teammate heading into turn one on the final tour.

Stewart lined up the #48 for a move coming off turn four for the final time but Johnson snaked his way through the tri-oval and to the chequered flag in a finish that saw the top 17 cars covered by less than a second at the end.

Vickers, whom Johnson credited for helping him to victory finished third with Jeff Burton fourth, McMurray fifth, Kenseth sixth and Kurt Busch seventh.

Carl Edwards, who courted controversy all day and raised the ire of none other than Earnhardt Jr himself took eighth place with Scott Riggs and Robby Gordon rounding out the top ten.

Gordon and Sadler trailed home in 15th and 16th places respectively but could count themselves lucky for having avoided a number of crashes during the 188-lap race.

The biggest crash of the day occurred on lap eight when Edwards appeared to squeeze Kyle Busch going into turn three while running four wide. Busch hit Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr, triggering a 14-car melee that included Kasey Kahne and Mark Martin.

The second multi-car pile-up of the day occurred less than 20 laps from home when Denny Hamlin tried to run four wide through the tri-oval and pushed Dave Blaney into Kevin Lepage, Reed Sorensen, Joe Nemechek and Michael Waltrip. For his troubles Hamlin was penalised a lap by NASCAR for overly aggressive driving.

Greg Biffle's horrendous season continued with an engine failure on lap 46 while Dale Earnhardt Jr survived a wild spin in turn three before his engine blew on lap 152.