A mere 0.145s covered the top eight cars at the end of 500 miles - 188 laps - at Talladega Superspeedway, with a photofinish required before the win was duly awarded to Jimmie Johnson by a margin of just 0.002s over Clint Bowyer. The win is Johnson's first in 2011 after a 15-race winless streak, but his 54th Sprint Cup career victory and his second time in victory lane at Talladega. The margin of victory equals the championship's closest-ever margin since electronic timing was introduced, the last time being at Darlington in 2003.

Johnson couldn't have done it without his drafting partner Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was eventually confirmed as having crossed the line in fourth place. But the duo's strategy to spend much of the race lurking toward the back did not please second-placed finisher Clint Bowyer: "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."

There was an early caution on lap 28 when Landon Cassill, bumped by Kurt Busch, spun Brian Vickers out; then a major wreck on lap 90 sparked by Kurt Busch again, this time turning Brad Keselowski which started a major pile up that left Kasey Kahne's car on fire and Trevor Bayne out of the race; and finally a big pile-up on lap 140 that started when Joey Logano spun Kyle Busch into Matt Kenseth, taking out two of the Sprint Cup championship points leaders coming into this weekend.

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)

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment