Atlanta II: Goodyear Racing race report

Race recap: Jimmie Johnson used a late-race, two-tire stop to gain track position, then survived accidents on a couple restarts to win the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Atlanta on Sunday. While Martin Truex Jr. (135 laps), Kyle Busch (98 laps)...

Race recap: Jimmie Johnson used a late-race, two-tire stop to gain track position, then survived accidents on a couple restarts to win the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Atlanta on Sunday.

While Martin Truex Jr. (135 laps), Kyle Busch (98 laps) and Kurt Busch (77 laps) dominated the leader board, it was Johnson who earned his series-leading eighth victory of the season.

Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, switched his strategy late in the race, calling for just two tires on a final pit stop with seven laps left in the event. When Denny Hamlin's car ran out of fuel on the ensuing restart, Johnson motored by to take the lead as the caution flew again. Several laps later, on the race's final restart, the car of Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost a wheel, thus ending the event and giving Johnson the victory.

With his win, Johnson cut into championship leader Jeff Gordon's overall lead in a big way. Entering the event 53 points behind Gordon, Johnson has now closed the gap to just nine points with three races left in the Chase for the Championship playoffs. That chase resumes at Texas Motor Speedway next Sunday.

Goodyear quote -- Phil Holmer, sales manager for NASCAR racing: "Atlanta is a tough place and you have to respect this race track. If you don't, it will bite you; if you do, you will be rewarded. With the racing surface being as abrasive as it is, wear was expectedly high. Wear did improve significantly throughout the weekend and teams that achieved a good, balanced race setup ran well."

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Companion event: Kyle Busch led a race-high 65 laps to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta on Saturday. Busch overcame a black flag penalty with 26 laps to go in the event for a faulty window net and came back to lead the final eight laps. Ron Hornaday (second at Atlanta) regained the championship lead over Mike Skinner (fifth at Atlanta) by four points with three races remaining.

-credit: goodyear racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Mike Skinner , Kurt Busch , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , Denny Hamlin , Chad Knaus , Kyle Busch