Event: NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Sharp Aquos 500 (Race No. 25 of 36) Calif. Weather: Extremely hot in triple digits Winner: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the ...
Event: NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Sharp Aquos 500 (Race No. 25 of 36)
Weather: Extremely hot in triple digits
Winner: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Chevrolet from Hendrick Motorsports
Top-five finishers: Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Race recap: Jimmie Johnson got stronger and stronger as the race wore on, leading 65 of the final 82 laps to win the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at California Speedway on Sunday night.
Johnson gave up the lead and pitted for the final time on lap 213, and then took 17 laps to cycle back to the front. He wound up leading Carl Edwards to the checkered flag by 1.868 seconds.
The race, which started at 5:15 p.m. West Coast time amidst 100-degree temperatures, featured 30 lead changes among 16 drivers. Kyle Busch led the most laps with 97 of the 250. The event was slowed by a track record 11 caution flags, but none in the last 74 laps leading to a series of green flag pit stops that scrambled the field.
Jeff Gordon maintained his top spot in the championship standings, but most of the intrigue involves the final transfer spot into NASCAR's Chase for the Championship playoff format. With one race left in the regular season, Dale Earnhardt is on the outside in 13th position, looking up at Kevin Harvick (+128 points), Kurt Busch (+141) and Martin Truex Jr. (+161).
The final regular season race will be held at Richmond International Raceway this Saturday night.
Goodyear quote -- Rick Heinrich, sales manager, Nextel Cup Series: "The record-breaking hot weather at Fontana all weekend made it a big challenge for the teams to dial in handling on their race cars. Track temperatures went from almost 150 degrees down to 90 after the sun set. Our Eagles performed well in all conditions all weekend despite the hottest track temperatures we've seen in quite a long time."
Companion event: Jeff Burton led 52 of 150 laps to win the NASCAR Busch Series race at California on Saturday night. Brian Vickers (37 laps), Kyle Busch (31) and Denny Hamlin (21) all led a significant number of laps, but had nothing for Burton in the end. Carl Edwards still has a 654-point lead in the championship standings.