Jeff Gordon wins Kansas, Johnson takes points lead

Kansas City, Kansas -- With only three laps left to determine the winner, Jeff Gordon was able to hold off the charges from team Penske's Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace. Gordon had pulled out a dominating lead but with five to go the red flag was...

Kansas City, Kansas -- With only three laps left to determine the winner, Jeff Gordon was able to hold off the charges from team Penske's Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace. Gordon had pulled out a dominating lead but with five to go the red flag was displayed after a multi car accident involving Jimmy Spencer, Ricky Rudd, Johnny Benson and Jeremy Mayfield broke out when Benson and Spencer got together.

After two rough outings at Richmond and Dover, Gordon was able to drive his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to his third win of the season. With the win, the four time champion now has a total of 61 career victories. "This team, what an amazing job they did. We went off a lot of notes we had from last year, great horsepower underneath the hood."

Gordon picked up a spot in points to fourth and is now 109 points out of the lead. He commented regarding Mark Martin's early departure, "I saw he had problems but I didn't know what it was. I just wanted to go out there and run our race."

Just as the finish last year during the inaugural event at Kansas, Newman finished second to Gordon. He summed up his finish with both delight and disappointment, "I'm happy to finish second, I'm not happy we didn't win."

With only 11 cars on the lead lap after a caution brought out due to debris with 18 to go, Gordon, second and third place runners Newman and Wallace stayed out. The first car to pit was the fourth place car of Tony Stewart. Stewart and Bill Elliott took on two tires while Matt Kenseth took on four. Under the yellow, the points leader entering Kansas, Mark Martin, dipped to the pits but had problems leaving pit road. After exiting his pits, Martin's Roush Racing #6 crew had to push the car in order for it to refire. With 16 to go Martin pulled his car to the garage after losing a valve train. The field took the restart with 14 to go. With five to go, the multi-car wreck left only nine cars on the lead lap, Mayfield being the last car.

Jimmie Johnson entered the race at Kansas second in points and it appeared that he would lose ground on his title hopes after cutting a right rear tire on lap 171. Johnson fell a lap behind the leaders but ended the race 10th, the first car a lap down. "Unfortunately we had a flat tire, it cost us and we got down. We had a great racecar and a great team and we weren't gonna let it get us down. It's been a bad place to be, leading points these days, everybody keeps having trouble. Hopefully we can take it and hang on to it."

With his 10th place finish and Martin's 25th place run, Johnson now sits atop the championship standings by a mere 11 points over Martin.

The first caution flag of the day came on lap seven when the 74 of Tony Raines and the 36 of Ken Schrader made contact. Schrader's 36 Pontiac climbed the hood of the 74 before Raines' car went high and bounced off of the outside wall. Cars began checking up to miss the wreck and a nine car accident ensued. Raines, Ward Burton and Casey Atwood were unable to return to the track and suffered DNFs. Bobby Labonte, Jeff Green, Elliott Sadler, Stuart Kirby, Jerry Nadeau and Schrader were all able to make repairs and continue.

Ganassi's Sterling Marlin held the points lead just a few weeks ago, had yet another disappointing race. On lap 149 Jeff Burton made slight contact with the rear of Marlin's Dodge and sent the 40 nose first hard into the wall. Marlin fell to fifth in points with his DNF.

15 cars failed to finish the race, the highest number of DNFs this season. Jeff Burton, Stuart Kirby, Ricky Craven and Dale Jarrett were among those who suffered engine failures.

Joe Nemechek, teammate to both Gordon and Johnson, grabbed his best finish of the season with his fourth place run and Evernham Motorsports' Bill Elliott closed out the top five. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Jeremy Mayfield and Johnson close out the top ten. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Stewart currently sits third in points, 36 out of the lead.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Ken Schrader , Joe Nemechek , Jeff Green , Sterling Marlin , Jerry Nadeau , Ryan Newman , Casey Atwood , Johnny Benson , Jimmie Johnson , Ricky Craven , Stuart Kirby , Elliott Sadler , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing