Hendrick Motorsports rookie Jimmie Johnson scored his second win of the season after a late race decision to stay out on old tires while the remainder of the lead lap cars pitted. Johnson ran the final 92 laps on the same set of Goodyears and was...
Hendrick Motorsports rookie Jimmie Johnson scored his second win of the season after a late race decision to stay out on old tires while the remainder of the lead lap cars pitted. Johnson ran the final 92 laps on the same set of Goodyears and was able to hold off a late race charge from veteran Evernham Motorsports driver Bill Elliott.
With the win, Johnson moves to second in the overall points standings and continues to lead the 2002 Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle over Penske's Ryan Newman who finished fourth in Sunday's race.
"We had a great car. We ran probably in the top-five throughout the majority of the race. Three poles and two wins this early in the season is incredible. I'm very thankful for all the support from Hendrick Motorsports, Lowe's, and Chad Knaus and my guys. Right now it's clicking and I wish we could bottle it up and store it for a hundred years and just keep doing this forever. We're going to enjoy the wave while it's here."
The 400 mile event saw numerous teams lose right front tires, as was the case in Saturday's Busch Series race. Roush Racing's Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch both suffered cut tires but Busch was able to regain his lap deficit and bring home a 12th place finish. Kenseth finished 40th.
Kenseth had won the pole for the event, the first of his career, but was forced to the rear of the field after an engine change following happy hour. Busch also started the race at the rear after he wrecked his primary car on his final lap of qualifying. He would have lined up fifth.
Roush Racing had an up and down day within the organization. While leading, on lap 124, last week's winner Mark Martin got collected in an accident involving Newman and the No. 1 DEI Chevy of Steve Park. Martin had led the previous 77 laps before the wreck took him out of contention. He finished the race 41st. The fourth car out of Roush's stables, the 99 Ford driven by Jeff Burton, finished the race third.
Veteran Ford drivers had a tough time while leading throughout the day. Aside from Martin's problems, Robert Yates driver Ricky Rudd also led a large part of the day but finished the race 19th one lap down. While running second after the final entire field pitstop Rudd felt a vibration in the car. The 28 car went to the pits for four new tires and the team found a loose wheel. Rudd's Yates teammate Dale Jarrett in the No. 88 finished the race a strong third.
Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, the four time Champ Jeff Gordon, who continues to search for his first victory of the season, finished sixth. PPI's Ricky Craven came home seventh. Robby Gordon, Bobby Hamilton, and Elliott Sadler closed out the top 10.