JIMMIE JOHNSON'S THIRD VICTORY IN A ROW AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY SETS HISTORICAL 150TH WIN MARK FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS; TEAMMATE JEFF GORDON FINISHES SECOND & DENNY HAMLIN TAKES THIRD CHEVY DRIVERS CLAIM TOP-THREE FINISHING POSITIONS; MARK...
JIMMIE JOHNSON'S THIRD VICTORY IN A ROW AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY SETS HISTORICAL 150TH WIN MARK FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS; TEAMMATE JEFF GORDON FINISHES SECOND & DENNY HAMLIN TAKES THIRD
CHEVY DRIVERS CLAIM TOP-THREE FINISHING POSITIONS; MARK MARTIN RETAINS POINTS LEAD WITH FIFTH PLACE FINISH
Las Vegas - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS claimed his third consecutive victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway today beating teammate Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS to the checkered flag by 2.795 seconds. The win on the newly configured 1.5-mile track is the 24th of Johnson's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series career and set the historic milestone of 150 race wins for team owner Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports.
"Man, there was a lot of great competition on the track," said Johnson. "When we unloaded Friday that we didn't have the right setup under the car. I just want to thank everybody on this Lowe's team for working as hard as they did. We got the car right yesterday in practice, and we felt good about today. Overcame some adversity today. I got in the wall coming off turn four and thought I hurt the car. But we kept adjusting until we got this thing right. I can't thank all the Lowe's employee owners for their support. Wish the Boss (Rick Hendrick) was here, this is the 150th win for Hendrick Motorsports, but unfortunately he isn't here."
Johnson came from the 23rd starting position to take the lead on lap 22 of the 267-lap race and led several times during the race for a total of 89 circuits. He rebounded from a penalty that sent him to the back of the lead-lap cars for a tire rolling out of the pit box during a pit stop and a brush with the wall.
The 2006 Series' champions win moved him to fourth in points, 47 out of the lead.
Gordon who started 36th raced his way to the lead on lap 109 and looked like the car to beat after leading the most laps on the day, 111 total, until Johnson got by the final time on lap 236. Gordon now sits second in the point standings, just six points out of the lead.
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx /Kinko's Monte Carlo SS, finished third with a steady day running in the top-10 the majority of the afternoon. The 2006 Raybestos Rookie of the Year climbed to eighth in the standings.
Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Monte Carlo SS, retained the points lead with his third consecutive top-five finish of the season. Martin's fifth in the final order gave Team Chevy four of the top-five finishing positions.
Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS, finished seventh and Kyle Busch with his ninth place finish gave the Bowtie brand six of the top-10 in the order when the checkered flag flew.
Round four of the 2007 NNCS season will be March 18, 2007 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
-credit: gm racing