Winner: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the ...
Winner: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet from Hendrick Motorsports
Top-five finishers: Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin
Race recap: In a race highlighted by 28 lead changes among 16 different drivers, it was NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson who prevailed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Johnson, who led a total of 89 of 267 laps on the day, paced the field for the final 18 circuits and cruised to a relatively comfortable victory with a 2.795-second lead. There were nine cautions for 27 laps, with the winner averaging 128.183 mph through the race.
The victory was the 24th of Johnson's 186-race Nextel Cup career, his first win of the 2007 season and third consecutive visit to victory circle at the Las Vegas track.
Johnson's teammate Jeff Gordon finished second after leading the most laps (111) around the newly configured, 1.5-mile track. The track increased from 12 degrees up to 20 degrees in banking, has a new fast surface and a unique curved pit lane.
Mark Martin, who finished in fifth, held onto his championship lead and is in front of Gordon by a mere six points. With his victory, Johnson moved from 15th to fourth in the points.
Goodyear quote -- Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales: "The new configuration of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway proved to be a real challenge. Between our tire test in December of last year with Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle and the NASCAR open test session in January, the Nextel Cup cars picked up over one second in lap time. This resulted in speeds, loads and tire temperatures which concerned us, and our engineering staff reacted with a harder left side tire compound for this weekend's race. Even though we had complaints from some of the drivers about reduced grip, the change proved to be the right thing to do. Lap times and tire temperatures were in line with what we expected, and we had solid tire performance all day long."
Companion event: Jeff Burton made a hard charge on the final lap to overtake Kyle Busch on the last lap of the NASCAR Busch Series race at Las Vegas on Saturday. In his attempts to hold onto the lead, Busch wound up spinning across the finish line in second. Carl Edwards took over the championship lead by 68 points over Denny Hamlin.
-credit: goodyear racing