Race recap: Once again Jimmie Johnson and his team used tire strategy to win a NASCAR Nextel Cup race. After choosing to go with the correct number of tires on their final pit stops at the past two races en route to victories at Atlanta and...
Race recap: Once again Jimmie Johnson and his team used tire strategy to win a NASCAR Nextel Cup race. After choosing to go with the correct number of tires on their final pit stops at the past two races en route to victories at Atlanta and Texas, Johnson and his team did it again at Phoenix on Sunday.
Johnson took on just two tires at his lap-271 pit stop, thus ensuring that he would not lose any track position to other leaders. Martin Truex Jr. decided to not take tires under that late-race caution period and assumed the lead. Shortly after the race's final restart, Johnson stormed by Truex and held onto lead the final 24 circuits around the flat, one-mile track.
Johnson led twice on the day for a total of 55 laps. Matt Kenseth led the most laps (93) in the 312-lap race that featured 10 lead changes among six drivers. The race also had 10 caution flags for 42 laps.
Johnson's four victories in a row helped him overcome a 68-point championship deficit to teammate Jeff Gordon during that period. Heading into the season's final event at Homestead-Miami Speedway next Sunday, Johnson holds an 86-point advantage over Gordon and needs to finish 18th or better to clinch the title. Johnson and Gordon remain the only two drivers in contention from the original 12 championship hopefuls who began the 10-race playoffs.
Goodyear Racing comment: "The tire combination we used at Phoenix this weekend has been a very successful set-up for us all season long. Phoenix is a difficult track for teams to set up their cars for due to the difficult configurations of the turns. Our tires worked very reliably for teams all weekend."
Companion events: Kyle Busch swept the first two other events of the weekend at Phoenix, winning both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Busch Series races on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Busch held off championship leaders Ron Hornaday Jr. (2nd) and Mike Skinner (8th) to win the truck race. Hornaday and Skinner will decide the truck championship at the season finale at Homestead next Friday.
The next day he led 132 of 200 laps to win the Busch race. Carl Edwards already has clinched the Busch Series title with one race remaining.
-credit: goodyear racing