Winner: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the ...
Winner: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Chevrolet from Hendrick Motorsports
Top-five finishers: Johnson, Tony Stewart, David Ragan, Jeff Gordon and Johnny Sauter
Race recap: Jimmie Johnson wrapped up the NASCAR Nextel Cup "regular season" on a roll. The defending series champion won for the second straight week, leading the final 104 laps of the race at Richmond on Saturday night. Johnson beat everyone out of the pits on lap 297 and remained out front the rest of the way as the field scrambled behind him.
Jeff Gordon led the most laps, pacing the field for 190 of 400. The race was slowed by 12 caution flags, including two red flags for extended cleanup.
With his victory, Johnson now takes over the top spot in the re-shuffled championship standings leading into the 10-race "Chase to the Championship." Jeff Gordon actually ended the regular season with a 312-point advantage over second-place Tony Stewart, but NASCAR wiped the slate clean, so to speak, with the top 12 drivers all getting re-set to 5,000 points plus 10 additional points for each victory they scored up to this point. Since Johnson has won six races this season, he leads the standings with 5,060 points. Gordon is now in second place with 5,040, followed by Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.
The "playoffs" are set to begin with just those 12 drivers eligible to win the championship. The first race will be at New Hampshire International Speedway this Sunday.
Chad Fletcher: "We ran our standard mile-track tire setup at Richmond, which has been very effective everywhere we've run it. This setup proved to be very durable, holding up to several long runs and offering a good level of grip, as evidenced by a lot of three-wide racing."
Companion event: Kyle Busch dominated the NASCAR Busch Series Emerson Radio 250 race at Richmond, leading 227 of 252 laps for the victory on Friday night. There were eight cautions for 40 laps and six lead changes among three drivers. Finishing behind Kyle Busch were Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth and Mike Bliss. Carl Edwards still holds a comfortable 654-point lead in that series' championship standings.
-credit: goodyear racing