2010-03-25 / Sports

Check Off Another One For Johnson

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Johnson BRISTOL, Tenn. – You may call it luck, or you may call it being at the right place at the right time, but in the end it didn’t matter because Jimmie Johnson drove away from the field in a 10-lap shootout to win Sunday’s Food City 500.

The win was the third of the season for Johnson, but the first of his career at Bristol.

“Oh, boy, was this special,” said Johnson. “We’ve come here 16 times and left without a win.”

“I really didn’t know if we made the right call or not by taking on four tires, but it paid off. I thought we were in trouble, but we were able to get back to the front, and then get by Tony (Stewart).”

The race-deciding caution came out on lap 482 of the 500-lap race. Kurt Busch was the leader, followed by Johnson. Both of these teams took on four fresh tires. Several other teams elected to only take on two tires.

When green-flag racing resumed on lap 490, the leaders were Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, and Johnson.

Stewart was able to move into second right after the restart, with Johnson right on his rear bumper. Within one lap, Stewart had taken the lead from Biffle, and one lap later, Johnson passed Stewart.

Kurt Busch, the Atlanta winner was third. He led 278 laps but was not able to get by Stewart in the closing laps, in order to challenge Johnson.

Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, and Jeff Burton were the remaining top-10 finishers.

Top-12 Chase leaders after 5 of 36: 1. Kenseth-778, 2. Harvick 774, 3. Johnson-760, 4. Biffle- 750, 5. Stewart-685, 6. Kurt Busch-677, 7. Burton-677, 8. Earnhardt-626, 9. Menard-614, 10. J. Gordon-608, 11. Kyle Busch- 606, 12. Bowyer-601

Tempers appeared to remain intact, at least on the track, even though there was a 13-car pileup on lap 341.

Polesitter Joey Logano had several mechanical problems and finished 27th.

Allagaier gets his first Nationwide win

Penske Racing’s Justin Allgaier passed and then held off his teammate, Brad Keselowski, to win Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Bristol to earn his first-career Nationwide Series win in his 43rd start.

Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Reed Sorenson, Mike Bliss, Jason Leffler, and Scott Wimmer were the remaining top-10 finishers.

Top-10 points leaders after 4 of 35: 1. Edwards-670, 2. Keselowski 644, 3. Allgaier-639, 4. Kyle Busch-594, 5. Harvick-569, 6. Biffle-563, 7. Menard-528, 8. S. Wallace-472, 9. M. Wallace-458, 10. Vickers-457

Kyle Busch talks about driver retaliation

Lately there has been lots of talk about self policing and retaliation. In the past Kyle Busch has been criticized for rough driving. This past weekend, he answered questions about whether there are lessons to be learned from those situations.

“I was racing at Loudon a few years ago with Kasey Kahne,” said Busch. “Unfortunately on my mistake, I made contact with him off turn two, spun him out. He backed into the fence. Then a lap later, when I came back around, he turned up into my race car, kind of retaliated right then and there under caution, and bent my car up pretty good while I was running fifth.”

“I’ve been through it. You know, I’ve never been through the case which happened last week between Edwards and Keselowski. But this series, like you said, this sport has always been self policing. The drivers try to take things into their own hands. Sometimes it gets a little too far.”

“The best scenario I had a few years ago when Tony Stewart wanted to get back at me for racing him too hard at Vegas. He missed his chance and got into the wall a little bit and I went on to finish second, he went on to finish 12th or 13th and was real mad at me after the race.”

“A couple weeks later we sat down in his motorhome and had a discussion. I felt like that was probably one of the best things that I’ve done in my career. He was a veteran driver. You got more of his point when it comes from a veteran driver who has been around the sport and who has been through some of the same things I went through at that time.”

“You know, to me it’s been a big learning experience going through all that. When you grow up as a kid, for instance, seven, eight years old, you look at the sport and be like, man, that’s what I want to do. I want to drive race cars around in circles every day, every weekend, just do it for a living. Then you get here and it’s like, wow, there’s a lot more involved. You have no idea what happens until you get here and you’re behind the scenes and see it.”

“A lot of people think it’s easy and it’s the best job in the world. It very honestly could be. But there’s still a lot that goes along with it in order to make it all tick and make it worthwhile.”

Weekend racing: The Cup cars, and Camping World Trucks will be at Martinsville, NASCAR’s smallest track (0.526-miles) this weekend, while the Nationwide teams have an off weekend.

Sat., March 27, Camping World Trucks Kroger 250, race 3 of 25; Starting time: 1:30 p.m. (ET); TV: Speed Channel.

Sun., March 28, Sprint Cup Goodys 500, race 6 of 36; starting time: 1 p.m. (ET); TV: Fox.

Racing trivia question: How old is Dale Earnhardt Jr.?

Last week’s question: How many race tracks does Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports Corp. own?

Answer: Eight, they are Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Infineon (Sonoma) Raceway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Speedway, New Hampshire and Texas Motor Speedway.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@ earthlink.net

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