Johnson Wins In A Thrilling Finish

Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards gave the fans a thrilling finish Sunday afternoon at Kansas.  Johnson held off Edwards in a last lap duel.  With the win, the two time defending champion is back in a familiar position:  The top of the Sprint Cup point standings.

For most of this season, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch have been at the top of the points and considered the favorites to win the title.  It had perhaps led some to forget about the two time defending champion Jimmie Johnson.  Can't forget about him now.  Jimmie Johnson's bid to become the first driver since Cale Yarborough from 1976 through 1978 to win three straight championships is in full gear now.  Johnson won the Camping World RV 400 at the Kansas Speedway Sunday afternoon.

On his way to the win, Jimmie Johnson led the most laps, leading 124 of the event's 267 laps.  The highlight of the day was his battle for the win in the final laps with Carl Edwards.  In the closing laps, Edwards was trying to catch Johnson to steal the win.  On the final lap going into turn three, Edwards went underneath Johnson to take the lead.  But he lost a bit of control going into turn four, causing the car to go up the track and brush the wall.  That allowed Johnson to go back under him and take the lead right back.  Edwards tried one more time, but the brush with the wall caused him to lose the momentum and he was not able to catch Johnson.

Seven cautions slowed the race for 25 laps.  Championship contenders brought out two of those yellow flags.  The fourth caution flew on lap 124 when Matt Kenseth lost control after possible contact with Casey Mears.  It was fortunate that a bigger wreck didn't occur.  Kenseth was able to get back in the race, finishing in fifth.  The day's fifth caution was brought out on lap 131 when Tony Stewart spun after contact with Brian Vickers.  Stewart was never able to recover, finishing in 40th place. 

The top seven finishing positions were made up all of Chase drivers.  Behind Johnson and Edwards, Greg Biffle (winner of the first two Chase events) finished third with Jeff Gordon fourth.  After Kenseth, Kevin Harvick finished sixth with Jeff Burton in seventh.  The top ten was rounded up by David Ragan, A.J. Allmendinger, and Elliott Sadler.

The other Chase driver finishing outside the top ten were Denny Hamlin in 11th, Clint Bowyer in 12th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 13th.  It was another rough day in The Chase for Kyle Busch.  After placing 34th and 43rd in the first two Chase events, he finished 28th Sunday.  If his title hopes weren't already dashed before Sunday, they are now.

As far as the standings in The Chase, there are now three drivers who have kind of broken away from the rest.  Jimmie Johnson is now the points leader, ten points ahead of second place Carl Edwards and thirty ahead of third place Greg Biffle.  Jeff Burton is still fourth (121 back) and Kevin Harvick stayed in fifth (136 back).  Jeff Gordon moved up two spots to sixth (143 back) while Clint Bowyer fell back a spot to seventh (164 back).  Dale Earnhardt Jr (8th; 190 back), Matt Kenseth (9th; 192 back) and Denny Hamlin (10th; 243 back) all moved up one spot.  The biggest drop in the standings went to Tony Stewart, who fell four places back to 11th and is now 255 points behind Johnson.  Kyle Busch is 12th, 311 points back.

While the Nationwide Series is off, the Sprint Cup and Truck Series will take a turn at NASCAR's biggest, baddest track:  The Talladega Superspeedway.  The trucks will run Saturday in the Mountain Dew 250 while the Sprint Cup Series will compete in the AMP Energy 500 Sunday.

By:  CrimsonCowboy

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