NASCAR: Johnson beats Bowyer for victory in Aarons' 499

Monday, April 18, 2011

File photo of Jimmie Johnson
Image: Pete Souza.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson won his first race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and his second career win, at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday during the Aarons 499 in Alabama. Throughout the course of the race there were six cautions and 88 lead changes among 26 drivers.

Johnson was 0.002 seconds ahead of Clint Bowyer at the conclusion of the race; this tied with the record for the closest finish in series history which occured at Darlington Raceway in 2003. Pole position winner, Jeff Gordon finished third, ahead of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kevin Harvick in fourth and fifth. Carl Edwards took sixth position ahead of Greg Biffle in seventh. Mark Martin, David Gilliland, and Joey Logano rounded out the top ten finishers in the race.

Johnson said: "We were just the lucky guy at the end with a good run. We had some big mo on our side, and off we went." Johnson continued, "I can't thank Junior enough. He made the decision that my car was faster leading. And the way these things are finishing up, the lead car's going to get the win. In some respects, he was more worried about the team having a good performance than anything."

Following the race, Edwards remains Drivers' Championship leader with 295 points. Five points behind, Johnson is second with 290. In third, Earnhardis fourteen points behind, but 22 ahead of Harvick. Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch are fifth and sixth respectively with 267 and 257 points. Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Bowyer round out the top-ten positions for the Drivers' Champoinship.

The 2011 season continues on April 30 at Richmond International Raceway for the 2011 Crown Royal presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400. The race will be televised in the U.S. on the FOX Network at 7:30 p.m. EDT.