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Johnson Goes 2-for-2 at Lowe’s

 

CONCORD, N.C. (May 27, 2003) – Team Lowe’s Racing and driver Jimmie Johnson completed a sweep at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, winning Sunday’s rain-shortened race just one week after conquering The Winston, NASCAR’s all-star event, at the 1.5-mile track.

Johnson led Hendrick Motorsports, which placed three teams in the top 11, earning his first championship-points victory of the 2003 season.

“We did so well here last May, but we didn’t close the deal,” said Johnson, who started last in the 43-car field thanks to engine problems during Friday’s qualifying session. “This year, we had a different mindset. We wanted to be competitive and work on the race car all day long, but have some patience and be up front when it counts.”

The team’s May sweep at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is the first since Jeff Gordon, Johnson’s car owner and Hendrick Motorsports teammate, went two-for-two in 1997. It marked only the fifth time in NASCAR history that a driver has won both The Winston and the Memorial Day-weekend event.

Johnson earned 180 championship points after leading 32 of 276 laps and moved up one position to fifth in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver standings. He remains 247 markers behind leader Matt Kenseth.

After starting fourth, Gordon finished eighth in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, earning his sixth top-10 result of 2003, and moved up one position in the standings. He is currently third, just 216 points out of first.

Driving the No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet, Joe Nemechek rallied from a rough start to finish 11th and vaulted three positions to 11th in championship points.

After starting seventh, Nemechek dropped to 38th thanks to handling problems, but battled back within one position of another top-10 finish.

Two-time Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte fought a tight-handling race car early in the event, and later made contact with driver John Andretti, resulting in right-side damage to the No. 5 Kellogg’s / got milk? Chevrolet.

Labonte finished 21st overall and moved up one position in championship points. The veteran is now 17th, three spots ahead of defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart and just 158 points out of a place in the top 10.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will next visit the one-mile Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Sunday, June 1. The 400-mile event will be carried live on MRN Radio and the FX television network beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

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