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Johnson, Gordon Nab Top-Fives at Chicagoland

 

  • Jul 14, 2003

JOLIET, Ill. (July 14, 2003) – Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon each earned top-five finishes in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, making up ground in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship race in the process.

Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy, brought home his third top-five finish of 2003, finishing third at Chicagoland after starting sixth. It was his second consecutive top-five finish at the 1.5-mile track.

The El Cajon, Calif., native remains sixth in the Winston Cup driver standings, just 45 points behind fifth-place Michael Waltrip.

Piloting the No. 24 DuPont Chevy, Gordon was right behind his teammate, scoring a fourth-place finish and making up 38 points on series leader Matt Kenseth. The four-time Winston Cup champion started on the outside of pole-winner Tony Stewart, who paced Friday’s time trials with a track record of 184.786 mph.

Gordon moved past Dale Earnhardt Jr. into second in the driver standings, just 165 points behind Kenseth with half the Winston Cup schedule remaining.

Terry Labonte and Kellogg’s / got milk Racing fought a tight-handling race car in the early stages of the event to finish 15th after starting 28th at Chicagoland. It was just the second time in the past six races that the two-time Winston Cup champion has failed to finish in the top 10.

The native of Corpus Christi, Texas, slid one position in the standings to 14th overall, but still managed to make up ground on the top 10, picking up 18 points on 10th-place Sterling Marlin.

After starting 17th, Joe Nemechek finished 42nd on Sunday after mechanical problems sidelined the No. 25 UAW-Delphi Monte Carlo after just 45 laps at Chicagoland.

Nemechek dropped two positions to 24th in the Winston Cup standings, but remains just 85 points out of the top 20.

Ryan Newman finished first at Chicagoland Speedway, winning the Tropicana 400 for his third victory of the 2003 season.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will next visit the 1.058-mile New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H., for the New England 300 on Sunday, July 20. Live coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET on MRN Radio and TNT.

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