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Johnson Fifth at Bristol

 

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 25, 2003) – Jimmie Johnson survived a caution-filled event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, finishing fifth in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet for his best-ever finish at the half-mile oval.

“We made up a lot of ground on the guys in front of us and anytime you can come out of Bristol with a top-five finish, you have to be happy with that,” said Johnson, who started 16th.

The performance marked Team Lowe’s Racing’s 10th top-10 result of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season and moved Johnson from sixth to fourth in championship points.

Terry Labonte continued his 2003 resurgence, finishing 11th and nearly nabbing his seventh top-10 finish of the season. After starting 13th in the No. 5 Kellogg’s / got milk? Chevy, the two-time champion fought handling problems for much of the first half of the 500-lap event.

“It was pretty much two different races,” Labonte said. “We made a lot of adjustments. (The car) wouldn’t turn in the middle of the corner. We finally made some adjustments and got it better.”

Labonte advanced another position in the Winston Cup standings to 12th overall, just 80 points back of 10th-place Robby Gordon.

Driving the No. 25 UAW-Delphi Monte Carlo, Joe Nemechek finished 19th on Saturday after starting 38th overall.

The Lakeland, Fla., native is currently 24th in the driver standings after 24 of 36 races.

After starting from the pole position, Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 DuPont team had a disappointing day at Bristol, finishing 28th after a late-race accident.

Gordon, who led the most laps, slid from third to fifth in the standings.

Kurt Busch won at Bristol, earning his fourth trip to Victory Lane in 2003.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will next visit the 1.366-mile Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 31. Scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET green flag, the event will be broadcast live on NBC and MRN Radio beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.

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