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Johnson Second at California Speedway

FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2004) – Jimmie Johnson led the way for Hendrick Motorsports Sunday at California Speedway, driving his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet to a second-place finish.

“Man, I wanted to win at home so bad,” said Johnson, who hails from El Cajon.  “We put out all our effort there at the end.  We came close, but we’ll come back and hopefully get it here again in my home state later this year.

“I’m very happy with this Lowe’s Monte Carlo.  This race team is incredible.  My guys were the best on pit road and we had the best car.  We just came up a little short.”

Johnson is now second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings, just five points out of the top spot going into the first off-weekend of the season.  The circuit will next visit Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 13.

Brian Vickers was 21st in the No. 25 GMAC/ditech.com Chevrolet, while teammate Kyle Busch was 23rd.  The duo made history at California, forming the youngest front row in NASCAR history.

Busch, just 19, started from the pole position in the No. 5 CARQUEST Chevrolet, becoming the youngest-ever driver to qualify first at NASCAR’s top level.

Jeff Gordon finished 30th in the No. 24 DuPont Chevy, while Terry Labonte came in 36th in his No. 44 Kellogg’s Chevrolet.  Gordon, who won the season-opening Daytona 500, is 10th in the standings.

Greg Biffle won the California event, earning his first victory of 2005.

The Las Vegas race is scheduled for a 3:05 p.m. ET green flag.  FOX and PRN Radio will carry live coverage.

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