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Infineon race recap: Johnson, Gordon in top 10

SONOMA, Calif. (June 21, 2009)—Jimmie Johnson scored his best finish of fourth and was joined in the top 10 by teammate Jeff Gordon during Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Infineon Raceway.

Gordon rolled to a ninth-place finish, while his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin were involved in accidents that nullified their strong runs on Sunday.

Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, overcame a pit-road speeding penalty to nab just his second top-five finish at the road course. With the finish, Johnson remains third in the driver standings.

“We went through a lot today with the pit road speeding penalty, and we had to fight back from that,” Johnson said. “What a great race car. (Crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and the guys did a great job and gave me a great car. Real fast on the long runs so I could just work away at it. Very proud of this Lowe’s Impala in the top-four here at Infineon Raceway. This has been a tough, tough track for us so we are getting better and making things better.”

Gordon, a five-time race winner at the road course, lined up 13th en route to his 14th top-10 finish in 18 Cup events at the track. Gordon remains second in the driver standings.

“The DuPont Chevrolet just wasn’t as fast as we really needed to be all weekend,” said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “We made some changes for the race. I don’t think that made it any better. So he (Jeff Gordon) battled real good. We pitted one time we probably shouldn’t have. We worked the first caution really well. We got a little track position and then we had kind of a poor pit stop, and got caught speeding all at the same time and had to go to the back. But the guys kept their heads up and we raced all the way and that’s what you’ve got to do at all these races. So to come home with a top-10 was really impressive.”

Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, climbed from his 35th starting spot to run in the top 10. But Earnhardt’s hope for a top-10 finish—potentially his first at the road course—was dashed when he was collected in a late-race incident. He finished 26th

Martin, driver of the No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevrolet, held steady after starting the race 14th but was involved in two accidents during the course of the 110-lap event. Martin finished 35th and now ranks 11th in the driver standings.