Lowe's recap: Johnson wins from pole position
CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 17, 2009)—Jimmie Johnson held off teammate Jeff Gordon during a final restart and led a race-high 92 laps on his way to Victory Lane in Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
For Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, it is his second straight win and third overall in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Johnson now holds a 90-point lead in the championship standings.
“I knew (Gordon) was going to be tough,” said Johnson, who won the event from the pole position. “He got by me, and I was pretty nervous. He got the outside lane, and that’s where I kind of needed to be. The restarts before that on the bottom I was able to get by him, but he got a great restart on that last one.
“So it’s special for me getting the win at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the Lowe’s car in the (sponsor’s) final race here at the speedway. What a big day for the overall spectrum. So, just awesome.”
Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont/TRANSFORMERS: Revenge of the Fallen Chevrolet, put up a fierce battle with Johnson in the final restarts. After starting ninth, Gordon led three times for 46 laps and crossed the finish line fourth to improve two more spots in the championship standings.
“You know we put two tires on (during that last stop), and that was a great call by Steve (Letarte, crew chief),” Gordon said. “I think Steve called this race perfectly tonight, and we gave it a shot. I couldn’t even believe I got the lead on the restart and was able to get by Jimmie (Johnson) when he got loose and we were racing really hard. I knew it was just a matter of time before my two tires would give up and it did and we fought hard there with Joey Logano, too, it was a lot of fun.”
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Pop-Tarts/CARQUEST Chevrolet, started from the outside pole position, but suffered some damage during a midrace restart. Martin and his team worked with the car throughout the race to finish 17th, and they retain second place in the championship standings.
“I want to thank Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and my crew,” Martin said. “We had a lot of issues tonight, and we could have given up and none of them did. We had a really good effort. I got really tight at the end. I was afraid that was going to happen because that is what happened all night long. On green flag runs we got super tight at the end of each one. But everyone on this Pop Tarts/CARQUEST Chevrolet team kept fighting, and I am really proud of them for that.”
Brad Keselowski in his final Cup start this season driving the No. 25 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, started eighth and finished 12th, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. experienced a transmission issue with his No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet and finished 38th.