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Fontana recap: Johnson wins, Martin fourth

FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2010) – Jimmie Johnson was in the right spot with 25 laps to go on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway and capitalized on that track position to earn his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the season.

Johnson was running in the top 16 with 25 laps to go when he decided to bring his No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet down pit road for four tires and fuel. Almost as soon as Johnson committed to pit road, there was an accident on the frontstretch that brought out the caution flag. Johnson’s crew worked swiftly, and he left pit road just moments ahead of then-leader Jeff Burton.

After the caution period was completed, Johnson and Burton’s teammate Kevin Harvick lined up side-by-side on the front row for the restart. Johnson pushed by Harvick with Burton in his rear-view mirror. For the final 15 laps, Johnson held off the duo to win his fifth race at the two-mile speedway and the 48th of his career. The four-time defending Cup champion led a race-high 101 laps and catapulted 23 spots to 12th in the driver standings with the win.

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, joined Johnson in the top five, crossing the finish line fourth. Martin started 10th and led twice for five laps. With the finish, he moved five spots in the driver standings to sixth.

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, improved his 28th starting position to lead 11 laps during Sunday’s event.  Gordon finished 20th and climbed four spots to 20th in the driver standings.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. lined up next to teammate Gordon for the start of Sunday’s race and steered his No. 88 AMP Energy Juice/National Guard Chevrolet into the top 15. However, during a late-race pit stop, Earnhardt sustained a mechanical issue. His team repaired the Chevrolet, and Earnhardt finished 32nd.  He ranks 16th in the driver standings.

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