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Dover recap: Johnson conquers Monster Mile

DOVER, Del. (Sept. 26, 2010) – Jimmie Johnson knows his way around Dover International Speedway, and the four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion made his sixth trip to Victory Lane at the concrete oval on Sunday. With the win, Johnson improves four spots in the driver standings to second. He ranks just 35 points behind leader Denny Hamlin in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, opened Sunday’s Cup event from the pole position—the third of his career at Dover—and took the lead by Lap 172. Johnson led five times for a race-high 191 laps.

“I just can’t thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports enough for working as hard as they do,” Johnson said. “It just never quits. It never stops. And I’m so thankful for the engine shop, the chassis shop and all the great guys who work on this Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools car and all the great people at Lowe’s and KOBALT Tools for their support; the fans and everything. There’s this huge weight off my shoulders that we were able to win a race in the Chase, rebound from last weekend. We’re in the middle of this thing, and I’m really, really excited.”

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont/Law Enforcement Museum Chevrolet, began Sunday’s 400-mile affair from the 15th starting spot and worked his way into the top 10 by Lap 60. Gordon overcame a late-race pit miscue to hold on and finish 11th.  But despite his competitive run, Gordon slipped four spots to eighth in the Chase.

“You can’t give up those positions, especially when you come to a place like this where most of the Chase guys are going to be up front,” Gordon said. “The first half of the race went pretty good. The second half, when the rubber laid down, man we just really struggled. It was everything I could do to just hang on to it, let alone finish 11th. So things didn’t go our way there at the end. We lost some extra positions and just held on for 11th. That’s all we can do.”

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Delphi/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, started Sunday’s race from 42nd and climbed his way into the top 15 by Lap 200. Martin finished 12th.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, started 32nd and worked through handling issues in Sunday’s 400-lap event to finish 23rd.

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