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Charlotte recap: Johnson finishes third

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 16, 2010) – Jimmie Johnson overcame an early spin during Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway and finished third to hold onto his lead in the championship standings.

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 GoDaddy.com, followed Johnson across the finish line in 14th, while Jeff Gordon took 23rd and Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored 29th.

Johnson opened Saturday’s event from the 10th position and held steady until he spun on Lap 34. Undeterred, the No. 48 team repaired the damage and sent Johnson back to the track. He climbed his way through the field and led 15 laps in the Lowe’s Chevrolet toward the end of the event. Johnson leads the standings by 41 points.

Martin lined up fourth on Saturday and ultimately led nine laps, first taking the lead on Lap 77. While restarts were an issue for the No. 5 team, Martin continued to hold his position inside the top 15. He crossed the finish line 14th.

Gordon scored the pole position – his first of the season – and held that top spot during the opening seven laps of Saturday’s race. He raced inside the top 10 until an ignition issue affected the No. 24 Chevrolet midway through the race. Gordon struggled to regain the lost spots on the 1.5-mile oval. Gordon remains fourth in the driver standings with the 23rd-place finish.

Earnhardt started eighth in his No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet but encountered handling issues as the race progressed. The No. 88 team continually worked on Earnhardt’s Chevy, and he finished the event 29th.

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