Johnson Doubles Up At Lowes

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CONCORD, N.C. - Jimmie Johnson powered his way through the field in the Lowe’s Power of Pride Monte Carlo to win the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 Sunday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Johnson, who won The Winston last week, started 42nd-due to an engine change-in today’s event.

Johnson notched his first win of the season after NASCAR called the race for a heavy rain shower on the race's second red flag of the night due to rain.

"Regardless of how things turned out, we were going to have a great night," said Johnson. "To start dead last and march our way to the front, it's just incredible. I'm so proud of these guys, and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. We had an engine problem in qualifying. We fixed it, started last and drove to the front. Great pit stops won the race. I can't express how proud of this whole race team I am. To be able to do this is amazing. I just don't know what is going to happen. You just don't know what your career has in store for you. We've been close to winning all year long. Whatever momentum we needed, we've got it back. I'm very proud of this race team. To do it with two different race cars, I think it says a lot for this race team."

Johnson also became the fifth driver to win both The Winston and Coca-Cola 600 in same month.

Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Jimmy Spencer and polesitter Ryan Newman rounded out the Top 5.

Tonight was the fourth time the 600 has been shortened due to rain, Jeff Gordon, Johnson’s teammate, was the last to reign in the rain in 1997.

Kenseth extended his points lead to 160 over Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with his second place finish.

Earnhardt had a rear brake rotor catch fire on pit road after he hit the wall on lap 223, which ultimately led him to the trailer on lap 241. It was the first DNF for Earnhardt in 36 races.

"We were almost ready to go back out there when they called the race," said Junior. "It's a shame that our streak of finishing every race for a full year had to end because of rain."

Tony Stewart continued his string of bad luck after engine problems struck his Home Depot Pontiac on lap 122. Stewart, who led 68 laps and looked strong in the beginning, now sits 19th in the points standings, after his 40th place finish.

Ricky Rudd, who was running a Memorial Day Air Force paint scheme, went for a wild ride through the mud after the No. 21 Ford ran out of gas, and missed the turn onto pit road. Rudd finished 33rd.

Robby Gordon, who finished 22nd earlier Sunday in the Indianapolis 500, finished 17th in the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. Gordon was shooting to run 1100 miles today, but in the end he ended up running 844, after his Andretti Green machine expired at Indy, and because of the rain in Charlotte.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Series now heads to Dover Int'l Speedway on June 1 for the running of the MBNA Armed Forces Family 400.

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