Johnson Jumps To Chase Lead

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Talk about teamwork.

Jimmie Johnson and the Lowe's Team used information from teammate Kyle Busch's test at Dover International Speedway and great pit work on Sunday to win the MBNA Racepoints 400 and take over the championship points lead.

Johnson also had to hold off a hard charging Busch on a green-white-checkered finish en route to his 17th career win.

"We needed that so bad," said Johnson, who now has three wins at Dover in eight starts. "Kyle (Busch), especially, he and Alan (Gustafson) have been a huge help for the 48 team. On the restart I was a little bit loose with him right on my bumper and I'm glad it was only two laps because he was coming."

Busch's second-place finish marks his second consecutive at Dover and eighth top five of the season.

"I was trying to race him as hard as I could. It didn't matter to me," said Busch. "I'll give him the win now he thanked Alan and myself for letting him use our setup."

Rusty Wallace, who battled Busch in the top 10 most of the day, finished third in his final race at Dover to move up two positions in the standings to second – seven points behind Johnson.

Mark Martin also made a big gain (three positions) in the standings to fourth (-21) after finishing fourth to add to finishes of first, second and third, respectively, in the previous three races at Dover. Martin and the team tried a two-tire call on the final round of pit stops.

"My team tried to win the race and it maybe cost us 10 points, but that's not going to be the difference," said Martin. "We can still win races and this championship, and this was a good day for us."

Polesitter Ryan Newman rounded out the top five. He remains third in the standings - five points behind his teammate Wallace.

Elliott Sadler finished sixth after the M&M's team called for only right-side tires halfway through the race. The call gave him the lead for 26 laps.

"I tell you what, we had some great pit calls today," said Sadler. "I'm very proud of Kevin (Buskirk - interim crew chief). He had a lot of load on his shoulders this weekend and him and Raymond (Fox) pulled together, along with the rest of the guys, and had a great, great day."

Jeremy Mayfield, who also followed Sadler with the same strategy, finished seventh and moved into the seventh slot in the standings - 81 points behind Johnson.

Kyle Petty equaled his best finish of the season with an eighth-place run. Carl Edwards, who is now eighth in the "Chase" and Casey Mears completed the top-10 finishers.

Tony Stewart (18th) and Greg Biffle (13th) each fell four positions in the standings with their respective finishes. Stewart battled an ill-handling race car and fell two laps down, while Biffle, who led two times for 14 laps, had to make a green flag pit stop for right side tires while running in the second position.

Defending champion Kurt Busch appeared to turn around his luck in this year's "Chase" as he led the most laps (192) and ran in the top 10 up until lap 367 when he made a green flag pit stop. One lap later his teammate and another "Chase" contender Matt Kenseth brought out the ninth of 11 cautions on the day when his No. 17 hit the wall in Turn 1 after losing a right-front tire. The damage put Kenseth behind the wall (finished 35th) and Busch on the tail end of the lead lap. On lap 378 Busch then had to come back on pit road for a flat tire where he was also served with a speeding penalty. In the end, Busch finished 23rd, three laps down, and now sits 170 points behind Johnson in the standings.

"We just didn't finish what we ran today, bottom line," said a disappointed Busch.

Kenseth fell to ninth in the standings.

"Eight races is a lot of racing to do," said Kenseth, who is 124 points out of the lead. "We ran good today. I'm happy about that and if it's meant to be it's meant to be."

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series now travels to Talladega Superspeedway for next Sunday's UAW-Ford 500.

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