Johnson Battles Back To Win
June 27, 2010 | 4:07 P.M. EST
Jimmie Johnson battled back from a bad pit stop early on, and then exchanged blows with Kurt Busch in the closing laps of Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to score his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.
Busch bumped Johnson out of the lead on a restart with nine laps to go but it didn't take long for Johnson to return the favor and do the same to Busch seven laps later.
"Kurt knocked me out of the way," Johnson said."At that point, I didn't care if I won or not; I was going to knock him out of the lead.
“I’m not good at doing that stuff. Usually I crash myself in the process. So I tried it once and moved him. The second time I moved him out of the way and got by him.”
Johnson rolled into victory lane for the 52nd time of his Sprint Cup career and tied Denny Hamlin with a season-leading fifth win of 2010.
When the smoke cleared it was Tony Stewart following Johnson across the finish line in second with Busch, Jeff Gordon and series point leader Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five.
“We did what we could to get the lead,” Busch said. “I was just counting the laps and was like, man, there’s not enough laps. The thought was those 10 points for winning would look a lot better stacked in our deck than in his chip count.”
Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., defending race winner Joey Logano and A.J. Allmendinger completed the top ten finishers.
The race was slowed in the early going by a debris caution and then again on lap 240 when Kasey Kahne, who was running strong, blew an engine.
“It was nice to drive, but we just had another mechanical failure,” Kahne said. “We’ve been doing pretty good points-wise, and that hurts us again.”
The third caution flew when Reed Sorenson, making his first of three scheduled starts in the Team Red Bull Racing No. 83 Toyota, tangled with Juan Pablo Montoya as the duo raced through turn three. The contact sent Montoya, who started from the pole and led in the early going, sliding hard into the outside wall and out of the race with a severely damaged No. 42 Target Chevrolet.
The fourth caution flew when Jeff Burton, who looked like he was on his way to a dominating win, spun with Kyle Busch while the pair was battling for position in the top five.
Burton had elected to stay on track when the caution for the Sorenson-Montoya accident flew with twenty laps to go rather than pit for tires, a decision that proved fatal when the race went back to green and the No. 31 Lenox Chevrolet began to slide backwards in the field.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Daytona International Speedway for next Saturday night's Coke Zero 400.