Johnson Wins at Phoenix, Gets Closer to Sprint Title
Johnson started the Checker O'Reilly 500 on Sunday from pole position but failed to hold on to his first place after the first few corners. Nevertheless, the Hendrick Motorsports driver flirted with the leading position all Sunday afternoon and finally managed to cross the finish line ahead of Kurt Buch and McMurray – whom he battled for the win throughout the 313 laps of the race.
“I had a nice lead on the 2 (Busch's car) and I just wanted the race to finish out without having those restarts there at the end. I knew Kurt was hungry and behind him was McMurray wanting to win an then the 99 (rival Edwards) off course. I knew that I had to be on my toes and get every restart right. As long as something doesn't go crazy for us at Homestead we're going to be able to join Cale. I hope that happens and I can't wait to start celebrating,” said Johnson after the race.
As for title rival and the only guy who can challenge Johnson for the title, Carl Edwards, the Missourian had a rough day after his win in the Nationwide Series on Saturday (starting the Cup race from 15th on the grid) but managed to save the day with a 4th place overall. The position gave him some hope for next weekend's race (slight hopes, we might add) which he necessarily needs to win if he still wants a shot at the Sprint title.
“It's possible, not real probable. But I guarantee that isn't going to change the way we do business. We're going to go to Homestead with everything we've got. We'll go there and be aggressive and try to win the race.”
“Mile-and-a-halves have been our best tracks lately and I just wish we could've run a little better, we ran pretty well but didn't have enough time. We were barely marching forward. My guys did a really good job and congratulations to Jimmie and those guys. They're making this really tough,” admitted Edwards at the end of the race.
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