Johnson Takes First Non-Oval Race, Courtesy of Ambrose

Reigning champion Jimmie Johnson's irritation of not winning a single non-oval race ended on Sunday, after he managed to take the win at Infineon Raceway. His win, however, is a bit bizarre, as it came after leader Marcos Ambrose failed to keep up with the pace car.

It all began to go down during the seventh caution on Lap 103. Brad Keselowski spun and stalled in Turn 7, causing the caution and prompting Ambrose into some type of a fuel-saving mode. His driving techniques (shutting down the engine from time to time and let it coast behind the pace car) caused the No. 47 Toyota to lose power and slow down to a point where the engine stalled.

Ambrose's efforts to restart the engine were in vain for enough time for him to lose the lead. By the time the car restarted, Ambrose had been passed by no less than six cars, including Johnson's. Restarting seventh with five laps to go, Ambrose managed to finish the race sixth.

"I was leading the race and had trouble getting the motor cranked back up a little bit there, and NASCAR made the call," Ambrose was quoted as saying by NASCAR after the race. "I was trying to save fuel, and the motor shut off. It didn't recrank the way it should. I didn't stop rolling, but it is what it is."

Crossing the finish line 3.105 seconds ahead of Robby Gordon, Johnson was extremely happy to have clinched his first road course win. Having lost the lead to Ambrose on lap 79, during his last stop for fuel, Johnson was nothing but pleased to see Ambrose shutting down the car while going uphill.

"I didn't think at first that he had shut the car off going up the hill. That's just the last place you would probably do it," said Johnson. "So I thought maybe he ran out of fuel or had an electrical problem, you know, something major, because the car just came to a stop. I'm like, wow!"

"I just didn't really think that he would be the one to make a mistake. I was going to push and do what I could. To see the mistake happen as it did was totally off the wall. I don't know if I've ever seen that eliminate a guy from winning a race."

The Toyota/Save Mart 350 ended with Johnson in front, followed by Robby Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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