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Jimmie Johnson sweeps season races at Dover

MOTOR RACING

The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet wins the second of 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and cuts Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin's points lead.

September 28, 2009|Associated Press

DOVER, DEL. — Jimmie Johnson dominated again in a Chase race, sweeping the season races at Dover International Speedway to accelerate his bid for an unprecedented fourth straight Sprint Cup title.

Johnson cut Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin's points lead Sunday with the victory -- his fourth of the year and 44th overall -- in the second of 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, October 01, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 50 words Type of Material: Correction
NASCAR Sprint Cup: An article in Monday's Sports section on Jimmie Johnson's victory at Dover International Speedway said he earned 10 bonus points for winning. Johnson actually earned 185 points for winning plus 10 bonus points, five for leading a single lap and five more for leading the most laps.

No winner of the second Dover race has ever gone on to win the Cup championship. If any driver can reverse that trend, it's Johnson. Much like in May, Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet was out in front for the majority of the 400-mile race.

"I certainly hope that our performance today scares some people and affects them in a way that benefits us," Johnson said.

Chase drivers took nine of the first 11 spots. Martin followed last week's win at New Hampshire with a second-place finish. Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth and Kurt Busch fifth.

Matt Kenseth was the highest non-Chase driver at third.

Martin holds a 10-point lead over Johnson heading into next week at Kansas Speedway.

"This team is really on a roll right now," Martin said.

In other Chase driver results, Jeff Gordon finished sixth, Kasey Kahne was eighth, Tony Stewart ninth and Ryan Newman 10th. Carl Edwards was 11th, Greg Biffle 13th, Brian Vickers 18th and Denny Hamlin 22nd.

"It's just two races," Martin said. "I still say that there's 12 in and 12 can win. It might be a challenge for a couple of the ones toward the end of the back."

Johnson, who tire-tested in August at Dover, won from the pole. He led 298 laps when he won at Dover in May and added another 271 on the one-mile concrete track Sunday. Johnson won for the fifth time at Dover.

"That's right boys, maximum points! Thank you!" Johnson said over the radio.

Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus also won their 15th Chase race. No one is better down the stretch and it's the main reason why the No. 48 team is going for their record fourth straight title.

"Our team is pretty easily motivated," Knaus said.

Johnson, who won for the first time since July at Indianapolis, crushed Kenseth and the rest of the contenders off the double-file restarts and was never seriously challenged.

He's in great position, but he's still not in first. Even with the 10 bonus points for winning, Martin still holds a slim lead.

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