A week after a penalty for jumping the final restart at Dover knocked Jimmie Johnson out of a near-certain victory, the 37 year-old returned to win Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Party in the Poconos 400, beating Greg Biffle to the finish line by 1.208 seconds.
The win, which was Johnson’s third of the season, increased his series lead over second-place Carl Edwards (18th on Sunday) to a staggering 51 points after 14 races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the race in third, followed by Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman. Kyle and Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano completed the top ten.
"What a race car!" Johnson said after climbing from the No. 48 Chevrolet in Victory Lane.
"Not only a great race car but an engine. We had fuel mileage and plenty of power. It was awesome on the straightaways today to be able to do what I wanted around other cars. So hats off to chassis, aero and the engine shop for this awesome race car."
But despite winning at Pocono for the first time since he swept both races here in 2004, Johnson was still left grumbling about last week’s penalty.
"It doesn’t make up for much, but we know we’re a great race team. Things won’t keep us down. We had a great race car today and had a lot of fun. That was a lot of fun out there."
"Jimmie was in a league of his own," said Biffle, who took the green flag from the fourth position on the final restart with four laps left and surged past Earnhardt and Kyle Busch in the first corner.
"I was going to have to get up beside him, take the air off him, something to try and gain an advantage.
"But I gave him such a good push on the restart I couldn’t catch back up with him... I couldn’t get him."
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