NASCAR: Round 2 – Auto Club 500, Fontana – 21 February

Jimmie Johnson steered the 48 car to the 48th win of his career at Fontana in the second race of the 2010 Sprint Cup.

Johnson had to hold off Kevin Harvick, and both stumbled during the race making a victory for either of them look unlikely. Harvick was hit by a speeding penalty mid-race that dropped him to the back of the lead lap, while Johnson had been struggling in the second half of the race with poor handling.

Johnson was in the pits with 25 to go when Brad Kieslowski spun at the exit of turn four after contact with David Reutimann brought out the sixth and final caution of the race; Johnson was able to emerge from the pit ahead of the safety car and as the rest of the field came in for their final stops, he was left with the lead. Harvick had fought his way back to the front by this time and pressured Johnson hard, until he brushed the wall exiting turn four with a couple of laps to go while in hot pursuit of the reigning champion.

Harvick kept second place ahead of his Richard Childress Racing Chevy team mate Jeff Burton, who lost out to Johnson and Harvick in that last fateful round of pit stops. Burton had also been hit by a pit lane speed penalty at the same time as Harvick, but had recovered even quicker to head the race until then.

Juan Montoya, who had led the race for the first 30 laps after polesitter Jamie McMurray faded from the start and failed to lead a single lap all afternoon, was another to suffer a speeding penalty, but his race was more terminally affected by engine failure on lap 94 while running in the top 15, his first retirement in over a year. Ryan Newman retired a few laps later with similar engine-related issues.

The race ran full length despite the threat of rain that brought out a yellow on lap 194. But a bigger concern for NASCAR was the far-from-full grandstands, with the 92,000-capacity stadium looking barely half full and possibly signalling an end to NASCAR’s twice-yearly visits to California.

Race result

Pos  Driver                Car         Laps
 1.  Jimmie Johnson        Chevrolet    250
 2.  Kevin Harvick         Chevrolet    250
 3.  Jeff Burton           Chevrolet    250
 4.  Mark Martin           Chevrolet    250
 5.  Joey Logano           Toyota       250
 6.  Kurt Busch            Dodge        250
 7.  Matt Kenseth          Ford         250
 8.  Clint Bowyer          Chevrolet    250
 9.  Tony Stewart          Chevrolet    250
10.  Greg Biffle           Ford         250
11.  Scott Speed           Toyota       250
12.  Brian Vickers         Toyota       250
13.  Carl Edwards          Ford         250
14.  Kyle Busch            Toyota       250
15.  David Reutimann       Toyota       250
16.  Sam Hornish Jr        Dodge        250
17.  Jamie McMurray        Chevrolet    250
18.  Paul Menard           Ford         250
19.  Regan Smith           Chevrolet    250
20.  Jeff Gordon           Chevrolet    250
21.  Brad Keselowski       Dodge        250
22.  Mike Bliss            Chevrolet    250
23.  David Ragan           Ford         250
24.  Elliott Sadler        Ford         250
25.  A.J. Allmendinger     Ford         250
26.  David Gilliland       Ford         250
27.  Bobby Labonte         Chevrolet    250
28.  Max Papis             Toyota       250
29.  Denny Hamlin          Toyota       248
30.  Travis Kvapil         Ford         248
31.  Kevin Conway          Ford         247
32.  Dale Earnhardt Jr     Chevrolet    238
33.  Robby Gordon          Toyota       230
34.  Kasey Kahne           Ford         221
35.  Marcos Ambrose        Toyota       170
36.  Ryan Newman           Chevrolet    148
37.  Juan Montoya          Chevrolet    140
38.  Boris Said            Ford          67
39.  Martin Truex Jr       Toyota        64
40.  Joe Nemechek          Toyota        48
41.  Dave Blaney           Toyota        43
42.  Michael McDowell      Toyota        40
43.  Aric Almirola         Chevrolet     34

Sprint Cup standings

Pos Driver               Points
1   Kevin Harvick           331
2   Clint Bowyer            312
3   Greg Biffle             304
4   Jamie McMurray          302
5   Jeff Burton             300
6   Mark Martin             297 
7   Matt Kenseth            288
8   David Reutimann         273
9   Joey Logano             263 
10  Carl Edwards            262
11  Kurt Busch              254
12  Jimmie Johnson          253
===== RACE FOR THE CHASE ======
13  Kyle Busch              252
14  Brian Vickers           250
15  Scott Speed             246
16  Dale Earnhardt Jr.      242
17  Tony Stewart            235
18  Paul Menard             233
19  David Ragan             214
20  Martin Truex Jr.        201
21  Denny Hamlin            198
22  Jeff Gordon             198
23  Juan Pablo Montoya      196
24  Elliott Sadler          187
25  Bobby Labonte           182
26  Sam Hornish Jr.         167
27  A.J. Allmendinger       160
28  Brad Keselowski         155
29  Travis Kvapil           154
30  Regan Smith             152
31  Robby Gordon            148
32  Boris Said              142
33  Kasey Kahne             139
34  Mike Bliss              134
35  Massimiliano Papis      122
36  Ryan Newman             116
37  Michael Waltrip         109
38  Michael McDowell        101
39  Marcos Ambrose           98
40  David Gilliland          85
41  Bill Elliott             82
42  Joe Nemechek             77
43  Robert Richardson Jr.    70
43  Kevin Conway             70
45  John Andretti            49
46  Dave Blaney              45 
47  Aric Almirola            34

[Detailed race reports not possible now there’s only highlight clips available in the UK.]

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  1. Bob

    Looks like Jimmie Johnson is back. Luck was on his side with that pit stop, but he ran a good race and had a strong enough car to hold off Harvick at the end.




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