Johnson Matches His Number With 48th Career Win And Fifth At Auto Club Speedway
San Bernardino County, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2010) – “It’s all in the numbers,” according to Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet), winner of Sunday’s Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Johnson was able to hold off a charging Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet) during the final laps to claim his 48th career win, matching the number on the side of his car.
Johnson is no stranger to entering Gatorade Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway. In 15 races at Auto Club Speedway, the El Cajon, Calif. native has won five times. The victory moved Johnson into a tie for 12th on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win list with NASCAR pioneer Herb Thomas.
The biggest break of the day for Johnson came on lap 225 as he entered pit road in 16th position just prior to the race’s final caution flag. But he was able to exit as the leader, gaining 15 places to take back the lead and ultimately win the race. He led 110 of the 250 total laps during the race.
“Today fortune came our way. We hit pit road and the caution came out and gave us track position. We lost the handle in the second half of the race. We were making gains coming back but a lot of other guys were ahead of us and knew it would be tough to pass them. I’m not going to lie, the fact that we were on pit road gave us track position and I drove my butt off.”
Harvick nearly caught Johnson with three laps to go but brushed up against the wall ending his chances at victory.
“I was running the top there, and Jimmie saw me coming and he just moved up. I got tight, just scrubbed the wall, knocked the right front fender, and that was it for me.”
Rounding out the top five were Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet), his seventh top-10 finish at Auto Club Speedway, Mark Martin (No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet) and Joey Logano (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota).
After two races, Harvick holds a slim series points lead over second-place Clint Bowyer (No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet) and third-place Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford).
Kevin Conway (No. 37, Extenze Ford) was the highest finishing rookie on the day with a 31st-place finish.
NASCAR returns back to Auto Club Speedway for the Pepsi 400 as the fourth race in the Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday, October 10, 2010. For more information or to purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223), or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com.