Johnson wins in Arizona, closes in on NASCAR title
Jimmie Johnson bounced back from a poor finish in Texas last week to win the NASCAR race in Arizona on Sunday and move within sight of his third successive title.
Johnson only needs to finish 36th or better in the final race of the season next week in Miami to clinch the title and join Carl Yarborough (1976-78) as the only drivers to win three successive championships.
In a race slowed by two red flags and 10 cautions, Johnson took advantage from pole to lead for 217 of the 313 laps of the race and beat Kyle Busch to the finish. Jamie McMurray was third.
The victory, after a disappointing 15th last week in Texas, stretched Johnson’s lead to 141 points in the standings.
Carl Edwards, who had won the two previous races and had hopes of narrowing the gap finished fourth on Sunday.
“I can’t tell you how last week’s been. I worked my life for this,” Johnson told reporters of his thoughts of last week’s performance.
Johnson said the restarts had caused him some concerns.
“I didn’t want to do anything stupid, Kurt was hungry (for a win),” he added.
Busch, a former NASCAR champion, said he was pleased with the second-place finish.
“It’s really a privilege to finish second to them today, we feel like we’re building momentum.
“It’s something special to watch Jimmie. “
A dejected Edwards all but conceded the championship.
“Jimmie’s doing his thing, we’ll keep our heads high,” Edwards said.
“A championship is possible, it’s just not probable.”
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