Jimmie Johnson Storms to Close Finish at Talladega
At the end of Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway you could have thrown a big blanket over the top six cars at the finish line. Jimmie Johnson's charge to pass Clint Bowyer at the finish line tied the record for closest margin of victory at 0.002 seconds.
I can say with confidence that was the most competitive race ever at Talladega. Using the two car strategy tested at Daytona in February, two car tandems was the order of the day. By the end of the race there had been 88 changes for the lead, also tying the record set at last years April race at the Dega.
On the last lap, Jimmie Johnson was running in seventh place with his race-long partner Dale Earnhardt Jr. close behind. At that point any one of a dozen cars could have surged to victory.
When the white flag fell the leaders were Jeff Gordon being pushed by team-mate Mark Martin. Following them were Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle. In the fifth and sixth spots were Clint Boyer and Kevin Harvick.
By the time they reached turn one Bowyer/Harvick had passed the Edwards/Biffle tandem with Johnson/Earnhardt tucked in behind. On the backstretch Boyer took Harvick up the track and Gordon/Martin went low. Sitting in fifth, Johnson looked for the best duo to pair with ad Bowyer gathered momentum and edged pass Gordon.
At turn three Johnson tried to get beneath Martin and execute the path but at that point lacked the momentum to make it happen.
As the leaders enter the corner, Johnson tried to duck the nose of his car to the low side of Martin but there's no room down low. At the midpoint of the corner, Johnson sees a possible opening in between the two pairs, but Gordon won't allow that to happen, forcing Johnson to follow the RCR duo instead.Continued on the next page