FONTANA, Calif. (AP) - Jimmie Johnson is back in control of
NASCAR's chase for the championship.
The three-time defending champion easily pulled away from Jeff
Gordon following a restart with three laps remaining to win the
Pepsi 500 on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway.
The win was Johnson's fourth at the 2-mile oval, a place he has
used as a personal launching pad to the title the last two years.
Johnson dominated the second half of the race but had to sweat
out a series of double-file restarts following a number of
late-race collisions, including one that forced the race to be
red-flagged for 22 minutes with six laps remaining.
Juan Pablo Montoya was third, his fourth straight top-5 finish.
Mark Martin, who started the day with an 18-point lead over
Johnson, finished fourth and now trails Johnson by 12 points
heading into Saturday night's race at Charlotte.