Jimmie Johnson Takes Checkered Flag in Fontana

By: Will Graves
By: Will Graves

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.

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