After last Sunday’s race at Kansas, the points battle in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship has tightened significantly, with just 101 points separating leader Jimmie Johnson from ninth-place Jeff Burton.
Johnson’s second-place finish coupled with Denny Hamlin’s 12th-place run at Kansas allowed Johnson to take an eight-point lead over Hamlin.
The Sprint Cup Series now moves on to the two-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA for the fourth race in the Chase.
Johnson, who hails from nearby El Cajon, CA, has been dominant at his home track, as he leads all drivers with five wins here. The four-time defending series champion has finished no worse than 11th in the previous nine races at California, including victories in the last three fall events. He also won here in February. Johnson’s first Sprint Cup victory came at California during his rookie season in 2002.
“It’s always good to go home,” Johnson said. “There is a certain feeling about it. I won my first [Sprint Cup] race there. My 48th race [win] came there, and there are a lot of cool things about that racetrack for me.”
The top-seven finishers at Kansas were all Chase contenders, with Greg Biffle notching the win. Biffle came to Kansas 140 points behind, but after his victory, he has moved to within 85 points of the lead.
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