Johnson wins Chase race at Dover

DOVER, Del. (AP) - September 26, 2010

Johnson has owned Dover the last two years, winning for the third time in four races on the mile concrete track. He shook off a rare poor finish in last week's Chase opener at New Hampshire to take the pole, win the race and shoot up to second in the points standings.

Jeff Burton was second and non-Chase driver Joey Logano was third. Chase drivers Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards were fourth and fifth.

Johnson's drive for a fifth straight championship is alive and well.

"They're good," Burton said. "Well, they're not good, they're great."

Danny Hamlin kept his points lead with a ninth-place finish. He holds a 35-point advantage over Johnson heading into next week's race at Kansas Speedway. The points leader after Dover has never gone on to win the championship.

"We're going to take it, it was a good day for us, but legitimately we had a second-place car," Hamlin said.

Dover lacked the drama of last week's opener when Tony Stewart lost a big gamble and ran out of fuel right before the white flag lap, allowing Clint Bowyer to zip past for the win. Bowyer's celebration was short lived after he flunked a follow-up inspection last week and was docked 150 points. His rough stretch continued with a 25th-place finish and - unless he can win Wednesday's appeal - his championship hopes are all but dashed.

Chase drivers were scattered throughout the results. Kyle Busch was sixth, Jeff Gordon was 11th, and Kevin Harvick 15th. Matt Kenseth battled a cut tire to finish 18th and Greg Biffle was 19th. Stewart was 21st.

Johnson finished 25th last Sunday at New Hampshire. It was the worst showing for any driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship and dumped him from second to seventh in points.

This time, Johnson led a race-high 191 laps and was greeted by smiling owner Rick Hendrick in Victory Lane.

"Last week didn't turn out like we wanted," Johnson said. "I don't look all that excited right now but there's a huge weight off my shoulders that we were able to come and win a race in the Chase, rebound from last weekend and we're in the middle of this thing and we're really, really excited."

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