By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
Jimmie Johnson took his second straight victory of 2010 Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The winning move for Johnson was a pass on Jeff Gordon with 16 laps to go. The pass was setup by a call from Chad Knaus. Knaus decided to take four tires, while Jeff Gordon and Steve Letarte took two tires on the final pit stop… this gave Johnson just enough of an advantage to do what he has done best over the past four seasons.
Johnson continues his climb to the top of the standings again in his quest for a fifth consecutive Sprint Cup Series championship. This win marks Johnson’s 49th career victory.
“Jeff and I were racing so hard all day. I wasn’t sure if I would get away from him there.” Johnson said in victory lane.
Kevin Harvick quietly continued his great start to the season, by sneaking by Jeff Gordon late to take home a second-place finish.
Jeff Gordon didn’t win, but he was the driver that actually laid a whooping down on the entire field. Gordon, age 38, drove today like he did back in the late 1990’s when he was on top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but just couldn’t seal the deal.
At one point Gordon had lapped so many cars that only nine cars remained on the lead lap.
Gordon easily led the most laps in the race by leading 218 of the 267 laps today. It’s got to be frustrating for Gordon as he would fade to a third place finish down the stretch, but this finish does come at a great time for Gordon, as he was sitting all the way back in the 23rd position in the points standings before this race.
Mark Martin would give Hendrick motorsports their third top-five car of the race with a fourth-place finish.
Matt Kenseth would round out the top-five as he just held off Joey Logano for the fifth position in a photo finish.
Not everyone had a great day including Juan Montoya, who made the chase last season. Montoya has now had two straight races of finishing outside the top-30. Montoya was crashed by his teammate Jamie McMurray on lap 93 which resulted in a 37th-place finish, and Montoya vented in the garage area.
“He (McMurray) runs straight into my (Expletive). He nearly ran me into the fence in (Turn) 2 as well. I don’t know. He’s not doing himself any favors. I’m sure (McMurray) is going to say ‘Oh, I didn’t mean that.’” Montoya said.
So the Earnhardt-Ganassi team that was looking like a well oiled machine after Daytona, and even after California, now has some issues to resolve between their two drivers.