Edwards Wins Race But Johnson Still In Championship Lead
It seems that there is little hope now that anyone will be able to catch Jimmie Johnson in the run for the Sprint Cup Championship. Even though Carl Edwards won Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he’s still so far behind Johnson that is seems doubtful that he’ll ever catch up.
For a while during the race things were looking up for Edwards. Johnson started from pole but ended up 30th on the grid at one point after he was flagged for speeding on the pit road. After some tenacious racing, Jimmie Johnson slowly managed to climb his way back up the grid but as the laps began to wind down he was still stuck outside the Top Ten. It seemed as though he’d never make it past that point, which would have meant a significant drop in points for him and possibly given other contenders for the Sprint Cup a chance. Meanwhile Edwards had been working hard to make his way to first place and to stay there. The Pep Boys Auto 500 victory trophy was clearly in his sights and, knowing that Johnson had suffered such a major setback earlier on in the race, he thought his chances at catching up to Johnson in the Sprint Cup Championship were carved in stone.
The magic started to happen with just 13 laps to go when debris on the track brought out a caution. Crew Chief Chad Knaus made the decision to bring Johnson in for a quick four-tire stop, causing him to restart the race in 11th place. There were just eight laps left and it seemed impossible for Johnson to finish in the top five. But surely enough, Johnson picked his way up the grid, one car at a time, until he finally made it over the finish line in second place. The dramatic finish widened Johnson’s points lead to 183. With just three races left in the championship, it is almost certain now that Johnson will be winning the Sprint Cup Championship for the third time in a row. Edwards has improved his chances in the overall standings with his victory on Sunday helping him to jump forward to second place. The last few racing events in the series will no doubt be real nail-biters.