By Doug Halberstadt
Jimmie Johnson, the reigning four-time consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and his crew chief, former Rockford resident Chad Knaus, won their second straight race of the 2010 season last Sunday (Feb. 28) in Las Vegas. Once again, the Sprint Cup “Dynamic Duo” proved why they are the most dominant team in stock car racing.
With 34 laps remaining in the race, Knaus made the decision to change all four tires on Johnson’s Lowe’s Chevrolet during their final pit stop of the day. Knaus’decision proved to be the difference in the race.
The most dominant car of the day belonged to Jeff Gordon. He led 218 of the 267-lap race. When Kevin Conway’s spin brought out the final caution, Gordon’s crew chief, Steve Letarte, decided to change just two tires to get Gordon back on track ahead of his competition.
When the race went back to green, Johnson was in the fourth position behind Gordon. Seventeen laps later, Johnson caught up to Gordon and was able to make the pass to shoot him into the lead. He held on for the remainder of the race, and took his second consecutive checkered flag.
Gordon would end up in third behind Kevin Harvick. Harvick, who finished second to Johnson for the second consecutive week, said his Richard Childress Racing team has nothing to prove to Johnson. “We can run with them and they know it,” he said.
The series moves to Atlanta this week for the Kobalt Tools 500. Ironically, Kobalt Tools is one of Johnson’s other major sponsors. Will Knaus and Johnson have what it takes to make it three in a row? The race is this Sunday (March 7) at noon on Fox Channel 39.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Mar. 3-9, 2010 issue