Johnson beats Gordon at Vegas

Jeff Gordon dominated most of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas on Sunday, but it was Jimmie Johnson who came out on top to claim his second win this year

Johnson beats Gordon at Vegas

Gordon looked on course for victory before the final caution came out with 37 laps to go. His crew chief Steve Letarte called for a two-tyre stop, while his Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Johnson went for four.

Clint Bowyer stayed out to lead the field to the green flag, but Gordon immediately moved up front again, with Johnson closing after overtaking both Bowyer and his Richard Childress Racing team-mate Kevin Harvick, who had also taken only two new tyres.

While Gordon tried to use clean air up front to give him the edge, Johnson made the most of his grip advantage to eventually overtake his team-mate with 16 laps remaining. Gordon was unable to keep up with the reigning champion after that, later losing second place to points leader Kevin Harvick.

"It came down to pitstops," said Johnson. "I thought the race was going to come down to pitstops and who got a good restart. It kind of turned out that way, although the four tyres I think helped us more than anything. I got a good start and got around Bowyer. I was behind Jeff, chasing him. I'd been chasing him all day.

"I wasn't sure I'd get by him, I just kept putting a lot of pressure on him, hoping he'd make a mistake, hoping I could get him to overdrive his car and make it tight or do something wrong. Finally I was able to get inside of him and committed to trying the slide job on him in [Turns] 3 and 4, and was able to get by."

Gordon lamented losing a win that looked within reach, but still supported his crew chief's decision to take on two new tyres at their final stop, a move that probably cost him victory.

"We came here to win and I felt like every decision we made today on the track and in the pits was to try to win the race," said Gordon. "When you are leading sometimes that tough call can go against you.

"We were thinking more guys were going to take two tyres. We aren't going to beat ourselves up over this one; we had an awesome, awesome car."

Harvick came back from a poor qualifying run after hitting the wall in the first practice to take back-to-back second places and remain at the top of the standings.

"Once we got track position, our car was really fast," said Harvick. "Those guys got away from us a little bit on the restart, kinda like they did last week. We just needed a complete run. All-in-all, to come from where we started - I got us behind on Friday, got us back in the field on qualifying and we were able to rebound from that."

Mark Martin moved up to fourth place in the closing laps, also moving up to third in the points, while Roush Fenway's Matt Kenseth, who led the race for a while, rounded out the top five after getting back in the right pit sequence at the final stop. He had been forced to make an unscheduled stop earlier due to a suspected loose wheel.

Polesitter Kurt Busch (Penske Dodge) was unable to translate his qualifying speed into the race after getting caught up in an incident between Earnhardt Ganassi team-mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray.

The pair were fighting for ninth spot when McMurray hit Montoya's car in the left rear corner entering Turn 3 on lap 93, sending both against the barrier and out of contention for victory.

Last year's winner Kyle Busch missed out on a top five finish due to a speeding penalty in his final stop, while his Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Joey Logano rounded out another good weekend with a sixth place finish.

Pos Driver Car Laps 1. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 267 2. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 267 3. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 267 4. Mark Martin Chevrolet 267 5. Matt Kenseth Ford 267 6. Joey Logano Toyota 267 7. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 267 8. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 267 9. Kasey Kahne Ford 267 10. Greg Biffle Ford 267 11. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 267 12. Carl Edwards Ford 267 13. David Reutimann Toyota 267 14. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 267 15. Kyle Busch Toyota 267 16. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 267 17. Paul Menard Ford 267 18. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 267 19. Denny Hamlin Toyota 267 20. Martin Truex Jr Toyota 267 21. Regan Smith Chevrolet 267 22. Scott Speed Toyota 266 23. David Ragan Ford 266 24. Travis Kvapil Ford 265 25. A.J. Allmendinger Ford 265 26. Brad Keselowski Dodge 265 27. Elliott Sadler Ford 265 28. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 264 29. Dave Blaney Toyota 264 30. David Gilliland Ford 263 31. Brian Vickers Toyota 262 32. Robby Gordon Toyota 262 33. Max Papis Toyota 262 34. Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 260 35. Kurt Busch Dodge 259 36. Kevin Conway Ford 256 37. Juan Montoya Chevrolet 247 38. Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 216 39. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 135 40. Boris Said Ford 134 41. Joe Nemechek Toyota 65 42. Michael McDowell Toyota 40 43. Aric Almirola Chevrolet 23 
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