The Winston: Johnson surges to victory

Jimmie Johnson achieved what he failed to do a year ago on Saturday night, winning The Winston all-star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and with it a cool $1 million

The Winston: Johnson surges to victory

The Hendrick Motorsports driver dominated the event in 2002, winning the first two of three segments before a fan-ordained inversion of the field dropped him out of the running. Johnson encountered no such trouble this year, blasting past tea-mate and mentor Jeff Gordon for the lead four laps into the final 20-lap run and then pulling away for a comfortable victory.

Having been stung by the field inversion once before, Johnson played a waiting game in the second segment of the race, finishing seventh to ensure he would line up in fourth position for the final sprint to the flag.

Runner-up was Kurt Busch, who also won the second segment of the race. However his prize for doing so, aside from the trifling matter of a $50,000 bonus, was to be dropped to 10th on the grid for the final sprint, necessitating an impressive fight back through the field. Bobby Labonte finished third, ahead of Joe Nemechek.

There were several incidents in the race, which took out many of the pre-event favourites. Ryan Newman, who won the race last year, lost control of his Dodge and crashed out of the race's second segment. Tony Stewart spun out Terry Labonte in the closing lap's of the race's second segment, causing a six-car pile-up that also accounted for Dale Earnhardt Jr, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin and pole-sitter Bill Elliott.

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