Jimmie Johnson wins Arizona Sprint race

Nov. 15, 2009 at 8:52 PM
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AVONDALE, Ariz., Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Jimmie Johnson led 238 of 312 laps and won Sunday's Sprint Cup Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz.

With his Cup-leading seventh win this season, the reigning three-time points champion padded his lead over Mark Martin to 108 points in the next-to-last Series race in 2009.

If Johnson places 25th or better next week at the season-ending Ford 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, he will win the title, regardless of Martin's finish.

"At the start of the race, we were a little loose but still running second or third," said Johnson, who was season-worst 38th at last Sunday's Dickies 500 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Martin and pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. completed the Top-5 finishers Sunday.

Jeff Gordon finished ninth, falling 169 points behind the leader, and will be eliminated from title contention when Johnson starts at Homestead.

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