Going Back to Cali Leads to No. 48 for the 48

Montoya Struggles at Auto Club

Miami’s Montoya was running 15th on Lap 140 when the engine in his No. 42 Chevrolet blew up along the frontstretch, relegating him to a 37th-place finish (photo courtesy: Jeff Gross, Getty Images Sport)

Jimmie Johnson—who was crowned with his fourth Sprint Cup Series Championship last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway—rebounded from a forgettable season-opening outing at Daytona to tally his fifth-career victory at Fontana and the 48th of his Cup career. Last fall, Johnson surpassed Cale Yarborough to become the only driver ever to win four consecutive Sprint Cup Championships, and his Drive for 5 is officially in gear, as NASCAR will again crown Champions this fall at Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend (Nov. 19-21).

Johnson got a huge break on his last pit stop at Auto Club Speedway—the California native’s “home track”—as he hit pit road only seconds before the caution flag came out and then held off a hard-charging Kevin Harvick in the closing laps. With the No. 29 car trying to get around him with three laps to go, Johnson moved to block; Harvick scrapped the outside wall and lost his momentum, allowing Johnson to pick up his 48th career victory, and fifth at his home track.

"Fortune came our way," Johnson said. "I'm not going to lie: The fact that we were on pit row gave us track position, and I drove my butt off."

After notching his fourth title last fall at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Johnson started this season by finishing 35th at the Daytona 500. With his victory in Race 2 of the 2010 NASCAR season, Johnson has captured four of the last six races at Auto Club Speedway.

South Florida resident Juan Pablo Montoya entered the race at California looking to capture his first superspeedway victory. The No. 42, however, was sidelined with a blown engine after being the class of the field in the early going.

” It kind of sucks when that happens, but it made the race a little more interesting and everyone on this Target keeps doing an amazing job,” said Montoya. “We've got good race cars. Things like that will happen; it's racing."

Montoya started on the front row beside pole-sitter and Earnhardt Ganassi-teammate Jamie McMurray and grabbed the lead by the end of the first lap. He stayed there until Johnson went under him on the 30th lap.

Miami’s Montoya was running 15th on Lap 140 when the engine on his No. 42 Chevrolet blew up along the frontstretch, relegating him to a 37th-place finish. Montoya’s engine woes came as a setback after a strong 10th-place effort at Daytona.

"Well, put it the other way around: I could have wrecked in Daytona and finished 10th here. It is what it is; it's racing."

Harvick, his Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Joey Logano rounded out the top five. Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle completed the first ten finishers.

Four-time reigning Champion Johnson and the rest of the Sprint Cup field will resume the pursuit for fall glory in Miami in Race 3 on Feb. 28 (3 p.m. EST, FOX TV) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

All three of NASCAR’s premier racing series—the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series—again will crown Champions during Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19-21). For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call toll free (866) 409-RACE.


Doing It Again in 2010/Kids FREE: Homestead-Miami Speedway is the only venue ever to host all of North America’s premier motorsports Championships, and it’s more of the same this fall as THE Championship Track is the site for both the IZOD IndyCar (Oct. 1-2) Championship and NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend (Nov. 19-21), as well as the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series “Grand Prix of Miami” March 6. Kids 12 & under are FREE to six of the seven races. For tickets, call (866) 409-RACE or visit THEChampionshipTrack.com.


MotorRacingNetwork.com contributed to this report.

Montoya's Day at Auto Club

Montoya at Auto Club

“It kind of sucks when that happens, but it made the race a little more interesting and everyone on this Target keeps doing an amazing job. We've got good race cars. Things like that will happen; it's racing."

--South Florida-resident Juan Pablo Montoya

South Florida resident Juan Pablo Montoya entered the race at California looking to capture his first superspeedway victory. The No. 42, however, was sidelined with a blown engine after being the class of the field in the early going. Montoya started on the front row beside pole-sitter and Earnhardt Ganassi-teammate Jamie McMurray and grabbed the lead by the end of the first lap. He stayed there until Johnson went under him on the 30th lap.

Miami’s Montoya was running 15th on Lap 140 when the engine on his No. 42 Chevrolet blew up along the frontstretch, relegating him to a 37th-place finish. Montoya’s engine woes came as a setback after a strong 10th-place effort at Daytona.

"Well, put it the other way around: I could have wrecked in Daytona and finished 10th here. It is what it is; it's racing."

Four-time reigning Champion Jimmie Johnson, Montoya and the rest of the Sprint Cup field will resume the pursuit for fall glory in Miami in Race 3 next Sunday, Feb. 28 (3 p.m. EST, FOX TV), at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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