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Johnson Cashes In On Ambrose’s Goof At Infineon

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 20 2010

Jimmie Johnson returned to his winning ways on Sunday at Infineon Raceway.


Jimmie Johnson was handed his fourth victory of the season Sunday when Marcos Ambrose shut his car down to save fuel while leading won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway under caution and, briefly, could not get it restarted.

Ambrose, who led 36 laps, got the car re-fired but had dropped to seventh. He moved back to the lead behind the pace car but was moved back to seventh place by NASCAR officials for failure to keep the pace under caution.

Johnson was baffled as to what Ambrose was up to when his car stopped heading up a hill.

“With Marcos, you know, came around through Turn One,” Johnson said. “Normally guys shut the car off downhill coasting to save fuel. I didn’t think at first that he had shut the car off going up the hill. That’s just the last place you would probably do it. So I thought maybe he ran out of fuel or had an electrical problem, you know, something major, because the car just came to a stop. I’m like, Wow.

“So at that point I’m thinking, ‘How does the procedure work?’  I know if you come to a stop, you’re clearly not maintaining a reasonable speed. It will be interesting to see where they put him.

“One respect I felt like if they put him back up in front of me, I could kind of see that as okay, although I’d be raising hell on the radio and cussing like crazy, trying to fight it. It’s not like the car broke. He had it shut off.”

“The way the rule reads, you have to maintain a reasonable speed. Coming to a stop on the racetrack is no speed. So NASCAR followed their rule they have set in place. Once he got going again, I guess they slotted him into that spot.

“All that being said, I feel bad for him and his team owners. His team owners gave me my chance in Nationwide in ’98 maybe it was. So I’m very familiar with the team.”

Ambrose finished sixth.

“My bad,” he said. “I’m just real disappointed. I know the rule. It is what it is.”

The victory was the 51st of the four-time champion’s career but his first ever on a road course.

Johnson, who jumped from fourth to second in points with the victory, gave credit for his first victory on the roads to increased emphasis on that part of his game. He said driving Grand-Am prototypes has helped his progress.

Robby Gordon finished second and point-leader Kevin Harvick was third.

“Great day for us. We did what we needed to do,” Harvick said.

“We knew a road race would be a good opportunity to win,” Gordon said. “We just came up about 10

Polesitter Kasey Kahne was fourth.

Ambrose was left to ponder how close he came to getting his first victory.

“I’m just going to go home and see my wife and kids and give them a hug and go to the next race,” he said.

(This story will be updated shortly)

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 20 2010
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