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Results
Poconos 400
At Pocono Raceway
Top 5 finishers
1. J. Johnson…Chevrolet
2. Greg Biffle…Ford
3. D. Earnhardt Jr.…Chevy
4. Tony Stewart…Chevrolet
5. R. Newman…Chevrolet
Top 5 points
1. Jimmie Johnson…521
2. Carl Edwards…–51
3. Clint Bowyer…–69
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.…–82
5. Kevin Harvick…–87
Associated Press
Jimmie Johnson celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Poconos 400 Sprint Cup race Sunday.

Johnson dominates to win at Pocono

– Jimmie Johnson walked into the media center holding his daughter’s hand, his pregnant wife right behind them. Their second child is due in September, right around the time of the final race before the Chase field is set.

With an automatic berth in NASCAR’s playoffs secured, Johnson has permission to skip the race for the big birth.

“If Chani goes into labor early, I don’t have to worry about Richmond,” Johnson said.

A week after a late penalty denied his chance at a win, Johnson absolutely dominated Sunday at Pocono Raceway, leading 128 of 160 laps for his third victory of the season.

“Jimmie’s switched on right now,” crew chief Chad Knaus said. “He’s as good or better as I’ve ever seen him.”

High praise for the five-time champion.

Even during his championship run, Johnson rarely cruised like he did on the 2 1/2 -mile triangle track. The Sprint Cup points leader, Johnson pulled away on both of the last two restarts over the final 10 laps to pull into Victory Lane at Pocono for the first time since he swept both races in 2004.

Johnson was never seriously challenged a week after his run at a possible win at Dover International Speedway was taken away by a penalty for jumping leader Juan Pablo Montoya off the restart with 19 laps left to finish 17th.

It was a rare misstep for Johnson, but he rebounded just fine at Pocono.

“It would have been very easy to come in here with a chip on your shoulder or a grudge,” Knaus said. “Jimmie is not that kind of guy.”

After only one caution in the first 125 laps, they came in bunches over the last 35. Johnson held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. with nine laps left and pulled away one more time with four to go.

“He’s one of the best drivers this sport has ever seen,” Earnhardt said. “Chad Knaus is probably one of the smartest crew chiefs the sport has ever seen.”

Johnson also won the Daytona 500 and at Martinsville Speedway this season. His 63rd career Cup victory helped stretch his points lead to 51 over Carl Edwards.

Johnson won from the pole after rain washed out qualifying Friday.

Odds are, Johnson won’t really skip a race, especially with the due date in mid-September. But if he has that top seed locked up and is needed in a pinch, he’ll put family first.

“That’s what I’m working so hard for,” Johnson said.

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