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Jimmie Johnson Wins the Pepsi 500 in Fontana, Overtakes Martin as NASCAR Chase Leader

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Jimmie Johnson was once again the class of the field at Fontana on Sunday.

Despite seven yellow-flag cautions and a huge red-flag wreck that parked the field with only 5 laps to go, Jimmie Johnson and his 48 team prevailed on restart after restart to win the 2009 Pepsi 500 and move into the lead in NASCAR's Chase standings. Having become the first NASCAR driver to win four Cup races at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Johnson and the rest of the Lowe's 48 team are now gunning for what would be a record fourth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

You can't help but admire the way Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and the entire 48 team almost telepathically work out problems over the course of a season, the Chase and the end of every race. Juan Pablo Montoya in the Target 42 Chevy had a fast car and great pit stops. Denny Hamlin's FedEx 11 had the pole. Points leader Mark Martin's Number 5 ran in the Top 5 all day long. But even though Johnson's team had a few "gremlins" in the first two pit stops, they eventually got it right. On every restart, Johnson's 48 took less and less time to take the lead and it felt like "Good night, Fontana" every time the 48 car pulled into clean air.