May 19, 2011

A spectacular finish unfolded on September 28 at Kansas Speedway as Carl Edwards made a last lap banzai move in turn four only to make contact with the wall, allowing Jimmie Johnson to garner his fifth win of the season by .280-second.


Johnson inherited the pole from Juan Pablo Montoya after the post qualifying inspection showed too much pressure in the rear shocks, which sent Montoya to the back of the pack. 


Green flag racing dominated the first 74 laps until Ryan Newman would get loose and slide into the wall bringing out the first caution of the day. The challenges continued as a tire from A J Allmendinger’s car rolled into the tri-oval grass and Matt Kenseth’s car would have a loose lugnut, which forced him to come back  to pit road. 


Casey Mears led the field to green on lap 80, but another caution came out on lap 95 when Kyle Petty spun into the infield grass after getting low on the track. Just a few laps later, Joey Logano would hit the wall and force another caution for debris on the track. As the leaders headed to pit road, Tony Stewart would find himself with a pit road speeding penalty relegating him to the back of the field. 


Kenseth would bring out the caution on lap 122 when Mears’ bumper met Kenseth’s bumper causing Kenseth to spin. After action resumed on lap 125, Tony Stewart spun through the infield grass on lap 130 as he tried to pass Brian Vickers.


Once the green flag flew again, Johnson dominated the next 43 laps while Edwards battled his way back to the front. After green flag pit stops, Edwards would find himself nearly 1.5-seconds ahead of Martin Truex Jr., Greg Biffle and Johnson.


Travis Kvapil brought out the next caution on lap 218 after he made contact with the wall. Unfortunately, not long after the green flag flew again, another caution flew when Michael Waltrip spun coming out of turn four. After the race resumed on lap 223, it seemed the cautions would stop but it wasn’t meant to be. Waltrip blew a tire with 12 laps to go, but NASCAR made the decision to keep the field green.


As the final laps clicked away a two man shoot-out would materialize between Edwards and Johnson. As Edwards made one final attempt to pass Johnson to get the win on his home track, he would brush up against the wall in turn four slowing him enough to allow Johnson to take the checkered flag.


“I wanted to win this race more than any other on the schedule,” said Edwards. “But now I know it doesn’t work quite the same as video games, but it was fun.”


Johnson and Edwards swapped spots in the point standings with Johnson taking the lead by 10 points. Over the next seven races, Johnson would continue to increase his lead in the point standings on his way to his third consecutive Cup championship.