From the Marbles

Jimmie Johnson dominates for win at Pocono

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

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Five-time is now a three-time 2013 winner. (Getty)

Sometimes you get a race that's so thoroughly controlled by one car that no matter what happens, it seems inevitable that car will take the checkered flag.

Sunday at Pocono was one of those days. Jimmie Johnson, the five-time champion and Sprint Cup Series points leader, led 128 of the race's 160 laps en route to his third win of the season.

And, unlike the previous week at Dover, when a late-race restart cost Johnson a victory with a dominating car, this week, this race's cluster of late lap restarts was not going to deny Johnson the win.

Just how good was Johnson's car? Well, these words were the first words he said after emerging from his car in victory lane. Mind you, this is a guy who just won his 63rd Sprint Cup race; and did we mention he was a five-time Sprint Cup Series champion?

"That's the best car I've had in a long, long, long, long, long, long time," Johnson said. "Not only a good race car but a good engine. Had fuel mileage and plenty of power. It was awesome on the straightaways today to be able to do what I wanted around other cars.

The fuel mileage aspect came in handy because until that spate of caution flags, the race seemed destined to become a fuel mileage race. That's a strategy that's bitten Johnson and team before, and looked to be the only possibility of derailing the No. 48 on it's train tracks directly towards the checkered flag.

The power aspect came in after those caution flags fell. Four of the race's six cautions came in the final 30 laps, and for each of those restarts, Johnson was in the lead. Every single time he was clear of the field through turn one.

Greg Biffle finished second and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third. Dover winner Tony Stewart was fourth and his teammate, Ryan Newman, was fifth. Newman, thanks to an off-sequence pit-stop strategy, was the only driver outside of Johnson to lead the race outside of green flag pit stop cycles since Johnson took the lead on lap 9 from Carl Edwards. Johnson started first by rule because Friday's qualifying session was washed out.

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