Pep Boys Auto 500

Jay Hart

How the race was won

Carl Edwards
Carl Edwards

Edwards Following a late caution, Edwards restarted in second, right behind Denny Hamlin, with 16 laps to go. In an earlier restart, Edwards noticed Hamlin spinning his tires. So when Edwards got a second chance, he moved up on Hamlin's bumper, tapped him, then bolted to the outside before Hamlin could get away. The move gave the lead to Edwards, who hung on from there for the win.

Stories of the race

Johnson's comeback: Jimmie Johnson got caught speeding on pit road, which forced him to come in for a penalty which dorpped him back to 30th, a lap down. Fortunately for the points leader, it came early enough in the race for him to come back. But did anyone expect Johnson to rally all the way to second?

Where was Greg: Going into the race, Greg Biffle said the Chase was not over because he felt he had a legitimate shot to win all four remaining races. Then Biffle went out Sunday and layed an egg. He was never a factor and struggled just to finish 10th.

Chase watch

Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson


Is it over? Pretty much. For a moment it looked like Johnson would take a hit in the points after getting caught speeding on pit road. But not only did he rally from the penalty, he left Atlanta with a larger points lead (183) than when he arrived. Even if he runs into trouble now and finishes dead last next week at Texas, he'll still have the lead. It'll take two bad finishes to allow Edwards back in contention, and to think Johnson will have two bad races is a long shot, which is why this title race is over.

The race for 13th

Quietly, David Ragan has built an almost insurmountable 224-point lead in the other chase – the one for 13th. Ragan, who finished eighth Sunday, has left Kasey Kahne in the dust with four top 10s in the last five races. Ragan is proving yet again that he'll be a factor in 2009.

Grading the race

What's amazing is NASCAR is actually contemplating adding another 1.5-mile race to the schedule, because these tracks, unarguably, produce the most monotonous racing of the season. Sunday's race at Atlanta was no different, with the only action up front coming when Edwards bolted around Hamlin for the lead. Other than that, it was mostly follow-the-leader racing. Grade: C-

From the source

Carl Edwards: "I'm telling you, as long as we're within 130 points going to Homestead, or whatever, we're still going there to win a championship and it can happen."

Jimmie Johnson: "Man, I felt like I went 12 rounds with Tyson today. That was a long, long race for us."