Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500

Jay Hart
Yahoo! Sports

How the race was won

Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson

Johnson The outcome was never really in doubt as Johnson arrived in Phoenix with a mission, which he executed to perfection. He started from the pole, got out front early, led the most laps and easily won his seventh race of the season. We've said it before in this space and we'll say it again: Johnson won when he showed up.

Stories of the race

Mother Nature: Wind, rain and a decent dust storm kicked up on Sunday, forcing an unusual stoppage in Phoenix. Track conditions changed constantly, though hardly to the detriment of Johnson.

Gordon blows up: In what was most likely his last best chance at a victory in 2008, Jeff Gordon suffered engine trouble that ultimately put his car behind the wall. It's been a tough go for the four-time champion, who, despite watching his teammate cruise to victory lane with ease, remains a professional's professional.

Chase watch

Carl Edwards
Carl Edwards

Edwards Carl Edwards is pretty much resolved now to finishing second in the standings for the second time in his career. Edwards has done just about everything he could to stay in the hunt – save that one lapse in judgement at Talladega – but Johnson has proven to be too good.

What were they thinking

It's a sad commentary on NASCAR when ABC preempts what is essentially a playoff game for "America's Funniest Home Videos," which is what viewers in the Eastern and Central Time Zones saw happen. Yes indeed, NASCAR still has a long way to go in its effort to be grouped among the big boys over at the NFL, MLB and NBA.

Grading the race

The racing up front was devoid of any real action, mostly because Johnson was so good. Not only has he sapped the Chase of any drama, he's doing it within races, as well. He and his team are good. We know that. Now it's up to the rest of the field to catch up and make Sundays feel a little less scripted. Grade: B-

From the source

Jimmie Johnson: "The thing I love most about this team is it might take a while but we're going to take a deep breath, and look at things to get it dialed in and we certainly did that last night. I wore Chad (Knaus) out last night calling him up and asking him questions. His laptop was burning. I mean these guys were working for every little thing they could find to make this car drive better today. And we made it a dominant car."

Kurt Busch: "What Jimmie is doing is something very special. They're on their game and it's really something special to watch. It's a privilege."

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