By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- The fuel strategy that was supposed to carry Jimmie Johnson to a sixth championship instead made a winner of his teammate, Jeff Gordon, who triumphed in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as Brad Keselowski locked up the NASCAR Sprint Cup title.
Gordon crossed the finish line 1.028 seconds ahead of Clint Bowyer, his nemesis from a week ago at Phoenix, as Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet sat forlorn in the garage, Johnson's title hopes the victim of a pit road mistake and a rare part failure.
Ryan Newman ran third, followed by Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle.
Aggressive pit strategy put Johnson in position to challenge for the title, but the race fell apart for the 48 team after the 200-lap mark.
Able to finish the race on one pit stop to Keselowski's two, Johnson brought the No. 48 Chevrolet to pit road on Lap 214. Johnson, however, pulled away from his stall with a loose lug nut, and NASCAR mandated another stop to correct the error.
The coup de grace came on Lap 224, when Johnson returned to pit road with the drive line problem. The No. 48 crew pushed the car to the garage, where it sat for the rest of the race.
Notes: Pole winner Joey Logano started from the rear in a back-up car after a crash in practice and finished 14th in his last race for Joe Gibbs Racing... Matt Kenseth ran 18th in his last ride at Roush Fenway Racing... Tony Stewart finished 17th in the 500th Cup start of his career.