For brief moments during the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 there were a few drivers that had their moment of dominance. In the end, though, it was Jimmie Johnson that once again went to victory lane.
Pole-sitter Juan Pablo Montoya started the day off by leading 36 laps before Kasey Kahne took command and seemed to be well in control of the day. Montoya's day ended on the rollback after it appeared Reed Sorenson gave him a payback shot going into turn three.
Kahne would then be done in by a blown engine, much like he was in the last race at New Hampshire in September, after leading 110 laps. His misfortune opened the door for Kyle Busch and Jeff Burton to flex their muscle. While each led their share of laps (Burton 89 and Busch 46), they ended up flexing their muscle into each other on a late restart that allowed Johnson to be in perfect position for his fifth win of the year.
The win in effect makes Johnson "back" after many felt he was done after the spoiler returned and Denny Hamlin started winning. Now they are tied in bonus points for when the Chase starts and the only time that Hamlin was mentioned on Sunday was when he was fighting to stay on the lead lap. Never a factor for the win, the FedEx team was only able to muster a 14th place finish.
Tony Stewart was finally a factor, coming home second to Johnson. Stewart has yet to win a race, but has been rattling off the top ten finishes of late. He'll head to Daytona as the defending winner and looking for the post-race fireworks.
Fireworks were not on the menu for Jeff Gordon this weekend after a few drivers vowed payback on the DuPont driver. Instead it was drivers like Hamlin and David Reutimann that were getting together and exchanging dinner plans.
On the dinner plate for our Creatures was one more win. Johnson delivered another celebration as we move to Daytona where it'll be anyone's game. Here's how our 12 win-hungry competitors will look upon arrival to the beach.
Billy Fellin (2,451 ) Kurt Busch finished third (3 )
Kara Martin (2,394 ) Denny Hamlin finished 14th (2 )
Sal Sigala Jr. (2,372 ) Jimmie Johnson won (2 )
James Broomhead (2,285 ) Denny Hamlin finished 14th (2 )
Christopher Leone (2,282 ) Jeff Gordon finished fourth (3 )
Dustin Parks (2,253 ) Jeff Burton finished 12th (2 )
Kelly Crandall (2,250 ) Denny Hamlin finished 14th (2 )
Rob Tiongson (2,232 ) Jeff Gordon finished fourth (0 )
Patti Rodisch (2,166 ) Kurt Busch finished third (0 )
Misan Akuya (2,066 ) Jeff Burton finished 12th (1 )
Adam Heasley (962 ) NO PICK SENT (0 )
Alan Wade (556 ) Denny Hamlin finished 14th (0 )
Back to the beach and the start of the second half of the 2010 season, Daytona International Speedway. Tony Stewart looks for his fourth win in the summer event, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. will please the crowd the night before when he drives his famous father's number.
Creatures have your picks for the Coke Zero 400 in by Thursday, July 1st, at 7 p.m. ET.