HAMPTON, Ga. - Carl Edwards passed Denny Hamlin on a late restart, then held on to win the Pep Boys Auto 500 on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway to keep his championship hopes alive.
But his seventh win of the season barely dented Jimmie Johnson's points lead. Johnson had a rough start to the race – earning a rare pit-road penalty that dropped him a lap off the pace – but stormed back to finish second with an impressive final sprint through the field.
A debris caution with 13 laps to go gave Johnson a chance to dip onto pit road for two fresh tires, and he was 11th when the race resumed with eight laps remaining. Johnson then picked off the cars in front of him one at a time to widen his lead to 183 points over Edwards.