Originally created 06/05/06

Johnson makes save after bad start



DOVER, Del. - Jimmie Johnson was a lap down before the first pit stop in Sunday's Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway. A spin on Lap 275 put him nearly two laps behind.

But the Nextel Cup Series points leader rallied to finish sixth.

"It was a great fight," Johnson said. "We didn't have the speed at the beginning of the race. We just had to adjust on it. ... I wish this was a 500-mile race and it may have been a victory."

Matt Kenseth's victory allowed him to cut into Johnson's lead in the rankings. Johnson now leads by 74 points over Kenseth.

TO HIS RELIEF: Tony Stewart was glad to see a caution period on the 40th lap for Tony Raines' spin.

The caution allowed Stewart to get out of his Home Depot Chevrolet and let Ricky Rudd finish the race. Stewart broke his right shoulder blade a week ago at Lowe's Motor Speedway. By starting the race, he was the driver of record and gets all the points Rudd earned with his 25th-place finish.

"I feel like I got beat up," Stewart said.

IT'S THE PITS: Johnson's 42nd-place starting position meant he had to share a pit stall with Scott Wimmer.

Dover has 42 pit stalls, so the last two drivers on the starting grid have to share the final spot.

Johnson had a deal with Wimmer to allow his Hendrick Motorsports team work onWimmer's car during the race so both teams wouldn't have equipment on pit road.



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