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Jimmie! Yes, again, but Kevin Harvick once more shows the fastest car

 The two best of the day: Jimmie Johnson on the inside, Kevin Harvick on the outside, late in Sunday's California 500 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   FONTANA, Calif.
   If you can't be good, be lucky, eh? Well, Jimmie Johnson was both good and lucky here Sunday, plucking victory out of what could have been a disaster.
   The setup: Johnson makes a routine pit stop under green late in the race, while Jeff Burton is leading.
   But just as Johnson rolls down pit road, the yellow comes out. Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle are also pitting under that green at the same time...but they weren't quite so lucky.
   Johnson gets his pit work done and somehow manages to hit the line at the pit road exit just a fraction of a second before Burton reached the cutoff mark out on the race track. So Johnson – ironically – wound up the leader for the restart with 24 laps to go. And Busch and Biffle didn't get to the exit line on pit road in time, so they were both a lap down for the restart.
   "Today fortune came our way," Johnson conceded.  "We got track position...and then Kevin Harvick was coming and he just tagged the wall.
   "It's all in the numbers. We won our first race here; now we've won our 48th here."
   So four-time champ JJ bounced back well from that Daytona disaster.
   "They got a break, but they did a good job of executing on it...and that's what they do so well," Burton said.
    "I knew they were pitting...and I came around (the track after the yellow came out) as quick as I thought I could, without NASCAR getting upset with me. If I'd come around about two-tenths of a second faster we'd have had Jimmie a lap down. If I could carry more speed next time, I will."
   Burton lost a spot to teammate Harvick on that final round of pit stops.
   Harvick made a brilliant charge, and though he came up short Sunday, he heads to Las Vegas as the Sprint Cup tour points leader.
   "I just scrubbed the wall with the right front fender, and that was it for me," Harvick said.



The finishing order of Sunday's California Auto Club Speedway 500






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  Jimmie Johnson, beating a distant Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton to the finish line of the California 500 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


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