LAS VEGAS - Jimmie Johnson needed luck to win a week ago in California. In Las Vegas, a city of chance, he didn't need any help at all.
Johnson reeled in teammate Jeff Gordon, who had dominated yesterday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, to win a Sprint Cup race for the second straight week. He took four tires on the final pit stop, chased Gordon for 17 laps, then finally sailed past his Hendrick Motorsports teammate with 17 laps to go.
"No luck involved in that one, my friend," crew chief Chad Knaus told Johnson.
The win was the 49th victory of Johnson's career and fourth at Las Vegas.
Seeking his first victory in almost a year, Gordon led for 218 of the 267 laps. He was out front when Kevin Conway's spin brought out the final caution, and debated pitting strategy with crew chief Steve Letarte.
The call was made at the last second for Gordon to come in, and Letarte changed just two tires to get Gordon back on track before the competition. Knaus called for four tires in a decision that put Johnson in fourth place on the restart.
"If we won the race, we'd look like geniuses," Gordon said.
Gordon held the top spot for 17 laps, but fretted several times as Johnson looked both inside and out.
Gordon tried to hold him off but Johnson finally scooted past with 17 laps to go. He quickly pulled away, and Gordon was unable to hold off Kevin Harvick for second.
A week ago in California, a lucky caution put Johnson in the lead. He had Harvick chasing him over the final laps, and Harvick appeared poised to take the win until he brushed the wall late to fall out of contention.