Kansas City, Kan. That’ll teach everyone to count out Jimmie Johnson.
The five-time defending Cup champion dominated Sunday at Kansas Speedway, weathering a series of late cautions and holding off Kasey Kahne to win for the first time since April.
Johnson stumbled through the first two races in NASCAR’s version of a postseason and was 10th in the standings heading to Dover. A second-place finish last weekend gave Johnson confidence, and his first win since Talladega moved him into third in the Chase behind Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick.
“Jimmie was the car to beat all day,” said Brad Keselowski, who finished third.
Jeff Gordon made things interesting when his car blew up with three laps remaining.
Johnson chose not to pit before the green-white-checkered finish, but still managed to drive away from Kahne and Keselowski on worn out tires. Keselowski, who won the Nationwide race Saturday, still moved up to fourth in the Chase with six races left.
“It all comes back to having a good team,” Keselowski said. “Good teams have good cars, they’re the best at the end, the fastest at the end, they have good pit strategy and they’re strong through adversity, and I just have a really good team.”
Tony Stewart spent most of the afternoon trying to chase down Johnson, and at times appeared to have the car to do it. Stewart climbed 17 spots to sixth after about 50 laps, and at one point brashly told his team over the radio, “I’m in a hurry ... I’ve got things to do.”
A series of mistakes near the end cost him, though.
Stewart chose to pit when Gordon brought out the final caution, but carried too much speed down pit road and slid through his stall. By the time his team backed him up and changed tires, Stewart had shuffled back to 17th and he crossed the finish line in 15th.
Stewart won the first two races of the Chase to vault into the points lead, but he struggled all weekend at Dover and finished 25th. He’ll now head to Charlotte eighth in the standings.
Edwards and Harvick came in tied for lead in the Chase, with the top nine drivers separated by a mere 19 points. Things shook out a bit Sunday, but Edwards and Harvick are still on top.
One runner dies in Chicago
Chicago — A 35-year-old North Carolina firefighter who was running for charity died Sunday after collapsing during the Chicago Marathon.
Greensboro Deputy Fire Chief Clarence Hunter said that William Caviness was running to raise money to help burn victims, but declined to talk further. He did read a statement from Chief Gregory Grayson.
Race medical director Dr. George Chiampas said the North Carolina man collapsed on the course about 500 yards from the finish line. He said medical personnel were able to get his heart beating again but he died 1 hour, 45 minutes after he was attended to at the race.
Sunshine State shut out
Miami— Florida is out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Not just the Gators — the entire state.
For the first time since Dec. 6, 1982, no Sunshine State team was among the AP rankings on Sunday, marking the end of 472 straight polls where either Florida, Florida State or Miami — and usually all three — were on the list. Florida and Florida State both lost Saturday, the Gators losing at No. 1 LSU 41-11 and the Seminoles continuing their freefall with a 35-30 setback at Wake Forest.
The top 10 teams in the poll were unchanged. LSU, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 5 Boise State, No. 6 Oklahoma State, No. 7 Stanford, No. 8 Clemson, No. 9 Oregon and No. 10 Arkansas all won by an average of 34.4 points. No. 4 Wisconsin was idle.
Molder claims Frys.com
San Martin, Calif. — Bryce Molder had to wait 132 tournaments before winning on the PGA Tour. He didn’t mind going an extra six holes Sunday in the Frys.com Open in the longest playoff of the year.
Molder made a 6-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole — the fourth time he had to play the closing hole at Cordevalle in 90 minutes — to outlast Briny Baird in a playoff that both players had chances to win.
Tiger Woods managed to make news when a fan ran toward the seventh green as he was putting and tossed a hot dog in his direction. The 31-year-old man was arrested and never came close to Woods. Woods had three rounds in the 60s for the first time in more than a year on the PGA Tour, although he finished 10 shots behind in a tie for 30th. It a year lost mainly to left leg injuries, it was his ninth and final tour start.
Tseng wins Hana Bank
Incheon, South Korea — Top-ranked Yani Tseng won the LPGA Hana Bank Championship for her sixth LPGA Tour victory of the season and ninth overall title of the year, shooting a 5-under 67 to edge two-time defending champion Na Yeon Choi by a stroke.
Faxon takes rainy Insperity
The Woodlands, Texas — Brad Faxon won the Insperity Championship for his first Champions Tour title when heavy rain washed out the final round.