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Sprint Cup Recap — Party in the Poconos 400

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After a heartbreaking penalty last week robbed him of a win in Dover, Jimmie Johnson got his vengeance Sunday by winning the Party in the Poconos 400.

Or did he?

“It doesn’t make up for much,” Johnson said.  “But, we know we’re a great race team.  Things won’t keep us down.  We had a great race car today and had a lot of fun.  That was a lot of fun out there.”

Leading 128 of 160 laps is pretty fun.

It was Johnson’s third win of the year, and his third win at Pocono Raceway.  The way Johnson dominated on Sunday it’s hard to believe he hadn’t won at the track since 2004.

There were some other people that drove in the race, but it didn’t seem like they mattered much to Johnson.  Even through a few late race restarts, the #48 suffered no real challenge from any other cars.

Greg Biffle was in fourth during the race’s final restart, but dove ahead of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. & Kyle Busch heading into turn 1, only to see Johnson scoot ahead to win the race by over a second.

“Jimmie was in a league of his own,” Biffle said.  “I was going to have to get up beside him, take the air off him…something to try and gain an advantage.  But, I gave him such a good push on the restart I couldn’t catch back up with him.”

Johnson’s points lead over second place Carl Edwards is now a whopping 51 points.  It’s staggering to think what it would’ve been had Johnson gotten another win last weekend.

All the Party in the Poconos 400 did was reinforce something we already knew: No matter where NASCAR goes, Jimmie Johnson is going to be the guy to beat.

Here’s what else we learned in Pocono:

TRD slowed up a bit.  And it was done on purpose.  Due to their recent engine failures, the motors were detuned in favor of reliability.  Denny Hamlin said he could feel a difference.  “Any horsepower change is going to be a difficult thing to overcome,” Hamlin said post-race.  Heading into another horsepower track next week, the TRD guys might be in for another (slightly) off day.

Tony Stewart officially has momentum.  “As the temperature heats up, so does Tony Stewart.”  We’ve all probably heard a variation of that at some point the last few years.  It sure seems to be ringing true in 2013, though.  After last week’s breakthrough win, Tony scored his second straight top-5, and second top-5 of the year, this week in Pocono.

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