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Johnson forces Keselowski to settle for 2nd

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Sunday, Nov. 04, 2012

FORT WORTH, Texas – Advantage, Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson passed Brad Keselowski with one lap to go to win Sunday's AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and earned a small lead in his quest for sixth consecutive Sprint Cup Series championship.

Controversy swirled around the victory, however, as repeated replays showed Johnson – who restarted second – crossed the line ahead of Keselowski, who was the leader.

Kyle Busch finished third, Matt Kenseth was fourth and Tony Stewart was fifth.

Johnson holds a seven-point advantage over Keselowski with two races left.

The race began with a 100-lap green-flag run and Johnson – the pole-winner – remained in control, leading 98 of them. The only time Johnson failed to lead was when he pit during green-flag pit stops. Debris on the track brought out the first caution of the race on Lap 101. Most of the lead-lap cars pit for fuel but Ryan Newman remained on the track and took over the lead on the restart on Lap 105.

One lap later, Keselowski moved into the lead for the first time.

A.J. Allmendinger wrecked on Lap 109 after contact with Carl Edwards to bring out a caution on Lap 110. Keselowski remained the leader on the restart on Lap 119.

A chain reaction accident on the restart lap left Bobby Labonte with a blown engine and damaged Juan Pablo Montoya's car, which brought out a caution on Lap 120.

All of the lead-lap car pit for fuel and tires with Johnson leading on the restart on Lap 129 followed by Keselowski and Clint Bowyer.

Teams began a round of green-flag pit stops around Lap 165 and when they were completed on Lap 173, Johnson continued to lead the way.

Debris brought out the fourth caution of the race on Lap 186. On the restart on Lap 191, Johnson was out front followed by Kyle Busch and Keselowski.

Two laps later, Busch made a strong move around Johnson to take the lead.

Caution was displayed on Lap 225 for debris in Turn 3. All teams again pit for fuel and tires with Kyle Busch coming off pit road first and leading on the restart on Lap 228 followed by Johnson and Keselowski.

After several failed attempts, Keselowski finally got around Busch to take the lead on Lap 236.

Jeff Gordon developed a problem with his right-front tire and was forced to pit under green on Lap 270 and fell a lap down.

On Lap 275, a caution was displayed for debris. During the round of pit stops, Keselowski overshot his pit stall and backed back in to complete his stop. At the same time, Danica Patrick – in the adjacent stall – overshot her stall and backed up as well. Keselowski found himself blocked in and had wait for Patrick to finish her stop before proceeding.

Kyle Buch was the first off pit road and took the lead on the restart on Lap 281 followed by Johnson and Bowyer. Keselowski restarted ninth.

With 34 laps remaining, Bowyer moved up to third, while Keselowski advanced to fifth.

On Lap 311, Marcos Ambrose slammed the wall and brought out the seventh caution of the race. All of the lead-lap cars elected to pit for new tires with Keselowski off pit road first after taking just two new tires.

On the restart on Lap 322, Keselowski was followed by Kyle Busch, Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Kasey Kahne and Gordon made contact on Lap 322 with Kahne slamming into the wall. That brought out a caution. On the restart on Lap 328, Keselowski remained the leader followed by Johnson aand Kyle Busch.

Mark Martin wrecked on Lap 330 to bring out another caution. On the restart on Lap 334, Keselowski led the way followed by Johnson.

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