Series leader Jimmie Johnson won the AAA Texas 500, a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
FORT WORTH, Texas — Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski are in a spirited battle for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
With two races to go, five-time champion Johnson has a seven-point lead in the standings after winning a slugfest at Texas Motor Speedway. He regained the lead on the final restart on the 334th of 335 laps before holding off runner-up Keselowski.
“It was an awesome race. It’s a great way to do it, when the gloves are off and it’s bare-knuckle fighting,” said Johnson, who entered the AAA Texas 500 with a two-point lead. “I got a great restart and got by him.”
They were side by side on the final restart, but Johnson charged his No. 48 Chevrolet hard on the outside, cleared Keselowski on the backstretch and led for the final 1 ½ laps. Johnson won from the pole for the second consecutive week.
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It wasn’t until the last of three restarts in the final 19 laps that Johnson went ahead for good.
Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., finished 10th and Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw was 25th.
Kahne is fourth in the standings, 58 points behind Johnson. Biffle is 10th in the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup, 83 points off the lead.
Keselowski restarted in the lead with 19 laps left. But there were still two more restarts, and Johnson pulled ahead in the one that counted most.
“Getting that last yellow, I felt like restarts are like rock, paper, scissors,” Keselowski said. “Eventually, you’re going to lose them.”
Johnson’s teammates, Kahne and Jeff Gordon, were involved in contact in the back of the field with Biffle, setting up a restart with eight laps to go.
After Johnson got loose when he was on the high side racing with Keselowski, the two made hard contact close to the start-finish line. They kept going forward.
“I raced hard, and I’m sure someone would say dirty,” Keselowski said.
• Ninth-place finisher Kevin Harvick‘s car had a big dent before the race started. A parachute jumper swooped over the car and his weighted bag holding a huge Texas flag in place slammed into the No. 29 Chevy.
Harvick, winless this season, tweeted a photo of the damage and sent a message that ended “Welcome to 2012.”
• Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus won a crash-filled Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for his first victory since returning to Formula One this year.
With two F1 races left, Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull leads second-place Fernando Alonso of Ferrari by 10 points.