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Monday, November 06, 2006

Johnson finally takes lead in Chase race

FORT WORTH, Tex. - For the first time in three years, Jimmie Johnson isn't playing catch-up in the final two races in the Chase for the Championship. His second-place finish Sunday in the Dickies 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway, coupled with Matt Kenseth's 12th-place finish, moved Johnson in the points lead heading into next Sunday's race at Phoenix. In the past two years, Johnson has started the playoffs slowly and has been forced to rally during the stretch drive. He finished second by only eight points two years ago and was fifth last season after blowing a tire and crashing in the season-finale. Johnson now leads by 17 points - less than four positions. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is third, down by 78 points, and Denny Hamlin in fourth, down by 80.

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