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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 22, 2010

'Lucky' Johnson speeds to win


Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Jimmie Johnson

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FONTANA, Calif. Jimmie Johnson knows he got lucky. So do the Richard Childress Racing drivers who went from leading to chasing him the final laps.

The fortunate break for Johnson in his victory at California came because he was already in the pits when a late caution flag came out yesterday. The No. 48 Hendrick team completed the stop and Johnson passed the scoring line at the end of pit road before Childress' Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick were able to cross the start-finish line.

That split-second kept Johnson on the lead lap, and allowed him to regain the lead when everybody else including Burton and Harvick, who were 1-2 when Brad Keselowski spun in Turn 4 pitted under yellow. Johnson stayed in front the final 20 laps after the restart.

"There's no way of getting around how lucky they are," Harvick said.

"Yeah, the deal on pit row, there's no way around it, we got lucky," Johnson said. "We were running fourth or fifth at the time, so it's not like we totally backed into this thing. We got a really nice gift with the way things worked out and it was up to me to kind of hang on to it."

With Harvick trying to get around him and just more than three laps to go, Johnson moved to block. Harvick scrapped the outside wall out of Turn 4 and lost his momentum, allowing Johnson to go on to his 48th career victory.

WOMAN KILLED AT NHRA EVENT

A woman died yesterday after being hit by a tire from a crashing dragster at the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Chandler.

The woman was watching a Top Fuel run at Firebird International Raceway when Antron Brown's dragster went out of control and its left rear wheel came off.

Alia Maisonet, a spokeswoman for the Gila River Indian Community, said the woman was airlifted to a Phoenix-area hospital.

Maisonet said she didn't know the victim's name or hometown.

The racing continued after the accident.

FISHING

VANDAM CLAIMS 3RD BASSMASTER CLASSIC

Kevin VanDam won $500,000 for his third Bassmaster Classic title, beating Jeff Kriet by 5 pounds yesterday at Lay Lake in Birmingham, Ala.

VanDam, the Kalamazoo, Mich., pro who won his fifth Bassmaster Angler of the Year award last year, had a catch of 19 pounds, 7 ounces yesterday to finish with a three-day total of 51-6. Kriet, from Ardmore, Okla., finished at 46-6.

Todd Faircloth, of Jasper, Texas, was third at 44-3.

ELSEWHERE

College basketball: A North Carolina community college basketball player died after he collapsed while playing in a game Saturday, officials said.

Raymond Dunn, a 6-4 sophomore forward for Vance Granville, collapsed on the court near the end of the first half against Guilford Tech in Henderson, N.C., Vance Granville President Randy Parker said.

Dunn was taken to nearby Maria Parham Medical Center, where nursing supervisor Shannon Anderson said he was pronounced dead Saturday.

College football: A University of Oregon football player has been dismissed from the team.

Head coach Chip Kelly announced yesterday that wide receiver Jamere Holland was dismissed for violating team rules. Kelly didn't specify which rules were violated.

In two seasons, Holland has 17 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns.