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Johnson took the lead -- and took off for his 65th victory in 428 career starts. Even smart pit strategy that included a late four-tire stop wasn't enough to boost Earnhardt past his Hendrick Motorsports teammate.
"The mistake I made coming on to pit road and missing pit road completely (cost us)," Earnhardt said. "If I had not given up that track position and had a smart enough race to keep the lead when it counted, right at the end we might have won the race. It would have been hard to get by us just like it was hard to get by Jimmie."
Other Chase driver finishes include, Kasey Kahne in 13th, Kurt Busch 21st, and Carl Edwards 35th. Edwards entered fourth in the standings but plummeted to 11th once a late tire issue sent him to the garage.
Most drivers insisted this weekend that it would not be a three-driver Chase. With seven races left, Kyle Busch is third and only 12 points back. But Harvick and Gordon are 39 points out, and Biffle and Newman are both more than 40 points behind.
It's going to take major problems out of the top three and an improbable winning streak from some drivers in the back to shake up the standings.
Kyle Busch has a pair of seconds and a fifth to open the Chase.
"It's certainly appealing and you could be happy with it," he said, "but we're a little disappointed at the same time."
|Chicago WSox - LP: Z. Duke||1||FINAL|
|Detroit - WP: J. Soria||2|
|San Diego - WP: J. Shields||5||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: B. Schlitter||4|
|Philadelphia - LP: S. O Sullivan||2||FINAL|
|Washington - WP: M. Scherzer||7|
|Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson||3||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley||6|
|Atlanta - WP: C. Martin||8||FINAL|
|Toronto - LP: B. Cecil||7|
|Miami - LP: B. Hand||1||FINAL|
|NY Mets - WP: B. Colon||4|
|Baltimore - LP: B. Matusz||2||FINAL|
|Boston - WP: K. Uehara||3|
|NY Yankees - WP: D. Betances||5||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - LP: K. Jepsen||4|
|LA Angels - WP: C. Ramos||6||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: C. Qualls||3|
|Cleveland - LP: B. Shaw||2||FINAL|
|Minnesota - WP: B. Boyer||3|
|Oakland - LP: D. Otero||4||FINAL|
|Kansas City - WP: W. Davis||6|
|Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto||1||FINAL|
|St. Louis - WP: M. Wacha||6|
|Colorado||3||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Texas||2||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Arizona||5||Top 6th Inning|
|Chicago||2||3rd Prd 9:51|
|Calgary||0||3rd Prd 17:28|
|Red Bull New York||2|