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Jimmie Johnson timed it perfectly coming through the tri-oval for the final time at Talladega Superspeedway to take the checkered flag in the Aaron's 499 on April 17. It is the second victory for the five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion at the 2.66-mile track and the 54th victory of his career.

With eight races in the 2011 season record books, Johnson now sits second in the standings just five points out of the lead. He led four times during the day for a total of 14 laps after starting second.

Team Chevy drivers swept the top-five finishing positions in the second superspeedway race of the season.

With the laps counting down and Junior leading Johnson, the pieces fell into place. Earnhardt came over the radio and told Johnson that they were better with him pushing the five-time defending champion. And so they switched places, with Junior now pushing Johnson in their closing-laps charge.

After the race Johnson explained how he and Dale Earnhardt Jr. worked together during the latter part of the race.

“We had a plan coming into the race, and stuck to it and learned a lot as the event went on, really Junior and I did, on how we would communicate, on what runs we could make, how we could set them up, how we could pass, how to have the guy push and could cool his car. Really there was a lot of learning that went on through all of the laps throughout the race.

“Once we got to the end, Junior started getting warm and had to pull out a couple of times with three or four to go and at one of the points we got disconnected, and a bunch of guys went by. But we stayed committed to the top and had our momentum wound back up and somehow trucked by a bunch of guys on the bottom. I don't know if they had to switch lanes or what, but before we knew it, we found ourselves in third after we took the white and a decent gap from us to the leaders. And they got side by side, which allowed us to really close up and as we went into turn three, I had a big run, and was thinking about the bottom, and the 5 and 24 defended that, and then I kind of wandered to the middle and didn't have an option then and knew I still had probably a mile to go. So I just chilled out and sat in their draft and as we came off of four, those two groups were occupied trying to side draft each other and racing each other at the top, covered up. As we started rolling up on them, I shot down to the bottom, and we were able to surge by out of the triangle coming out of the bottom because they kind of left it open there. Just worked out.”

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