LAS VEGAS – It would be far more interesting, and much more fun, if Jimmie Johnson decided to take a lap or two off at the start of each race. He could sit back, relax and watch the other NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers grip the wheel and grit their teeth for the first couple laps, then enter the fray when he felt it would be enough of a challenge. Johnson won the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 in front of a crowd of 156,000, shrugging off a new track design and a costly penalty midway through the race to take the Vegas title for the third straight year. Time and again, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus have figured out how to transform a car that doesn’t seem competitive and turn it into a winner, overcome a fluke mistake or finish strong when everyone else has counted them out for various reasons. “We’re really pretty sick on this team,” Knaus said. “These guys really ramp up when it’s go time. & When the chips are down, that’s when these guys buckle in the hardest because they want to win the race.” Johnson beat teammate Jeff Gordon by a healthy 2.795-second margin, with Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and points leader Mark Martin rounding out the top five. The rest of the top 10 included Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Jamie McMurray. Stewart was one of the drivers who predicted terrible consequences as a result of the track’s increased banking and the tires’ rock-hard, stiff complexion. But after three cautions in the first 18 laps, the fears of a wreck-fest like the one in Saturday’s Busch Series race never really materialized. “I expected it to be one of the most painful days on the racetrack that we’ve ever had,” Martin said. “All the drivers did a fabulous job. They were very careful around each other.” There wasn’t even a track record for cautions – it was one yellow flag short. Instead, the new track records were 16 different race leaders and 28 lead changes. Kenseth said the drivers themselves were responsible for the lack of cautions, because the conditions were still slick and treacherous. “When you got alongside of somebody you were just scared to death you were going to wreck,” he said. “It was hard to drive by yourself, but it was almost impossible when you were side-by-side.” Johnson had to drive through a minefield of slipping and sliding race cars after a penalty on lap 110 of the 267-lap race. He had led 28 laps up to that point, but one of his crew members let a tire roll away during a pit stop. NASCAR issues a penalty when a tire crosses the pit-box line. As a result, Johnson re-started in 25th place. “The fortunate thing is when we’ve had bad luck, we’ve had a good car,” said Johnson, who said he scraped the wall at one point during the race. “When you have a good car, it makes it look easy. It’s not all that easy, but it worked out.” Johnson battled Jeff Burton for the lead with 30 laps to go, but Burton eventually dropped back due to an electrical problem and finished 15th. Gordon, who dominated the race at one point and led 111 laps, was unable to challenge his Hendrick Motorsports teammate on a restart with 13 laps remaining, and Johnson simply pulled away for another of his trademark wins. “He and that team are fighters – they don’t give up,” Gordon said. “They proved that today and they prove that every win they have.” Knaus, who is regarded as one of the top crew chiefs in the garage for his ability to adjust the race car at the track, said his team responds well when it needs a gut check. “It’s a deep desire that these guys are able to pull from the inner depths of themselves to make it happen,” Knaus said with a serious look on his face. “Did you say inner depths?” a smiling Johnson said, turning to his crew chief. “Wow. That’s deeper than your standard stuff.” Johnson, who won his 24th career race, sits fourth in the points standings behind Martin, Gordon and Burton. Martin has insisted he isn’t running the full season schedule despite leading the points. He is supposed to sit out the Bristol race in two weeks and miss a race weekend for the first time since 1987. “No change yet,” he said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Apparently, the more adversity Johnson’s team faces, the more likely it is to arrive in Victory Lane. NASCAR’s Comeback Kid did it again on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, turning the largest sporting event west of Texas into another display of how exactly he became one of the circuit’s greatest drivers.
The RNLI had a total of 77 calls across Co Donegal last year.National figures released shows a total of 939 calls with more than 1,000 people rescued.In Donegal the Arranmore Lifeboat was launched 35 times and rescued 29 people. The Lough Swilly Lifeboat also launched 35 times while the Bundoran Lifeboat was put to sea 7 times and rescued 14 people.Those rescued included swimmers, walkers, members of a Triathlon race and also a woman who had been cut off by the sea. RNLI LAUNCHED 77 TIMES ACROSS DONEGAL LAST YEAR was last modified: January 22nd, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:RNLI