Posted July 30, 2012 on AP on Fox
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(Eds: APNewsNow. With AP Photos.) By CHRIS JENKINS AP Sports Writer Jimmie Johnson won his fourth Brickyard 400 and solidified his status as a title favorite in NASCAR. No surprise there. But how about this: Dale Earnhardt Jr. left the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the Sprint Cup Series points lead. Earnhardt finished fourth on Sunday, his best career finish at a track where he often struggles. Earnhardt took a 14-point lead over previous points leader Matt Kenseth, who got caught in a crash. It was another sign of Earnhardt's newfound consistency, the kind of development that really could make him a championship contender. And if it comes down to Hendrick Motorsports teammates Johnson and Earnhardt duking it out for the title at the end of the season, both drivers say bring it on.
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