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Gordon's pit crew replaces Johnson's for final two races

Jeff Gordon's pit crew will serve as the pit crew for Jimmie Johnson for the remainder of the season, Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday. Johnson's pit crew, which was benched because of poor performance in favor of Gordon's crew after Gordon ...

Jeff Gordon's pit crew will serve as the pit crew for Jimmie Johnson for the remainder of the season, Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday.

Johnson's pit crew, which was benched because of poor performance in favor of Gordon's crew after Gordon was knocked out of the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, will serve as Gordon's pit crew for the final two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races -- at Phoenix and Homestead.

Johnson, the four-time defending Cup champion, fell from the top spot in the standings and now trails Denny Hamlin by 33 points following Hamlin's win at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson placed ninth in the event.

Running in the top five, Johnson lost several positions during an early stop when the crew had trouble with the right-front tire and, as a result, Johnson returned to the track outside the top 10. The 48 team had trouble on additional stops before crew chief Chad Knaus made the switch after Gordon wrecked under caution on Lap 190.

Knaus said with Johnson's having to negotiate more traffic where he was running in the pack, the team wasn't able to diagnose what adjustments were needed late in the race.

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"At some point you have to put feelings aside," Knaus said after Sunday's race. "It's about performance. It's a performance-based deal. Drivers get sat down and moved and shuffled if they don't perform. Unfortunately, our guys just struggled."

Gordon is not in contention to win the title. He is sixth in the standings, 331 points behind Hamlin.

The race at Phoenix International Raceway is Sunday. Johnson has won the fall race at Phoenix the past three years and has four wins overall at the 1-mile track.

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