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Johnson Wins Martinsville, Takes Points Lead

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, October 28 2012

Jimmie Johnson won at Martinville Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

RacinToday.com

Jimmie Johnson edged closer to winning a sixth Sprint Cup championship on Sunday when he won the 500-lap race at the Martinsville Speedway short track.

The victory was the fourth of the season – and first in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship – for the Hendrick Motorsports driver.

It allowed him to move to the top of the point standings and head to Fort Worth for the eighth race of the 10-race Chase with a two-point lead over Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski, who started the day with a seven-point lead over Johnson but finished sixth at Martinsville.

“I’m so torn with emotion right now with winning here,” Johnson said. “And I’m so happy to be in the point lead.”

Possibly having hopes for the 2012 championship crushed was Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin, who started third in points Sunday and 20 behind Keselowski, twice was penalized for speeding on pit road. He managed to survive those penalties and was headed to the front of the field when an electrical problem sent him to the garages.

“Got to suck it up and go on,” Hamlin, who fell to fifth in points – 49 behind Johnson.

Kyle Busch finished second while Kasey Kahne was third, Aric Almirola fourth and Clint Bowyer fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers, Bobby Labonte and Greg Biffle.

Bowyer had the lead and what appeared to be the fastest car when the yellow flag come out with 105 laps to go. But Bowyer lost the lead to Johnson – who had the preferential pit stall after earning the pole on Friday.

With 62 laps to go, Johnson made contact with Juan Pablo Montoya while attempting to make a pass. Johnson led the field into the pits on the ensuing yellow but again used his prime pit position to his advantage and restarted the race from P1 with 55 laps to go.

With 26 laps to go, the caution flag waved again. Johnson and second-place Gordon pitted while Keselowski did not, and that gave him the lead.

“I felt like it was going to be a problem for him,” Johnson said of Keselowski staying out. “I mean, we’ve been there before and have stayed out and gotten beaten. I expected him to drop a little further back, so with only a 2-point margin, he must have stayed up in the top five somewhere. You just can’t count out good race teams. When you’re in the playoffs, it doesn’t matter what sport it is, teams step up to show what they’re made of. We’ve seen a lot of teams do it this Chase. Our team came out on top today, and a few more racing doing that, we should be in good shape.”

With 14 laps to go, Johnson tapped his way past Keselowski and took the lead.

The yellow came out again with 10 laps to go when Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards wrecked.

On the restart, which came with five laps to to, Johnson easily kept his lead and held off Busch to get the win.

Johnson’s victory gave Chevrolet its 10th straight Cup manufacturers’ championship and 36th overall.

(This story will be updated shortly)

RACE RESULTS

1. (1) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500, $202511.

2. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500, $167693.

3. (15) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 500, $109060.

4. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 500, $131421.

5. (8) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 500, $116074.

6. (32) Brad Keselowski, Dodge, 500, $127305.

7. (11) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 500, $127321.

8. (2) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 500, $85160.

9. (18) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 500, $109718.

10. (30) Greg Biffle, Ford, 500, $96835.

11. (17) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 500, $120818.

12. (9) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 500, $88585.

13. (27) Sam Hornish Jr.(i), Dodge, 500, $120660.

14. (6) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 500, $124021.

15. (19) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 500, $103443.

16. (14) Joey Logano, Toyota, 500, $88160.

17. (24) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 500, $109618.

18. (23) Carl Edwards, Ford, 500, $120951.

19. (34) Landon Cassill, Toyota, 500, $103680.

20. (25) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 500, $108151.

21. (20) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 500, $84635.

22. (4) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 499, $115635.

23. (12) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 499, $103424.

24. (33) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 499, $103868.

25. (22) Casey Mears, Ford, 499, $90368.

26. (16) David Ragan, Ford, 499, $87068.

27. (7) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 498, $125260.

28. (26) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 498, $92632.

29. (28) Ken Schrader, Ford, 495, $82460.

30. (35) David Gilliland, Ford, 494, $73385.

31. (41) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 492, $79760.

32. (13) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, Engine, 473, $120596.

33. (5) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 466, $116826.

34. (42) Stephen Leicht #, Chevrolet, Brakes, 253, $80985.

35. (37) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, Brakes, 193, $71435.

36. (29) David Reutimann, Chevrolet, Overheating, 185, $71385.

37. (43) Scott Speed, Ford, Suspension, 116, $71330.

38. (31) Josh Wise #, Ford, Brakes, 85, $71253.

39. (21) Michael McDowell, Ford, Brakes, 61, $68500.

40. (40) David Stremme, Toyota, Accident, 46, $68450.

41. (38) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, Brakes, 35, $68400.

42. (36) Scott Riggs, Chevrolet, Overheating, 22, $68350.

43. (39) Reed Sorenson(i), Chevrolet, Overheating, 19, $67914.

RACE STATISTICS

Average Speed of Race Winner: 77.677 mph.

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 23 Mins, 09 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.479 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 11 for 64 laps.

Lead Changes: 22 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J. Johnson 1-47; T. Kvapil 48; J. Johnson 49-67; J. Gordon 68-98; J. Johnson 99-106; J. Gordon 107-146; B. Vickers 147-164; D. Hamlin 165-170; J. Johnson 171-182; C. Bowyer 183-200; J. Johnson 201-204; J. Gordon 205-225; C. Bowyer 226-234; J. Johnson 235-237; C. Bowyer 238-349; D. Hamlin 350-355; B. Vickers 356-364; M. Kenseth 365; K. Kahne 366-377; C. Bowyer 378-392; J. Johnson 393-477; B. Keselowski 478-485; J. Johnson 486-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Johnson 8 times for 193 laps; C. Bowyer 4 times for 154 laps; J. Gordon 3 times for 92 laps; B. Vickers 2 times for 27 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 12 laps; K. Kahne 1 time for 11 laps; B. Keselowski 1 time for 8 laps; M. Kenseth 1 time for 1 lap; T. Kvapil 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 12 in Points: J. Johnson – 2,291; B. Keselowski – 2,289; C. Bowyer – 2,265; K. Kahne – 2,262; D. Hamlin – 2,242; J. Gordon – 2,237; M. Truex Jr. – 2,228; M. Kenseth – 2,226; G. Biffle – 2,222; T. Stewart – 2,220; K. Harvick – 2,203; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 2,151.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, October 28 2012
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